Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fourth of July Inspired Dress

I love to follow this blog called Adventures in Dressmaking written by this adorable girl who loves to make dresses!  Recently she did a blog post about a sweet little lighthouse dress that was loosely inspired by some of the fashions pictured below.  

I did some dress research of my own and found this pretty dress ...

You can see her post and dress here.  It totally inspired me.  It had a very Fourth of July feel to it and I thought how fun it would be to have a cute, festive, patriotic dress to wear for the holiday.  Plus, there are so many other American holidays throughout the year where I could easily wear a patriotic dress.

I didn't have any fabric on hand that fit my vision.  I went hunting at Joann and found this fabric called "See America".

I wanted something fun and novelty and this was perfect!  I like that is a mix of patriotic and sight seeing.  I love the Hollywood sign on there, too.

I wanted it to be a button up with a tank top/sleeveless dress.  I found this Simplicity New Look 6587 pattern and I used the bottom right dress pattern.

Somehow in my boredom one day I stumbled upon this cool pattern review website and found a review for this pattern.  I am so thankful that I found and read this before sewing because I think it saved me a ton of trouble.  It suggested to add darts to the back, which I did, and had I not, this dress never would have turned out as well as it did.  I am forever checking that site before I work with new patterns.  It was very helpful to read what other seamstresses thought of the pattern and helpful hints to make it fit better.  That is the trouble with patterns.  They never quite fit to the size they say they do and often times you have to make major alterations after sewing the pieces together.  If you have a heads up, you can save yourself a ton of time and fabric that would otherwise be wasted.  I highly recommend if you are working with a new pattern to look for pattern reviews before cutting your fabric pieces.

Anyway, here is my finished product!

"See America" Patriotic Dress!

I shortened it to a more trendy length.  I love how it came out!  It wears easy and it is very comfortable and so so cute!  Unfortunately, I didn't finish this in time for the Fourth of July, since we extended our camping trip by two days, but there is always next year!

I usually work with fabric and notions I already have on hand, but this was what I call one of my "vision dresses".  I usually have to go out and buy all the supplies for a vision dress.  I don't think the average non-sewer understands exactly how much money and time goes into making a dress, so I thought I would share, since in this case, I have a receipt for all the supplies and can give an accurate cost.  Here is my receipt:

The total was $32.42.  I did buy some black thread that was for a different dress, but I didn't buy any interfacing because I had it at home, so those costs balance out.  I also got the fabric for 50% off and I receive a 10% discount on my total sale AND tax exempt.  So even with all my discounts, the supplies alone cost $32.42.  

I spent about 1-2 hours cutting out the fabric pieces.  I spent about 9 hours constructing the dress.

People always say, "It must be so nice to make your own dresses.  You can save so much money."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Really, we should be asking ourselves how designers can sell clothing for so cheap in stores.  You probably won't want to know the reason why ... (*SLAVERY* It's alive and well in America and we support it every day).  

If I were to pay myself $8/hour and sold this dress it would have to sell for $120.  Probably not going to happen.  I think it is important for people to know how much work goes into creating a garment.  Time and money.  Lots of both.  I know people look at my bags sometimes and gasp at the price, but when you add up all the cost of materials and the amount of time I spend making them .... you will see that I am actually paying myself around $5 or less an hour.  It breaks my heart that people don't really understand or appreciate what goes into this craft.  Which is why I've been producing less things to sell and focusing more on making things for myself and my family to enjoy.  One day I will find my niche and make a product that can sell at a price that people will buy, but I will still be fairly compensated for my time and efforts.  I can dream!

Until then, I'll be looking super cute in all my new, one of a kind clothing :)!

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