Be a Goddess of Calm and Light

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I will channel my best Bridget Jones for this post as she coined the phrase for this title.  And just like Bridget Jones whose intentions are always good but disaster strikes, then calamity ensues, followed by a neatly wrapped ending.  That was the Zeena dress for me.  Pleats drive me bonkers and thus that is where this tale begins...

Experiment:
By Hand London Zeena Dress
Size: 4
View: Variation 2 Bodice and Variation 1 Skirt

Materials:
3 yards of my precious polka-dot Robert Kauffman chambray
22" invisible zip
Sully light gray thread

Procedure:
Why I like the Zeena?
  • Kimono Sleeves.
  • Gorgeous pink version on BHL website (what perfect photography and styling).
  • Long or short sleeves -- good for a variety of seasons.
  • Girly
  • Pockets
  • This version with neckline pleats from Rach Against the Machine and this version from Grey's Fabric

The above reasons albeit not very concrete convinced me that I had to have this pattern.  Ooohhh-so-easy to purchase (Patterns that immediately flow through cyberspace to my computer) and put together.  What could go wrong?  I mean, what a perfect project to use that precious chambray I have been saving.
I'll admit it: I am gutted that I used my chambray and that I am not over-the-moon with the dress.  While it works and I have worn it out several times with many compliments, the bodice is very loose, sort of poofy --  a belt helps (see the picture below).   The waist of the bodice features a pleat -- I ended up tacking it down and sewing about an inch from the base of the bodice to create a more flattering look for me.  The neckline was rather large (I know that Rach Against the Machine experienced something similar and she solved it by adding lovely pleats at the neckline.) I ran another stitch on the shoulder seams, another 1/2 inch.  
IMHO, the chambray is a little to drapey for the pleats and the pockets, at least for me.  Don't get me wrong this dress works but it just feels flimsy to me. I have this drive to try Zeena in a stiffer fabric with drape like a linen-poly blend, cotton, or a cotton-blend.   Because pleats and I have a love hate relationship, I tend to steer away from pleats.  When I look in the mirror and see myself in pleats, it does not thrill me.  So what did I do?  I added more pleats (a la the smaller double pleat above). I did not work very hard to line up the pleats in skirt with the bodice.
Pockets!  I do not like garments without pockets.  I need a place to stash things, especially when I am running across campus.
Just like Bridget Jones, I encountered several comical issues that were easily solved with a MacGyver-like attitude and a dirty vodka martini.  For all the work, I really do like the final product, including the pleats.  I have to list my drama as she would in her diary:

Leena Problems and Solutions, 23 July 2015, 20:15

  • 1 large glass of Cabernet (Third glass this week!)
  • Bag of microwave popcorn (Buttered, lots of butter.)
  • Large Neckline  -- take in the shoulder seam by a 1/2 inch
  • Waist Pleat -- sew from waist up for about an inch
  • Poofy bodice -- use belt (note to self: buy more belts)
  • Skirt Pleats -- as many as you want just be careful about pleat placement on the behind. You don't want a pleat-tail!
  • Fabric tragedy -- not solved until a new dress
Here is the Zeena in action -- I wore it to a welcome to freshman dinner.   In order to get to know the other students in this bootcamp,  there was a mixer game.  I am always a good sport so I had Miss Piggy pinned to my back for the evening.  Quite fun -- I had to find Kermit by just asking questions.

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11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Be a Goddess of Calm and Light”

  1. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear you had such trouble with this pattern (which I couple of weeks ago, too, after seeing the version on the Grey's blog and a coupon code for it!). I think it looks good, but maybe you're right that it needs a slightly stiffer/crisper fabric to give the pleats more shape and less drape?

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  2. Oh no - I can empathise here - there is nothing worse than using a precious piece of fabric and wishing you hadn't. I'm wondering if too much drape does not suit you because you don't have the curves to fill it out (I hope you don't mind me saying that) and so it looks floppy and overwhelms you. The belt helps because it shows that you have a petite figure. Wish I could wave a magic wand to magic the material back.

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  3. I'm sorry this dress wasn't what you expected. However the fabric is beautiful, and the color looks so nice on you! How neat to get a compliment, and play a good icebreaker game.

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  4. I love your fabric - im on a mission to find that perfect chambray! It's a shame though that you don't much care for the finished dress - you could be right though that a fabric with more weight to it could work better. Is this not quite similar to the elizalex dress? I really liked the initial line drawings for the zeena however wasn't as taken by the new style when it was released :-(

    p.s. cabernet is a good choice!

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  5. I do love the fabric. Pity you feel you wasted it on something less than your ideal dress. However, I rather like it, especially with the belt. You are so slim. The first solution for me would be glass of Merlot or sauvignon blanc...

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  6. I do love the fabric. Pity you feel you wasted it on something less than your ideal dress. However, I rather like it, especially with the belt. You are so slim. The first solution for me would be glass of Merlot or sauvignon blanc...

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  7. I do love the fabric. Pity you feel you wasted it on something less than your ideal dress. However, I rather like it, especially with the belt. You are so slim. The first solution for me would be glass of Merlot or sauvignon blanc...

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  8. Oooh I hate when you use special fabric and it just doesn't turn out as expected :( The dress looks really nice in the pictures, the belt looks great with it.

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  9. Isn't it frustrating when a project isn't what you imagined it to be - I think looks looks nice though, lovely colour :) is that your tiny dog in the last picture?!

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  10. I am so sorry about that :( Anyway, the dress looks lovely on you, the colour suits you and the belt is perfect accessory :)

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  11. Glad you are wearing it even if you are not super happy with it. It really looks nice, especially with the belt to show off your slim waist.

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I love to hear what you think -- it makes my day! I will try to respond to each of them.

Annie