This is a super-quick dress that’s leaving the shop this afternoon. Quick, not because I rushed through it, but because I think I’m finally getting to the point where it’s rare that I make the kind of mistakes that cause me to have to rip out seams and waste so much time. Plus, now I think my machine and I have come to an understanding: it doesn’t freak out when I pull fabric or elastic through it, and I don’t curse and throw things at it. Makes everything go much, much faster.
I love this thing — made of a really great, deeply saturated red slinky remnant I found in LA (and I’ve already used the very last piece of it on a competition dress for the Pan American Championship of Clubs for Emma in January), with an inset midriff panel of black mesh, and a very geometric rectangle of black spandex on the chest, which contrasts nicely to the fluid line of the red fabric. The skirt is also black spandex and the back is open, with three (really really really hard to do) perfectly straight, tiny horizontal straps, and two asymmetric diagonal straps, also black and very thin.
The best part about this dress is the access — which is always an issue with freestyle dresses because I hate to use non-permanent strap attachments (meaning using things like hooks or buttons or snaps…too much can go wrong and I don’t like even the slightest chance that a strap might come unhooked). However, you have to get into the dress somehow, and I think I finally stumbled upon the perfect solution: bra extenders.
This nifty little thing solves several problems at once: 1, the underside is a very soft, very strong, very sturdy knit that protects the wearer from the sharp edges of hooks and clasps. 2, the hooks are sewn so well into the extender — much more permanently than can be done with a needle and thread by hand. 3, if the skater grows, as they annoyingly do, there’s already a built-in way to make the dress stretch an inch or so, which is usually enough to get through to the end of a season — which is important because it’s a serious pain in the rear to alter dresses that have already been stoned. And finally 4, it gives extra stability and strength to the part of the dress that usually bears the most stress — especially when your hooks need to be attached to very fine fabric like mesh or lace.
I first cut the extender in half, and removed one set of loops (so that I didn’t risk breaking any machine needles when sewing the extender to the dress). I then sewed the hook end to the nude mesh shoulder of the dress, flipped it over, and sewed the loop end to the other side…and it’s done. Those hooks aren’t coming undone, no matter how many double flips she throws or how many times she lands on her rear end (sorry Sabrina, just sayin’)…