Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dr. Girlfriend Mall Outfit

Yes, yes, I think everyone knows by now that I heart Dr. Girlfriend- or at least I heart dressing up as Dr. Girlfriend- and so do a lot of other gals out there. There is nothing wrong with that, but while planning to attend SDCC I did not want to be wearing the same costume as many other ladies. So, here was my plan; I knew I wanted to save the Queen Etherea costume for Masquerade, but I figured it would be easier to keep my hair and make-up the same that day- the answer, another Dr. Girlfriend outfit! (she's got plenty)
So, here is the outfit from Season 2, episode 2:
Hot right? I especially love the giant polka dots! Hubby was skeptical that I would be able to find that exact polkadot  print- and I agreed- that's why I was going to make it!

Step one: figuring out what colors to use. Cost is always a factor, so I tried to use fabric that I already had, I must have put together 6 different combos of pinks and purples before deciding. I knew that I was going to use the scraps of lavender spandex that I used to make the original dress, because I was going to use the same hat- so that was easy. For the dark purple I used scraps of some cotton/polyester interlock that I had just made a shirt (still needs to be finished) out of. But the main color for the dress was really tripping me up. Finally I decided on this color called "hollyhock" at JoAnn Fabrics. Of course the only content I could find it in was 100% polyester. I do not like using all polyester content because it can be hot and uncomfortable, but on the other hand it's cheap. Since it's cheap, it's mostly translucent and needed to be fully lined. Also, this is a "stable" knit fabric, not near the stretch abilities of spandex- yet another challenge!
Here I am measuring how much it stretches. Not a lot- this would be categorized as a "stable knit". But since this dress has no back, the pattern drafting was fairly simple.First I traced my "sloper" and decided on a length for the dress.
A blurry shot of my drafted pattern being prepared for cutting.
Sewing the back band.
Here is the back yoke. I think I ended up interfacing both the top and lining portion of the yoke, because I was having trouble having the pieces line up and not stretch out while sewing otherwise. I orginally planned to have the dress closure to be one complete shoulder seam. I was going to close it with hook and eye tape, because I have a lot of that, and I try to use it everywhere I can. I was very unhappy with this result- the pieces pulled apart and you could see the hardware- so I took that out and used an invisible zipper (with one hook and eye) instead with much neater looking results. Making the polkadots was fun. Deciding the exact appearance of the dots was a challenge. Sometimes things in cartoons change from scene to scene, and this particular outfit looked different everytime I saw it. So I had to make some decisions- but really- who's going to compare every one of my polkadots?? Anyway, this dress was kind of funny in the fact that I was using three different fabrics with three completely different contents and stretch abilities. To combat those differences I interfaced all the pieces of the polkadots- thus negating the stretch and topstitched them together with matching thread and a zigzag stitch.
I had the pink part of the dress (shell and lining) assembled so I could put it on and decide the exact placement of the dots. I put tear-away interfacing under the pink dress fabric to keep that fabric from stretching out of shape and topstitched all the dots on again with matching thread using a zigzag stitch.
She also has the purple purse- how convenient for attending conventions! I wanted a darker purple that matched the polkadots, but this was what was available. The secret to sewing vinyl on my little ol' sewing machine is the walking foot:
Sometimes it's referred to as an "even feed" foot, and that is what it does. The foot allows the fabric to be fed through the machine equally on the top as it does below in the feeddogs. It's a little noisy, but it helps a ton! It is still really hard to sew through more than two or three layers of vinyl- so I just had to avoid that situation. I lined the whole bag with purple cotton fabric, and there is a zipper inside. The outside flap of the bag is secured with a magnet purse closure. 
The only part of the outfit that I did not make was the gloves and boots, I ran out of time. I would like to improve my glove-making skills (luckily there is a nice glove article in the new issue of Threads) and I would also like to do something more with boots and shoes......ah, projects for the future.

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