Havana Nights

Oh, alterations: the sewing task we all love to hate. Very seldom, when the dress fits perfectly after a few simple adjustments, I’m happy with my work. More often, I have to readjust two or three times. And yes, I measure. But achieving the perfect fit is never easy.

Still, when Eliza said she had the right-dress-wrong-size to wear on New Year’s Eve in Havana during her trip with CubaOne, I said I’d try to work some magic. (I like a challenge.)


Here’s the before.  The criss-cross halter bodice is a ponte knit; the skirt is rayon. I used a ball point needle on the knit. The princess seams turned out to be more challenging than i imagined.


To begin, I ripped out the seam joining the bodice to the skirt. Next, I tackled those ponte knit seams oh-so-gently, being careful with the seam ripper and, most importantly, switching to a ball point needle. It really does make all the difference.

img_2038Once I got the fit just right for Eliza, I carefully opened up the princess and side seams before pressing. (I got it right on the second try–yay, me!) Here, you can see I’ve carefully pinned the seams open, to be sure I’ve got everything laying perfectly flat before heating up the Rowenta. I used a pressing cloth, because I had to steam the outside of the dress.

img_2042Final step: the dreaded understitching. Once I finished, no one would ever know the dress had been taken apart. I have to say, I liked the lycra/mesh lining–it was easy to work with, and made the ponte look and feel great.

img_2132And here’s Eliza, posing in front of a mosaic at the Hotel Nacional in Havana. They stayed out till six a.m.! She had a perfect night, in her perfect dress, with the perfect fit. Feliz Año Nuevo!


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