Current feeling is a bit meh. Needs some fixing. But it was a rollercoaster of emotions that took me way up before delivering back to the dress loving equivalent of sea level. Meh.
Photographing it proved tricky, and I thank Fabric Tragic for her efforts, but forgot to tell her that if she just keeps her finger on the shutter then we might get some shots without my eyes shut or some weird expression It honestly takes 60 frames for one that I'd publish. Anyway, with that caveat in mind, here we go...
The pattern is this one: Vogue 1254 Anne Klein
I'm not sure how I first spotted it, but I'd been looking for a dress pattern for The Dressmaker's Do. It was a mid winter event and so I knew I wanted long sleeves, and since I'd already chosen my coat pattern, and it was going to be big, wide and swingy, I also wanted a narrow pencil skirt.
Of course, when you find the perfect pattern it's always one that is out of print. The cover picture just looked exactly what I wanted so I set about tracking one down...
I did the right thing and made a muslin in calico first. I chose a size 16 grading out to 18 over my hips. The bodice was tight. Seriously toight! Also a bit too short, as when I squeezed into both the bodice and the skirt muslin, they didn't come close to joining. But it was looking promising. Emotional highpoint
I was not after a two piece bare midriff look, so I added 1.5" to the bodice length and 1/2 an inch to the top of the skirt.
I also thought I might like to be able to breathe, eat, drink and maybe move my arms. So I figured I needed to size up on the bodice.
To save cutting into my fabric and getting it wrong, I went ahead an made another calico muslin of the bodice, this time with the extra length and one size up. I thought it was good. But it hindsight it wasn't. Emotional midpoint, but needed to get on with it, so didn't stop to dwell. Mistake.
Technically, it was a fantastic dress to sew. I love the origami style detail of the front, and after two muslins I was pretty comfortable with how it all came together. The back has an invisble zip and some nice darts with saddle stitching. Nailed that zipper first go. Emotional highpoint again
Point of note, to future me, or anyone else sewing this dress. The bodice darts don't move with changing sizes, yet the skirt darts do. That meant that if I'd sewn the skirt darts in the larger size they wouldn't have met with the bodice dart. I ignored the pattern and sewed my skirt darts in such a place that they'd line up with the bodice. Anything else would have irked me. Technical hitch noted and resolved. Feeling good...
Then came setting in the sleeves and hand sewing the upper collar. I did the sleeves rather sloppily and while I used lots of gathering stitches and pins, I couldn't be arsed handsewing them in and so there are puckers. Bad me.
The upper collar I sewed about 4 times. Here was where I really wish I had a dress form, as the collar needs to curve over shoulders and then be stitched in place. Stitching it flat meant it kept puckering when worn. It's still not right, and I don't think my fabric was helping me much either.
What the fabric is is uncertain. I bought it at The Fabric Store well over a year ago. It has a diagonal thread warp that probably defines it as a twill. It's soft to touch almost like a wool, but has a black metallic sheen that almost certainly is due to some synthetic content. It drapes very nicely, but maybe this dress needed a stiffer fabric after all.
It's lined with a grey brown silk that I bought for $5/m at Rathdowne ages ago, so all fabrics were form the stash and only the zipper and pattern were purchased. Feeling OK for a "free" dress. I decided to line the sleeves and figured out a way to set in the sleeve, then set in the sleeve lining just on the seam allowance side of the sleeve stitching. Then turn the whole thing inside out through the cuffs before hemming them. Kapow sewing skills! Feeling great, (until I saw how badly my sleeves were set in).
|Please excuse my chin for having temporarily left the photoshoot. - and apologies if your pet bullfrog is aroused by this photo :)|
Also the skirt is not as pencil-ly as I'd hoped. It's got a deep kick pleat at the back (a lined kick pleat was a new challenge that got happily ticked off) so i could definitely taper the bottom to give it more of the wiggle skirt shape of the pattern envelope
I had a go at getting the pattern cover lady's smoulder, but kept giggling. It was also just as I was about to depart for the evening's event and all I could see in the photo was the wonky collar, dodgy sleeve and drag lines. Oh well.
Back soon with the coat which was much more to my style of sewing: technically tricky but not at all fitted!