I found this cotton print last month on , and the immediately came to mind, so I just had to get a few yards so I could make something to wear when I go see them next month on the 2nd leg of their “Too Far to Care” 15th anniversary tour.
I picked from my stash for this project. I have mostly made full skirt dresses for myself, so I wanted to do something a little bit different. The sweetheart neckline was a first for me. I’m not sure I’d still go with that if I were doing it again, but in terms of construction it wasn’t as difficult as I had feared it would be.
I added a row of top stitching at the neckline because it seemed a little unfinished without it. The bodice is lined with the same cotton as the flanges and belt, and I left the skirt unlined. This pattern called for just a regular (non-invisible) zipper, and the only ones I had that were long enough were blue and orange, so I went with blue. It’s not really visible from the outside anyway. This zipper install went a lot smoother than the last time I tried to install a regular zipper. I reviewed installation instructions from several different sources, and it didn’t give me any trouble this time. I think not being on a time crunch also helped. I slip stitched the lining over the zipper tape, and I am absolutely in love with how that looks. I didn’t leave any seam unfinished or lining unslipstitched in this dress, and I am pretty happy with how nice it looks from the inside.
Attaching the flanges to the bodice front was probably the most difficult part of this pattern. The corners were just not looking right, and there were some gaps that weren’t closing neatly. After the 3rd try, I decided to leave it and clean it up with hand stitching, and I think It turned out nicely.
My fit adjustments were very minimal, but I probably could/should have done some more. Based on finished garment measurements, I cut a 10 at the shoulders and back, eased in to a 12 at the bust and waist, and then a 14 at the hips. It’s form fitting for sure, but not uncomfortable. I’m not unhappy with the bust fit, and am pretty happy with the waist and hip fit.
The shoulders and upper back… Those are my fit demons that I still need to conquer. I always wind up with a fabric gap right in the middle of my upper back. I thought cutting a 10 back would help since most of my other patterns I’ve cut a 12, and this wasn’t an issue on my Oh Deer shirt, which was a 10 (but it didn’t close in the back, either).
I tried this dress on after zipper install, and the back gap was huge. I adjusted the flange/back seam by taking in 1/2″ per piece per shoulder (so 1″ total per shoulder), and that helped some. I don’t really know what this issue is- narrow shoulders maybe? I don’t have any weird puckers or drag lines anywhere else on the back. I feel like I need some darts or something up there. I might still add them. As it is, it’s not bad enough that it’d prevent me from wearing this in public, but it’s definitely a high priority for me as something I want to learn to deal with properly.
My other issue with this dress is the hem, but this is my own doing. I thought it would be a pretty little detail to cover the hem seam in hem tape, so I picked up some fusible hem tape from Joann. It didn’t come with instructions, but I figured iron it on, and it’s good to go, right? Well everything looked fine until I was about 3/4 of the way through and I noticed a weird pucker. I guess the tape shifted or shrank? I tried again, being careful not to pull the tape. Same thing. At this point I’ve got 2 layers or fusible “goo” on the hem that absolutely needs to be covered, and I am done with the fusible hem tape. Luckily, I had some regular tape in my stash and stitch witch, so I used that to make it work, and I pressed the hell out of it to get all the wonkiness out, but I’m sure it will re-wonk once the pressing isn’t so fresh. As far as I can tell I didn’t do anything wrong, so maybe my iron was too hot. I’m debating turning the whole hem up (and just stitching it!!) because I think the dress is a little long anyway. I think the hem tape is a nice looking finish, but I think I’ll slip stitch it in place if I decide to use it again.
Overall, I liked this pattern, and aside from the back gap, I’m happy with how it turned out. I think the design is very pretty and flattering, and I’m looking forward to wearing it at the show next month. This dress probably took about 15 hours to complete, but a lot of extra time was spent adjusting the shoulders and wrangling the hem. I could probably do it again in 8-10.
My husband says this is the best dress I’ve ever made. Ha! I think it’s maybe the most well constructed so far, but I don’t think that’s what he was referring to.