Apologies for the picture heavy post but I am seriously pleased with this dress! I made this dress to wear to my cousin's wedding and it was amazing being able to tell people I made it! I was comfortable in it all day, standing up or sitting down I didn't feel the need to wriggle about and adjust it. I think this may have been much more down to Tasia's fantastic design rather than my fitting skills but I'm pleased I made the effort to make a muslin to make sure it fit as not only did the time and care taken I think show in the finish of the final dress but I felt much more confident cutting into the fabric for this one! This time the make came together pretty quickly as I knew what I was doing and that what I was doing would work.
|I love the contemporary floral print|
I didn't get off to the best start with this make. I was really happy with my fabric choice and couldn't wait to start working with it but after I'd pressed it ready to cut I realised I stupidly hadn't thought about the width of the fabric. I had 3 metres and because of the narrow width I needed 4. Aaargh! Disaster! Once I'd calmed myself down though I realised I had some pale pink drill in my stash which would compliment the print quite nicely and I could use for the bodice and waistband lining pieces. I was concerned about how this might look but now I've finished the dress I love the little glimpses of solid pink you get where the straps tie in a bow at the back.
|Gorgeous picture setting courtesy of my Godmother's house in Port Isaac!|
Whilst ironing I also discovered that the fabric had stretch. How did I not notice that in the shop?? I must have just looked at the weight and thought it was a cotton drill. It wasn't much of a stretch as it's definitely not a knit but there was definitely stretch there. I carried on regardless but the concern was in the back of my mind throughout that the stretch might affect the fit and as the muslin fit so well I didn't want that to happen. In the end it turned out all my concerns were for nothing, it fits a treat and I think the slight stretch makes it more comfortable to wear. I did think about the stretch making it loose it's shape and fit over time but as I interfaced the waistband, lined the bodice with a non stretch fabric and added stay tape along the bodice top and pocket edges I think I've managed to keep the necessary pieces sturdy. It turns out I LOVE this fabric and wish I'd bought some more. The shop I bought it from on Goldhawk Road had more in different prints so I may be venturing back! I will be much more careful when choosing fabric in future though to avoid any more surprises!
The one problem I had with the muslin was the fit in the lower back. I was considering a sway back adjustment but ran out of time to be fiddling around with adjustments. When I finished this though I was pleased to find it fit great in this area! I think a combination of the stretch in the fabric, a better installed zip and making sure the straps were tied just right to hold the back of the bodice up combated this issue. What a stroke of luck!
|Lower back fits!|
As happy as I am with the dress on the outside, I almost want to wear it inside out! As with the muslin it seems silly to have scruffy seam finishing on the skirt once the bodice is lined so beautifully so I bound all the seams with shop bought bias tape. I just love the effect!
|Bias bound seams inside skirt - worth the effort|
|Some stitching visible above the inside waistband|
The only thing I could be happier with inside is the finishing of the waistband. I was really happy with my slipstitching to enclose the bodice/waistband/skirt seams but there is some machine stitching visible above the waistband from where I attached the outside piece. In the instructions it says to attach the outside waistband piece before the inside. When sewing the inside I was so worried about the stitching showing outside I think I over compensated and attached the inside slightly too low, so revealing the earlier stitching. In future I might try attaching both pieces simultaneously so there's only one row of stitching for both and they match exactly but this might make it difficult to keep the bodice flat and even.
I followed Tasia's sew-a-long again, including extra professional looking techniques like under-stitching. I thought this was particularly necessary here as the pastel pink would show quite obviously if it rolled over to the front. I think the final result looks great! It's so satisfying looking at all these little details!
|Under-stitching along top of bodice and loops for straps|
I was feeling so happy with the make as I went along that by the time I got to putting in the zip I was absolutely terrified of messing it up and ruining it! However my confidence with centred zips is building and I made sure to take my time, use a lot of pins and stitch slowly. I'm pretty chuffed with the result! I think on the next project it might be time to try another type of zip, maybe a lapped zip or even an invisible one. I think I might need to treat myself to Gertie's new book so I can take her advice on the methods for both of these as everyone's been singing her praises to highly!
|Best zip I've ever put in...|
If I made this again (which I'm sure I will - I can see quite a few of these in lightweight cottons for next summer) I think I might eliminate the bow detail and simply attach the ends of the straps to the back of the bodice where the loops are usually attached as I have seen on some other blogger's versions. As much as I like the detail of the bow (especially with the little flashes of pink on this dress) I (and my boyfriend!) found it quite difficult to tie in a way which looked good because of the width of the pieces. I think it worked better with the black polycotton I used for my muslin so maybe with lighter-weight fabrics it works better? Also it's quite rarely hot enough in the UK to wear a dress like this all day without a cardi or jacket and the bow makes a bit of a bump.
|Still unsure about how the tie detail looks|
One of the things I've enjoyed most about this project (apart from wearing it!) are the new techniques I've learnt and been able to practice. There were many firsts for me involved in this project, my first pockets, first use of under-stitching and stay-tape and not to mention first complete dress! I'm feeling much more confident in my sewing skills and ready to take on another big one with new challenges.
|I love that this dress has pockets!|