Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I wore to the party

I've covered what Mario wore to my office party. Now it's my turn.

First off, let me say first off that I already reviewed this dress last summer, but I made so many changes on this version (from fabric to design changes) that I thought it was better off having a review all its own.

Pattern Description: A mid-summer night's dream in fabulously fluid silk ... This frock flatteringly follows the figure, with a retro-style belt cinching the waist. The feminine effect accentuated by the slight flaring of the skirt. This style will particularly please rather flat-chested women because the gathered bodice charmingly enhances the bust!

Okay, let's see: Not silk. No belt. Not flat-chested. Yep, I didn't listen to a word they said.

Pattern Sizing: BWOF 36-44. I made this in a straight 38 last year. This time around, since I was working in a knit, I used the same pattern pieces and just didn't cut seam allowances. It worked.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Only in the places where it still resembled the original, basically the front and bust gathers, and the shape of the skirt. The rest is all me.

Were the instructions easy to follow? These weren't too bad for BWOF the first time around, but I didn't use them this time because all I needed to know about the dress I was making was marked on the existing pattern pieces or in my head.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked this pattern when it first came out (May 2007), but it took me over a year to get it made up. There were a few things I decided I would change about the dress if I ever made it up again - the armholes were a bit too tight, I was considering swapping from a CB to a side zipper - and then I started thinking about what I could do with this pattern if I used a knit. And it call came together - sort of - from there.

Fabric Used: Black and turquoise floral stretch knit from Metro Textiles. Actually quite recent - no more than a month old.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Let the party begin. I wore the original version of this dress about 2 weeks ago, and as I mentioned above, there were a few things I would change about it. I started thinking about that, and got the idea to make it in a knit. The first thing I knew was that I could leave off the zipper, because I've never bothered to put a zip in a knit dress yet, no matter what BWOF has tried to tell me.

So first, no zipper. Second, I decided to deepen the armholes because they cut a little. They wouldn't in a stretch, but they would still appear too high, so I traced a slightly lower armhole. Then I got to thinking about where I would wear this dress: was it just another knit dress for work, or was it something more? I decided that what it really wanted to be was a sundress, which meant that it needed to be even less like the original dress than planned.

As in backless. I liked the fit of the dress in the front - the bust gathers are really flattering, no matter what size the girls are - and I thought that the gathers gave the dress enough structure for me to wedge in some form of bra so that I could leave the back open. I gathered the two sides of the front separately and pinned everything together on my dress form. I didn't cut the shoulder straps any longer than they were because I intended to turn them into halter straps and I decided just to add more fabric where I needed it above the gathers. Which is what I did - I made two tubes of fabric, gathered the original straps, and sewed the halter straps to them. Pulled up and tied, they change the neckline from the original version, but it works because of the fabric.

I cut the back of the dress off just above the underarm line, and found some 1" elastic. I cut a piece of that slightly narrower than my back measurement, pinned it to the outside of my fabric and sewed along the top, then flipped it to the inside, pressed and zigzagged it down, basting it along the edges as well. Then I did the center bust gathers, and pinned my bra cups along the gather line and stitched them down with the machine. I pinned the cups in several places for safekeeping until I got the back and front of the dress sewn together, and then I tried it on.

I adjusted the pins in the bra cups and hand-stitched them in several places. They really weren't the right cups for the dress, but they worked in this limited capacity and I can swap them out for something more structural later, since all I'll really have to unpick is the line of stitching down the center and some hand stitches.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might make the woven version of the dress again, with the changes I mentioned, but as a sundress I think this is too memorable to make more than once a season. If I get tired of the fabric on this one I may do it again next year. I'd definitely recommend this dress in either type of fabric.

Conclusion: I started this dress on Wednesday, and finished it Friday night at bedtime, to be worn on Saturday. As an exercise in speed-sewing, it didn't turn out too badly, although there are things I would probably do differently if I had spent more time planning and constructing it.


Cennetta said...

The second time around is sweet and very flattering. Speed sewing I'm all for it. Super cute dress.

Susan said...

That looks beautiful on you.

Rose said...

Your creativity worked well. Fabulous dress!

Lori said...

Very cute dress, it looks fantastic on you.

cidell said...

That dress is out of sight!

gwensews said...

It looks terrific on you. Kind of matches Mario's shirt doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Very sexy dress. You look fabulous in it. I love it!

Faye Lewis said...

That is beautiful!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

What a great dress! I love how you saw a new vision from the bones of the original dress and fearlessly changed it to match your vision! Not only did it work but it looks amazing on you!!!

Kat said...

Karen, this is such a beautiful dress on you! The print is lovely and you rock it with your figure. LOVE it!!!