I'm still working away on my big box of UFOs, I doubt I'll get to the bottom any time soon! This UFO I'm very ashamed of myself to say the least, because I got very very excited by the Vogue pattern release a few years ago of the infamous Roland Mouret galaxy dress and couldn't wait to sew up my own version. I even purchased the pattern online from sewingpatterns.com paying the currency conversion and international shipping because I couldn't wait until the pattern was released in Australia (typically 6 months or so later). Well as it turns out, I may as well have waited.....
After reading all the reviews by others who had made this, I decided to make a muslin version first to sort out any fitting and to practice the complicated instructions for the armhole flaps (called flanges by Vogue). I guess this was my downfall because after a few simple stuff ups that required a major amount of unsewing, I put this 'aside' for a little while to think about it some more. And to this date the muslin is still not finished even though I've now made three versions of this dress. I think the muslin might be one to chuck out of the UFO box now.
I found a grey stretch wool glenplaid check with a mint green lining running through that looks exactly like the photograph on the pattern envelope. Yeah I know, it's not very imaginative nor original to to copy it so closely, but I do find them extremely influential sometimes. Sewing it up when along swimmingly, the fit was great (even without that muslin being finished) but I had some sort of weird problem where the skirt seemed to spiral downwards and even though the horizontal lines matched up at the sides, one side of the skirt would always be one square check longer than the other and the hem line wouldn't follow a line. I just couldn't work out what I had done wrong and I got really annoyed, so I put this 'aside' again, to think about it a little while more.
After moving onto to many other projects, I made this dress up in a black sleeveless version which I don't seem to have blogged nor have a photo of. But I made it in a stretchy black wool, and it fitted perfectly and I wear it all the time in my work wardrobe either under a suit jacket or over a long sleeved shirt (I don't particularly like wearing sleeveless in the office, besides it's too cold in there). But still I didn't finish the grey version.
I even made a maternity version of this dress, by shortening the bodice to make it an empire line, and making the skirt portion much larger and less fitted through inverted pleats:
Anyway, I finally pulled out the grey check dress and finished it. I had to undo the skirt from the bodice and zipper, and re-sewed it making sure it was on grain and the skirt was dead straight on the front instead of being cut on a slight angle. That seemed to do the trick and here for your viewing pleasure is a dress you've probably seen a gajillion times before by other bloggers over the intervening years:
I made a matching belt out of one of those belt making kits which was seriously fiddly but looks better than a different coloured belt. I also ditched the puffy capulet thing that goes over the sleeve cap because it looked a little silly on me and didn't sit well under a jacket. Instead I just made a few pleats in the sleeve cap and cut them to three quarter length with a turned up cuff. I also made a full lining, instead of just the bodice as the pattern suggests, and sewed down the curved flaps under the arms to the bodice so they didn't flare out and reveal my bra strap. It's still tricky to find the right bra to wear under this, it's not that it's low cut but just at the sides I found some of my bras peeked out.
And look at how well the checks match at the side and back seams, and so they should given how much effort it took:
I just wished I had used an invisible zipper instead of a centred zipper, it would have looked much neater but there is no way I'm unpicking this baby again!
Anyway I may be a few years out of fashion now, but I don't really care because I think this is quite a classic shape. I think the square neckline is rather flattering on me, although I should wear some jewellery to cover up my bony clavicles (one is the result of a long ago broken collarbone).
And in the interests of blogging transparency, I confess to wearing some Nancy Ganz super suck in undergarments under the dress, and even then I sucked in my stomach all day at work on Tuesday when I wore this! But I think doing that is almost like an exercise in itself, so I'm telling myself I did an 8 hour workout....