Unbelievably, my 12 months of maternity leave is almost up and I'll be returning to work in mid March. So it made sense to make a work appropriate dress in anticipation. I chose a relatively simple style, #106:
It's deceptively simple though, because matching up all those horizontal seams required a high level of precision sewing, which quite frankly I'm too tired these days to achieve. I think I sewed the side seams and back seams at least four times each until I was happy with the matching. In the end I did what I should have done in the first place and handbasted those seams and the invisible zipper before machine stitching - sometimes the shortest way is not always the quickest way if you can follow my logic there!
I used the blueberry coloured ponti knit fabric I bought from Tessuti's when we had our sewing meetup back in November, which is more work appropriate than the shimmery silk used in the magazine. This fabric is so lovely - it's such a rich colour, and the fabric has a good amount of four way stretch without being clingy. Even better is that I bought 2m and it is a wide fabric so I have quite a bit of fabric left for another project.
The only changes I made to the pattern were to achieve a better fit. The line drawing may indicate that the pattern is nicely curved in at the waistline, but the photo of the 'real life' model shows how what an unfitted potato sack it really is. I ended up taking in the side seams quite a bit - 3cm starting from the underarm and tapering out to nothing below the bottom horizontal seam, and I also did a faux swayback adjustment by curving the centre back seam inwards in the middle panel. It was all I could do really since there were no vertical darts in the front or the back, and it really could use a bit of pinching in under the bust line but overall I think I achieved a fairly good fit:
The invisible zip does a funny bulge at the end just above my butt, but as you've all pointed out in the past no one should be looking too closely there anyway! Besides I sewed that zipper in way too many times trying to match up the horizontal seams to redo it.
The only thing I'm annoyed with is the visibility of the hem, although I'm not sure if that's due to the exposure of this photo. I hand stitched it in because I'm terrible at machine invisible stitching, and in real life it doesn't look too bad, so it's also going to stay as is. I contemplated top stitching around all those horizontal seams and the hem, but I didn't want to risk the fabric puckering and becoming wavy due to the stretch, so I've just left it as is.
So it's straight into the cupboard with this dress since I don't need it yet - I've got a month of 3 child free days a week coming up before I head back to the office since Toby is starting daycare next Monday to ease him into before I go back to work. Oh the plans I have now that I have a bit of time up my sleeve!