I've had such a slow sewing week, in fact it's taken me since last Sunday to finally finish this post and publish it. Toby has been quite unsettled this week and of course it's only mum that he wants when he's crying his little eyes out! It's nice to be wanted, but for crying out loud why did I have to get two children lousy at sleeping?
But I did manage to finish this dress before our Pattern Review high tea last Saturday afternoon - nothing like a deadline to get me motivated. I started sewing it on Friday night and finished it on Saturday morning about an hour before I had to leave. Luckily the day turned out to be very hot and sunny because I made a very summery dress:
I love the seam lines in this dress, it's what makes it a bit more special than your ordinary fit'n'flare dress. I made some piping from navy blue lining fabric since there seems to be a city wide shortage of ready made piping at the moment, which was fiddly and time consuming but very much worth it because it really shows off those lines:
The back has matching princess seam lines and shoulder panel too:
I didn't leave myself time to make a muslin, which actually since I'm a bit lazy when it comes to muslins I probably wouldn't have made one anyway but I did check the reviews on Pattern Review. All of which said that the dress runs large and all the reviewers made at least a size smaller. After checking the flat pattern measurements I made a size 6 at the bust grading out to a size 8 at the waist and hips, even though according to their body measurements I needed a size 12/14/16 sized pattern.
But this pattern still turned out absolutely huge! I ended up taking in another 5cm on each side down the side seams just to get it to fit across the bust and waist, and it's not skin tight. If I had more time I would have pulled it apart and distributed that evenly along all the seams but it seems to be ok just narrowing the side seam. I can't understand why Vogue would draft a princess seam dress, which needs to be fitted to have a nice shape, with 10cm of ease at the bustline and 15cm of ease at the waistline!
The skirt is rather full even with taking it in down the side seams:
although the fullness hangs rather awkwardly because the piped seam makes it kink out a bit and the hem looks rather crooked even though I think it's pretty straight:
The another annoying thing about this pattern is that it is unlined but there are no facings drafted - the pattern requires self fabric binding strips to be sewn around the neck and sleeve openings. Which given it has piping around the neckline it seemed to be unnecessary to me so I just overlocked the edge of the bias piping strip I made with the edge of the fabric, and stitched in the ditch to keep the binding from flipping it out. To make sure I did a few handstitches at each seam line to keep the binding on the inside which seemed to work pretty well:
I suppose you've noticed I left off the hem band too? Well it turns out this dress is really long as well as really big! I did a tissue pin fit and took out 6cm in length from the body of the dress but even that wasn't anywhere near enough because my finished dress has a 5cm hem even without sewing on that band. The pattern is described as mid knee length, and I know that I'm nowhere near model height, but this pattern as drafted would be more like mid calf length on me. Instead of hacking off a huge amount off the bottom of the dress to sew the band on I just chose to leave it off.
I also chose not to make the fabric belt as shown in the pattern because it doesn't look too flattering on those models - it's too loose and droopy I think. I think the dress looks fine without a belt though.
As for the high tea it was delightful. Thanks to the lovely Velosewer for organising it in a chocolate shop, we all got to eat yummy food and a wide variety of teas finished up with a smash cake filled with delicious chocolates. It was great to meet a few new faces in real life and spend a few hours chit chatting about sewing. Of course I forgot to even get my camera out, but Maria has some great shots on her blog of all of us in our self made outfits.