This dress makes me want to wear a straw hat and run bare-foot in the grass....
Man, this one was a tough one... There's a whole saga behind it. It actually started last year when I decided I was going to make the sleeveless version. It was a petite size so I had to make a bunch of length adjustments to the bust. I must have made 3 muslins of that one, if you count the version that was supposed to be the lining but I still wasn't satisfied with because of the gaping armhole.
So back then I had put the muslins and pattern away and the fabric back in my stash, moving on to other more successful projects.
Fast forward one year later. Summer's here again and I'm one more time itching to use this flowery cloth to make myself a dress. I'm not too sure about the sleeveless version anymore, as I want to be able to wear it to work and I feel more comfortable having a little bit of sleeves( I know it doesn't seem like there's a big difference but it does make one for me). So I decide to start from scratch with version 101, which has been so popular around the sewing blogosphere - and turns out to be a regular size.
I've also been reading a lot of fitting tutorials (like this one and this one) and I feel all the more empowered with my acquired (theoretical) knowledge of pattern alteration.
I make a first muslin straight from the pattern...and it's a messy gape-fest. Neckline front and back, armholes, you name it. So I pin the muslin all over the place, go back to the pattern and start slashing and rotating, adding and moving darts, confident that this is going to be perfect!
Muslin #2 is done...and it's a disaster. Still gaping in place, but mostly wayyyyy too tight, I can barely close it (???)
Disappointment ensues. Where did I go wrong (all that blind dart rotating might not have been the best idea), and most of all where do I go from there? Trying not to be once again discouraged, I put on the final muslin from last year...it's actually not bad at all, only a slight gaping at the back armhole, but alright, fine, I'll add a shoulder dart (which I was originally trying to avoid) and be done with it...
But first I actually re-traced my altered pattern of the sleeveless version and added the sleeve bits from the other pattern by tracing that part on top of it ...a shot in the dark but ...it worked!
I cut the bodice for the 6th - or was it 7th ? - time in my lining fabric and lo-and-behold, it fit!
Happy Dance around the apartment.
Finally I was able to go ahead and cut the fashion fabric. I started putting everything together, piping included, decided I should really make a sloping shoulder adjustment for my right shoulder, ripped that seam, removed piping, made adjustment, reattached everything, realized the armholes where way to high on both sides (not sure how I didn't see that at the muslin stage, probably the addition of lining and piping made it feel more obvious), had to undo the armhole seam (which connects lining and shell), removed piping, recut armhole, actually adjusted the pattern as well just in case i ever want to make the dress again, reattached piping, sewed lining and shell back together at armholes and...voila.
As a side note, I used this very useful tutorial to put the lining and shell of the bodice together.
For the skirt part I found the original from burda a bit 'meh' so instead I used Pattern Runway's Gathered Sundress, as the pockets were a perfect complement to my use of piping.
The pattern is a printable pdf - 25 pages to tape together....
It doesn't include a skirt lining so I just used the skirt piece without cutting out the pocket section (basically a gathered triangle).
Compared to the bodice, the skirt part came together easy-breezy. Attaching the waistband to the bodice was a bit tricky though, as I didn't have notches or any marks to match. So I pinned it on myself where I thought it should be and went for it . From up close it is admittedly a bit wonky, but the fabric is very forgiving and at that point I was just ready to be done with this dress.
I finished the hem with my machine's blind hem stitch, which works perfectly with this type of fabric.
To summarize, here are the alterations I made to bodice of dress 104, which ultimately became dress 101:
- lengthened bodice (from petite to tall measurements)
- adjusted waist dart height (front and back)
- sway back adjustment
- added small neckline darts at front and back on the pattern to remove gaping and ironed them out as suggested in "Fit for real people" (I tried to rotate that dart in the front to the bust dart but that didn't work out so I just got rid of the volume altogether by taping and ironing it out on the pattern. Fit for real people says for a small dart it is a totally acceptable method...I guess my dress proves it)
- Took in about 2cm at center back to remove remaining neckline gaping
- Added a shoulder dart to remove armhole gaping
- modified shoulders and neckline to match bodice of version 101 and raised neckline about 3cm at centre front.
- Added about 2cm to side seams at armhole, tapering at waste
- sloping shoulder adjustment on right side
- lowered armholes by about 2 cm
- moved zipper to back instead of side
Pfffeww, I think that's it!
In the end, I am really super happy with this dress. When I look back at all the versions I had to make to get the proper fit and I see the result I think it was totally worth it.
Now all I need is a matching crown of flowers and a big field to run around in...