I was planning on doing a big post about my batik adventures this week, but that will have to wait. I don't want to miss out on the shirt dress party.
So, you'll notice that my shirt dress looks a tiny bit different than the envelope-- namely a placket that extends all the way down the front. I wish I could say I planned it all along but I didn't. It was a bit of luck that it all worked out in the end and I have a wearable dress because I CUT A SIZE TOO SMALL.
Has anyone else ever done that? I apparently was distracted during the prep stage. Well, actually, I normally cut one size when I make tops and things that are loosely fitted and one size up when I make bottoms and dresses, especially dresses with fitted waists. And I cut the smaller of the two sizes. When I say cut I mean I actually cut the pattern tissue. I know all the pattern tracers out there are snickering right now. But I really, really hate tracing patterns. Unless it is something truly special. For a .99 cent pattern I figure it's not a big deal. Um, except for situations like this.
Luckily I made a muslin. Thank goodness I made a muslin because I figured out it was too small before I cut my pretty green linen/rayon blend. I've read differing opinions on this pattern running either too big or too small. I've read comments about having way too much ease, but I did not find that was the case at all. In fact, when I read the finished waist measurement on the pattern tissue (after I had cut it out- doh) it listed the ease as only two and half inches. In my experiences with Simplicity patterns so far, this is out of the ordinary. Usually I find that the ease built in to their patterns is somewhere upwards of three or four inches. Anyway. That's a long winded way of saying that this pattern is very fitted through the waist. Again, I can only speak from my limited sewing experiences so take that for what it's worth. Someone more experienced would have probably checked the ease before they cut out the pattern. Or traced it.
When I figured out it wasn't going to fit through the waist (I would have been able to wear it, but sitting down would have been uncomfortable) I decided to let out the pleats at the front. The back seemed ok. The shoulders fit nicely. I determined that I could make smaller pleats to add width to the bottom of the bodice, but then I would also have to add some width to the skirt pieces. Then a light bulb went off and I thought about adding a placket down the front of the skirt. That way I could cut the front skirt pieces with a facing and fold whatever was leftover in for the placket. And it worked. And I didn't need to add a zipper because I made the placket totally functional. Can I get a woot woot for no zipper? I did have to add a hook and eye at the waist seam, but it's all very flat and secure.
In the end, I scratched the pleats completely and just gathered where the pleats are supposed to be. As a result, I don't have as much blouse-y-ness as the pattern calls for. The jury is still out on whether this is a good thing. I've seen the blouse-y-ness look really good on some. I think my little bit of errant gathering looks a little odd.
When I signed up to do Sunni's sew along, my main goal was to fit the back of this dress really well and hopefully find a solution to my back fitting woes. After the initial fiasco of cutting out too small a size, that went out the window. I did make some changes during my muslin stage. I did a square shoulder adjustment and then lowered the back neckline 3/4 " before I even cut out my muslin. That seems to be pretty standard for me. I shortened the back waist length about 1/2". And I slashed and spread the sleeve to add about 3/4" of width for my, erm, bulging biceps. I think the sleeve alteration made the most difference. Look what I can do.
Total uninhibited arm movement! Woo hoo! This is necessary for a dress that I plan to wear to work. I bend over, sit, squat, reach, etc. all day long.
I decided to make the under collar and back facing blue because I can do that if I want to. That's what I love most about sewing my own clothes. And I used blue thread for the buttonholes and hem. Again, because I can :)- I originally had some blue plastic buttons picked out but I wasn't happy with them. I found these pretty square mother of pearl buttons at the fabric store and I love them. I think they are perfect for this dress.
All in all, I really enjoyed the sew along. I love making myself do things differently and learning new techniques. I think it helps me grow and keeps me out of a sewing rut. My favorite tip I learned was about using the back facing to attach the collar. I made a coat that was put together that way and I remember thinking that it was genius then.
I got another haircut in case you were wondering. Can you tell I'm feeling pretty sassy in my new dress?
Thanks so much, Sunni, for all your hard work. I'm not sure anyone, myself included, realizes how much time and effort goes in to organizing a sew along and putting together all those posts. Just know that it is appreciated! Muchas gracias!