Look at my lovely autumn dress. Made just in time for early spring! I guess I could just call it a spring shirt dress. I started this project at the beginning of October and I have been slooowly working on it in between other projects and all the distractions around the holidays. When I started it I imagined I would finish it in time to take photos with all the changing fall leaves. This fabric has some pretty fall colors in it. But eh. You know how it goes.
Actually, I'm really pleased with the finished dress even though it took forever to finish. The fabric is one of those cherished stash fabrics that I have been saving for something special. It's not a particularly nice fabric or anything, just a crisp cotton shirting. But I absolutely love the colors in the print. I love complementary colors together. I used the Lisette traveler shirt dress pattern, Simplicity 2246. I made view C with the gathered skirt but with the three-quarter length sleeve. This pattern has been around for a while now and I've seen lots of great versions on the interwebs. It's a great easy shirt dress or tunic pattern without some of the more difficult parts of a button up shirt. Although I kind of wish there was an option for a sleeve cuff. I struggled with how to finish my sleeve hems as I didn't like the pattern instructions to just turn up the hem and stitch. I ended up adding a sleeve facing using a scrap of lightweight denim. I rolled it about a half inch towards the outside so you can see a strip of it even when the sleeves aren't rolled up. You can see what the sleeves look like unrolled in the photo on the left below. The photo on the right shows the facing from the inside. I pretty much always keep my sleeves rolled up, though. I added the facing before I sewed the sleeve seam and then ironed some fusible web around the top edge to keep it in place.
I've been struggling with fitting recently. I'm pretty darn close to my pre-pregnancy weight but boy am I a different shape now. Things are in different places than they used to be. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just different. I kind of feel like I'm starting all over when it comes to fitting sewing patterns. I don't know what size to cut or what alterations to make anymore where I used to have some routine adjustments. I ended up making a lot of alterations on the fly while sewing this up. Some were on purpose, some were from my screw ups.
I did a broad back alteration before I cut my fabric. I did the one where you cut a right angle and then pivot out. I added about an inch. I probably went a little overboard but I like to have free range arm movement if at all possible. Luckily the busy fabric hides some of the wrinkling. It also hides the fact that the bust darts are way too high. Thanks, gravity. If I make this again, I'll definitely lower those darts. I also reduced the sleeve cap ease using Joy's explanation. Worked like a charm. I saw a lot of versions that had some puffiness at the shoulder, which is not a bad thing but just not what I wanted on this particular dress. I added pockets.
You've probably noticed that I don't have a normal shirt collar on my dress. Yeah. That would be from all my screw ups. I think this bow blouse collar was my fourth or fifth iteration. It was a last shot before I threw in the towel. I'll save you all the boring details, but I seemed to have lost my touch when it comes to precision sewing. I'm a little out of practice. I screwed up two or three collar attempts and distorted the neckline from all the unpicking. I cut it down and tried binding it, which looked terribly homemade. Then I had the bright idea to try a bow blouse collar as a last ditch effort to save the fabric. And it worked. At least I think it did. I seem to be channeling Colonel Sanders more than a sexy secretary, though. But it was a save no less. I went with pearl snaps instead of buttons, hemmed it above the knee and put on my cowgirl boots. That's why I'm calling it the do-si-do dress. I feel like I should be at a square dance for some reason. It's a little country. Yee haw!
It's a great casual dress which will be worn often. Perfect for work. And I'm happy I used a fabric I loved so much. I'm on a mission to sew some of the special fabrics I've been hanging on to these last few years. I like the Lisette pattern I used and I'd like to attempt it again after making this dress. Maybe the tunic version. It was fun to sew a crisp woven, too, after all the knit sewing I've done lately. Hooray for more sewing!