Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Do-si-do Dress


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!

23 comments:

  1. Yay for pearl snaps! This looks lovely on you! I like the solid "cuff" - it gives a nice finish to the exciting print. And the bow tie was the perfect solution. I'd say you've got your woven mojo back.

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  2. I love that bow tie...that's what I noticed first of all, so maybe the collars not working out was a good thing? I like the sound of pearl snaps...I've never seen them sold myself, but they are a groovy detail.

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  3. it's an adorable dress, and i love the bow tie, so i think it was a lucky accident that regular collars never happened :) also, love the denim cuffs! something happened and my bloglovin is not getting 'feed' from your blog lately, i'm so lucky i stopped by and noticed that

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  4. I like your "design" changes to the dress pattern! They work with the fabric and with your style so I say win, win! As for the changing body shape - ummmm yeah, you will be adjusting patterns from now on. Even though I have a set of TNT patterns every couple of years I have to make a small change to something because my body has shifted once again. You did good though and should make this again with the designer changes it would probably be really comfortable in the spring/summer! :)

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  5. I love it, Liza Jane! And if I hadn't read your description I would have thought it was a bow tie collar on purpose! Congratulations on getting back down to your pre-pregnancy weight. I'm still working hard on that. It's so difficult! I can completely relate about how things appear to be in different places. My body is COMPLETELY different after having my little one and fitting my body has really been challenging recently. I hope Baby Jane is doing well.

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    1. It is difficult! I'm not quite at pre-pregnancy weight, but I'm close. The weight didn't just fall off of me like I hoped it would!

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  6. Whatever you did obviously worked out well! This looks fabulous on you! It matches perfectly with the boots. I would love a bold print for a dress, but I have a hard time committing to any print at all! I guess I just needl to do it. Great job on this and you look beautiful.

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  7. You and the dress look fabulous. The pretty tie and pearl snaps really add to the great look of the dress. It also looks like it easy to nurse in. Win!

    And I hear ya on the whole body is different after pregnancy. I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight and my whole torso (boobs, belly) is out of whack!

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  8. i can see why you love this fabric so much, it is beautiful! love me a good floral! i started muslining this pattern a few yrs ago, but never actually made it. if i recall, the pattern has a one piece faux collar thing? anyways, the bow finish was not only a good save, but i like it so much better!

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  9. Great idea with the sleeve facings!

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  10. Haha, totally not getting a Colonel Sanders vibe - it's a beautiful dress!

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  11. Great dress! I love the print and the design changes you made are lovely. That bow collar really works, as do the denim cuffs.

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  12. Lovely dress, I especially like the contrasting cuffs. With the blue in the background I think you can rightly go with "trans-seasonal" lol. I love your approach to sewing. It seems as though you do not give up and make things work! The bow collar looks really good with the rest of the design. They should have included it as an option!

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    1. It's called stubbornness, Phillipa! Lol.

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  13. I love this- the cuffs give it a nice effect- if you'd used that for the bow- then maybe you could sell chicken, but you look fab and totally un-colonel-like!

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  14. This is so gorgeous! I love the bow collar! What a happy solution! It's really, really nice. The cuffs look great, too!

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  15. Love the bow collar--a clever "design feature" that one would never guess was born of previous frustrations. The colors and print are great on you!

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  16. I'm interested to hear about your broad back alteration - I think this is something I need. My wide back and shoulders have been giving me grief in trying to fit things and not having a big range of arm movement drives me NUTS.

    I love the fabric you used for this dress. It's lovely. :)

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  17. I do love a bow at the neckline, and the contrast cuffs are a nice touch.

    How awesome that you are already back to pre-baby weight! That calls for a celebration! :-) It always took me a solid 18 months for everything to really go back to where it was before. You look great!

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  18. It's gorgeous and I love how the collar turned out in the end - the Lisette shirtdress has been needing a bow collar version, I think (: And yay that your sleeve cap flattening worked. I'm always a little nervous writing ideas like that - maybe I think it's good but it's really just a disaster!

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  19. I love the fabric, and I love the bow you made. I think the dress looks fabulous on you!

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  20. This can be thus stunning! I love this bend receiver collar! Exactly what a satisfied answer! It's really, actually great. Your cuffs seem good, also.slim fit dress shirts

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  21. Your "screw ups" caused some great saves. I love, love, love the tie neck. And I think the contrast cuffs are brilliant.

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