Yes, a dress! A completed project that I am actually pretty happy with. I think this is a good way to start the new year. And yes, I know it's technically cheating since I started this dress back in.... October. But I am adding it to the Jungle January pool since that is the reason I finally finished it. It had been sitting on my dress form for over a month now waiting on buttonholes and a hem. But Jungle January peer pressured me in to finishing it :)
Like I said before, I started this project months ago. And it started out differently in my head. I planned on making a maxi shirt dress for a November wedding I attended. I envisioned a floor length shirt dress made out of a slippery, flowy fabric. So I browsed around online and ended up purchasing this army green leopard print rayon challis. When it came, I was underwhelmed. It kind of reminded me of camouflage. I forged ahead with my plans anyway, cutting out the top half of a Lisette shirt dress pattern, Simplicity 2246, that I've made before (view C but with the long sleeves). I planned on using my half circle skirt pattern for the bottom half of the dress, which I luckily did not cut out right away. The Lisette pattern is an easy beginners version of a shirt dress. The collar is one piece, which I think is a little strange, and there are no cuffs or sleeve plackets. I knew I liked the fit, though, because I made a version last year. That dress has been on constant rotation this fall. It's not a super close fitting shirt dress. I left a little bit ease in the waist and bust on purpose. I made the original while I was still nursing baby Jane and I needed the ease then. I've found after wearing that dress a lot this fall that I really like the extra ease. It's an easy dress to wear all day. I wear that one to work a lot.
I did the same shoulder adjustment where I took out all the excess ease. Only I think I went to far this time. There is an issue with the fit in the shoulders which doesn't seem to be apparent while looking at the dress, but I can feel it. There is a tugging feeling. I think I would leave a little bit of ease in next time around. Also, the shoulder seam pulls off the ends of my shoulders which doesn't happen on my first version. I did a collar stand by tracing from the one piece collar. I didn't realize there was actually a separate collar stand pattern piece (d'oh!) until later so I can't comment on that. It ended up huge. I can actually flip the collar stand down and it looks almost like a full size collar. As a side note, I've yet to sew a shirt collar that I haven't found too big. Why do collars on sewing patterns always seem so large compared to rtw? Or maybe I just prefer a smaller collar.
Somewhere along the way I lost interest in the project and I didn't finish it in time for the November wedding. I think the fact that I didn't really love the fabric contributed to my stalling. But I revisited it later on and decided to go with the gathered skirt from the actual pattern instead of a maxi skirt. I lined the whole dress by cutting out the same pattern pieces from a solid drab green rayon challis and basting each piece together before sewing. It makes for a really nice finish. See dress guts below. The whole dress feels very substantial and nice on. Rayon challis is definitely not a cold weather fabric but it works in a double layer like this. It's actually decently warm. The skirt lining was hemmed separately but incorporated in to the placket. Speaking of which, that placket is all sorts of messed up. It's wavy and ripply and all over the place. And my button spacing is not even. I cannot get my one step buttonhole function to work if it is anywhere near another seam. Fortunately the print hides most of it. I hope.
And now for the sleeves! I am most pleased with the sleeves. I was working on this dress when a post at Handmade by Carolyn describing a simple buttoned cuff came up in my reader. It was the perfect solution. The Lisette pattern doesn't include any sort of finish for the long sleeves. Just a hem. On the original dress I made, I did a sleeve facing which looks good rolled up. On this dress, I did the simple buttoned cuff that Carolyn so kindly did a tutorial for and I love it. So thank you, Carolyn! I was lining the sleeves already so I didn't have to create a facing. I just sewed the split and button hole and that was it. I like how they look rolled up, too.
All in all, I am pretty pleased with the finished product. I know I'll get some everyday wear out of it at this length. Although I still want to make a floor length shirt dress in a wispy fabric. One day!