Friday, April 12, 2013
I miss keeping up with everyone's sewing projects and posts about current fashion trends. There are only a few more weeks of school. I decided not to take a summer course, but will resume my studies in the fall. This will give me some time to sew and beef up my wardrobe. I'm excited about my comeback! ;-)
Let's get down to business. I think it was February when Ms. Paulette Bell asked me to make her annual pastoral dinner frock. This is yearly commission. My two favorites are here and here.
MISSES' DRESS AND BELT: Dress has fitted bodice, right front drape extending into tab with button trim, left drape, panel (wrong side may show) attached at waist, loose-fitting skirt, side snap or zipper closing and belt.
This pattern comes in sizes 8 to 24. I did have to make some modifications which I will talk about in the alterations and design changes section of this review.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it did. This is quite an attractive dress. I love the drama that the long drape gives. I thought the drape was one continuous pieces of fabric. Not the case. The first section is part of the right bodice, then section to drapes across the bodice is a separate part, and finally the drape from the waist down is a triangle to is joined at the under-side to form a cylinder. It's interesting how this small design and construction step creates a different affect in the movement of the drape. You don't have the ends of the two sides flouncing all over this place. It moves gracefully with the skirt of the dress. I love this design element.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were easy to follow. At first glance the construction of the bodice and the drape seemed difficult to manage, but once I started following the instructions, I had no problem. As a precautionary measure I left all of the stitching to form the gathers in until I was sure the fit was right for Ms. Bell.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
For me, I simply love the style of this dress. It was perfect for the occasion and Ms. Bell looked fabulous in it. The pattern cover version doesn't do justice to the design of the dress. The line drawing gives a much better view of the details in the design. I really don't have any dislikes. Nor did Ms. Bell.
Ms. Bell chose a tangerine crepe back satin, which is the first fabric recommended for the dress. It was perfect for the design. However, I hate working with it because of the "snagibility". You must be extra, extra careful when sewing this fabric. I found myself filing my nails before each sewing session. There is no need for lining and interfacing. All that is needed is fabric, zipper, thread, and patience (gathering of the drape).
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
There were a few alterations necessary to get a good fit. That's always expected. I did make a muslin, which identified all the points of change. Initially, I cut a straight size 18. The first change was the lower bodice through the hips. I adjusted the size in these areas to a size 20 to the hem of the skirt. Then the upper arm required a little more tailoring, and I reduce the sleeve cap by a 1/2 inch. The next change was at the back neckline. There was a little gapping at the base of the neck. I chose to make deeper darts (1/8"). But in retrospect, I should have done a small upper round adjustment. Finally, I installed an invisible zipper and eliminated the side facing. I did not use any hem tape or seam binding. I just did clean serging on the sleeves and skirt, then hemmed them.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would love to make this for myself in a mint green. And yes, I do recommend it to others. This is a lovely dress.
Conclusion: This is a very attractive vintage dress that was not difficult to sew. Like most commercial patterns, you will more than likely have to make some adjustments based on your body shape.