So onwards...the fabric I used was a ltwt tropical wool in a navy blue with an orange pinstripe. So I knew it would have to be lined. That was the first of many challenges because the pattern does not suggest a lining for the dress. The second challenge is that nowhere and I mean nowhere does the pattern instructions tell you how to deal with the pleat after you make it. Here's a pic of the inside of the dress with the finished pleat:
Nowhere in the pattern instructions does it tell you to remove the basting in the pleat, how to handle keeping the pleat flat on the outside of the dress or how to stabilize the pleat overlap inside the dress. And then since the dress is unlined, won't the pleat innards wear poorly without something to protect them?
My solution was to add a row of topstitching down the center front piece on both sides of the pleats. Then I edge stitched the pleats to define them, finally pressing the heck out of them and using my clapper. Lastly to stabilize the pleat overlap in the back of the dress, I used some stitch witchery. It was the only invisible treatment that I could think of especially since any hand stitches would show on the front of the dress.
That was my pattern challenge. My most pressing fit challenge was that this is a SEMI-FITTED dress even though it it does go up to a size 24...which was my starting point. And to add space to this dress, I couldn't just cut and spread the center front piece because it would throw off the pleats but I had to add more space because the finished lower edge width was 57" and I like more like 62" to 65".
The good thing about this pattern is that it is a princess seam pattern so there are plenty of opportunities to fix the fit in the back, the side seams and the front before you get to the pleated section. I also needed to adjust my sleeve biceps because like everything else on this pattern they were too small.
So here are my pattern alterations:
- The center front piece which is placed on the fold was pivoted and slid 1/2" at the waistline down to 1" at the hipline.
- Both the front side and the back side pieces had 1/2" added at the waistline increasing to 1" at the hipline and 2" at the hemline.
- I added one inch to the center back piece from neck to hemline.
- The sleeve pattern was sliced in half and 5/8" seam allowances were added at the sleeve cap and the sleeve hem. A bump for the bicep was added about 1 1/2" on both sides of the sleeve seam.
The proper way would have been to cut lining pieces from all of the altered pattern pieces and stitch it together figuring out a way to omit the pleat in the front. Instead I laid the already adjusted, unbasted front and back pieces from the fashion fabric onto the rayon lining and cut them out that way. I had no intentions of trying to "line" the pleat or of making seams in the lining.
I did get the sleeves into the garment but the shoulders are too wide and the sleeves hang funnily. They also need to be shortened but by this time I was "tired" of this dress. So this is how it's hanging now...waiting for me.
I will finish the dress. I do like the pleats in the front. But as with all very conservative dresses made from boring pinstripe fabric...it is bland. This dress will need serious jewelry, shoes, hair and make-up to get it work ready...however, once those things are added it will be appropriate for the days that I need to look banking bland...ooops that's banking trustworthy during those long and tedious meetings...oops again, that's those informative and revenue generating meetings.
Once I've solved the shoulder/sleeve thing...added some jewelry bling and visited hair and make-up, I will share pictures.
This is SWAP dress #4 which is taking a whole lot longer to finish than I anticipated. I may have to punt and use one of the dresses I've already made this year (when I should have been sewing SWAP!) for the collection. If I do that, I would have 5...count them 5 dresses and I would only need to make two tops. Since I'm going TNT with those, I'm almost positive (don't want to offend the fabric gods with too much confidence here) that I will be done this weekend. That would mean that I would only need to take pictures the weekend of April 30th. Or I could get a burst of energy and come up with one more dress...seriously, OMG seriously (she says hysterically)...or maybe not! *LOL*
...anyway, as always more later!