I started with the dress. The fabric I'm using has been in the collection for a minute. How long though I can't tell you because its missing the information tag that I usually place on the fabric.
Materials List ~
Medium weight brown knit
22" brown invisible zipper
lightweight fusible knit interfacing strips
3.5" black faux leather strips
Pattern Alterations ~
First, I added an inch to the turtleneck portion of the dress. I wanted to insure that the dress had a true turtleneck not a mock one.
When tissue fitting, I realized that the dress was midi length on me so I cut 3" off the hemline of the dress.
All of the pattern pieces were laid on my TNT front and back dress pieces to insure that there was enough width to the pattern pieces. In various places a half inch or more was added in the waist or hip area so that the V8343 pieces would work on my body.
Construction Techniques ~
The main thing about this dress is that it's a knit dress with a good bit of stretch and I wanted to tame portions of that stretch so that it would play well with the non-stretchy fabric. To do this I added 1" strips of fusible knit interfacing to the side seams and the center back seams of the knit fabric. It stabilized the fabric and allowed me to insert the invisible zipper, as well as, add the leather bands without a problem.
My non-stretchy fabric was the 3.5" faux leather bands that I added to the sides of the dress and to the sleeve hems. I was a little short on fabric after cutting out the main dress pieces. So when I cut the sleeves out, I knew I was going to add something to lengthen the sleeves.
After stitching the princess seams together, I realized that the dress would fit but it would be really tight. Now I know that tighter fitting garments is the new norm but I'm not comfortable in too tight clothing, not only because I don't believe in sharing my rolls with other people but also because it's not a good look for a corporate office like mine.
That's when I came up with the idea to add the 3.5" faux leather bands down the sides of the dress, as well as, the sleeves. Of course when I first pinned and stitched the bands to the sides of the dress, I did a straight 3.5" from top to bottom, which made the top of the dress too loose. So I went in and took the excess out...as you can see in the picture below...
...this solved my problem with the fit in the top and the bottom of the dress. So you see those side gussets in the Olivia Pope top had its genesis in this dress.
One more thing about the sleeves is that I used the jacket sleeve pattern instead of the dress sleeve because I was to lazy to increase the bicep on the dress sleeve. The jacket sleeve had enough room in the biceps but of course the sleeve cap was larger than the actual sleeve opening. To solve this challenge, I added pleats to the sleeve caps. It worked but the shoulders are drooping down my arm.
At this point, I know that I need to take the sleeves out and reinsert them...but I'm about done with this dress especially since it fits like a tent. It's not working out the way that I envisioned so I'm trying to decide whether or not to finish and donate it or trash it. Also, it's a reminder that winter just won't go away and I'm so ready for it to be gone.
A few pictures of the dress as it is now...
Full view of the dress with the princess seaming and leather bands
Neckline pinned with the elastics I was going to add as loops for buttons
I thought I would show a failure since my last make was such a success. Even I can produce a dog now and then! I think I'm going to let it sit through the summer and see if I want to finish it next winter because it will work with these pieces...
...as always more later!