I was gifted this fabric by the Smuggler's Daughter and some is still available on the site. I wanted to make something special with it. I probably should have gone a little less epic but it was worth the journey, even if I had to take a short break to regain my inspiration.
Fabric and Notions ~
The starting pattern is Vogue 8972
The Smugglers Daughter border print
Gray medium weight linen from the fabric collection
Black medium weight linen from the fabric collection
22" black zipper
Lt. Green piping
White cotton batiste for lining
Gray cotton batiste for lining
Dark Steel Gray bemberg lining
Pattern Alterations and Construction Details~
All of the pattern alterations were documented in the posts mentioned above. However, the construction of this garment is quite detailed probably because I chose to make the dress way more difficult than it needed to be. Let me give you a few details...
- The black linen skirt front and back had black silk organza basted to each piece...that's seven pieces in total.
- I tried to use the cotton border print in such a way that it would enhance the pattern of the fabric. I carried it over into the sleeves to give it the greatest impact.
- The back zipper is black but it was hand stitched in. I knew I didn't want to deal with matching an invisible zipper in two places on the back. So I hand stitched it using a regular zipper.
- There are a lot of pieces...to the bodice and the skirt...a lot of cutting...a lot of seam finishing...a lot of sewing them together.
- The lining has white cotton batiste for the bodice and gray cotton batiste for the center panel then dark steel gray bemberg lining for the skirt.
- The lining top is seamed but the skirt lining pieces were cut based upon the finished fashion fabric pieces.
- I added piping to the neckline. I wanted to capture some of the green blocks that are in the top piece.
- I did have some challenges with getting the side bodice and the center front to match. I don't know if it happened during the pattern alterations but I cheated and used a little ease stitching to get them to work together.
- This added a little gathering in the bust area that the fabric's pattern hides.
- That was a little discouraging and helped with me putting the dress down for a minute.
- I basted the sides together prior to machine stitching to insure the sides matched.
- The sleeves went in so easily! Since that was near the end of the dress' construction, it was really great that they weren't a challenging insertion.
- The sleeve hem is topstitched using a double needle.
- The hem on the lining and on the dress are doubled and stitched. The lining is machine stitched and the dress is hand hemmed.
- Being anal about thread, I changed the thread for each piece sewn on both the sewing machine and the serger.
- I omitted the topstitching that the pattern suggests.
- There was a lot of handsewing in this dress - to match side seams, to insert the sleeves, to add the piping, to attach the lining to the zipper tape, hemming the dress...a lot!
- Finally, I used a lot of steam to press this dress. At one point I had to send Lena, precious grand baby number 2, upstairs because there were clouds and clouds of steam fog!
Back bodice sewn to waist insert
Front bodice sewn to waist insert
Sides basted to insure they matched when sewn
Checking the basted back prior to adding the zipper
Dress shell finished
Lining for the dress
Adding the piping to the dress neckline
More pictures of me wearing the dress ~
This dress was a lot of work. I put it down for a minute because it got to be overwhelming. Even now I'm on the fence about the dress. My daughter and I did two photo shoots to catch the dress just right. (As an aside, lighting in the house, in the evening, doesn't even begin to compare to outside shots anymore!) I loved wearing the dress during the first photo shoot but hated the pictures. During the second one, I realized that the dress is a little too big. I was never going to make it as tight as the pattern depicts it but I went back in and took in the side seams 1/2" on either side in the waistline area.
See I'm trying to expand beyond the simple sheath silhouette that I love to wear. This dress was suppose to help me step outside my comfort zone. I'm not sure if it accomplished it's goal. I keep thinking back to the fit and wearing ease of the Milly dress, this one just doesn't have that. However, I would like to try it in a ponte knit for fall, I'm thinking it will fall better than the linens I used for this one...we'll see!
...as always more later!