Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summery Linen Dress

It all started with the fabric. I stalked it on the clearance rack at Joann until they put the clearance fabric another 50% off. I bought a lot, 3 1/2 yards I think, because it was so cheap. I knew I wanted to use a pattern that required a lot of fabric and I wanted a dress. I went with Simplicity 1872, which has three layers of circle skirts and definitely eats up a lot of fabric!

Though that pattern was my base for this dress, it ended up being a highly modified version of the pattern. It has been a month since I made this, and I'm struggling to remember everything that I changed. I am going to have to start taking notes as I sew.

This was definitely one of those make it work projects.  At one point I didn't think it was going to work at all, but I persevered, and I'm so happy with the outcome!
Summery Linen Dress
I started by cutting the skirt for view B. I used a very similar but slightly different bodice from Butterick 5878. I knew the fitting on the Simplicity pattern would be off. There is no closure, or elastic and it simply relies on a tie belt to gather the waist. I knew I wouldn't like that and would want elastic at the waist, which the Butterick pattern was designed with. I also like the sleeves and back yoke of the Butterick better.

I cut a size 12 in the skirt and a size and a size 6 in the bodice.  I sewed down the wrap in the bodice front and did not gather the sleeves as they were already smallish on me since I cut a smaller size than called for.  The skirt is another story.  I started by adding two inches to each tier because I knew from the finished garment length that it would be too short on me. I also did a tiny rolled hem on the skirt tiers and it is still pretty short for me, just barely long enough!  When I put the skirt and bodice together and was horrified with the fit.  There was just WAY too much fabric and it wasn't flattering.  These pictures are terrible but you can get an idea of what I'm talking about here.  I left off the top layer, which took a lot of fabric off of my hips and waist and made the skirt much more flattering.  So now it is a drop waisted skirt with two tiers of circles, still a lot of fabric but much cuter! 
Summery Linen Dress Summery Linen Dress

The fit was still not flattering however. My solution was to take in as much as I could off of the side seams while still being able to pull the dress over my head. That also meant taking apart the skirt layers and taking each of them in and then putting them back together.  I told you it was a make it work project!  This one required lots of sewing patience, which I don't usually have a great deal of.  I'm so proud of my follow through on this dress. In addition to taking in the skirt, I added elastic at the back waist, which makes the front more fitted and flattering.  I would rather have elastic in the back than front.  Even with these changes the dress looks best belted, in my opinion.

You can see how big it would be without the elastic, this after taking it in considerably and cutting smaller sizes.  This dress could have easily ended up in the scrap pile.  I'm thinking I'm getting better at fitting issues, which is great news.
Summery Linen Dress

I'm really proud of the inside of this garment too. Using a serger to finish raw edges makes such a huge difference.
 Summery Linen Dress

While I love this dress and it is cute and summery, it is dressier than I would wear to the grocery store.  I'm thinking Frank needs to take me out on a date!

I think that the original pattern with the three layers of circle skirts would be lovely in a very light weight fabric, and much more fitted. I'm sure there is a way to insert a zipper in the side of the dress, it would just take some brainstorming. I may someday try again with this pattern, but for now I only need one dress in this style.

I think my garment pictures are getting better little by little and that makes me hate posing for pictures a little less.  I have still been sewing and have a couple more finished pieces to share, along with some projects that I have made for others.  

In other news, we finally joined the gym and are trying to go 4-5 days per week.  I ran outside this morning because we got a cool front and the weather has been too good to not be outside.  After that I went to the gym and tried to get comfortable with the weight machines.  The cardio equipment doesn't intimidate me but the downstairs area with all the muscle guys and the weights does.  I'll get over it soon enough though.

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