I finished my dress! I made this from Simplicity 1873.
This dress was probably the easiest thing I've done so far. I finalized my pattern adjustments on Monday evening, and finished tonight. I only had to use the seam ripper two or three times.
I. LOVE. THIS. FABRIC. This was really exactly what I needed to work with following the ren fest costumes (none of those fabrics were easy- even Sean's, which I haven't posted about yet). Anyway…. This fabric is called "Summer" from one of Cosmo Cricket's collections for Moda fabrics. It's 100% cotton, but it has a surprising amount of stretch to it. It cuts beautifully, doesn't fray much at all, and runs through the machine very easily. I don't care if it means I'm unsophisticated and childish. I love quilting cottons, and Moda seems to be a particularly nice brand- lot's of great prints, and good quality fabric.
I bought this in a cute little local fabric shop near midtown Atlanta. I wanted 5 yards (for some other specific pattern I wanted to try), but they only had 3, so I bought out the bolt and picked another pattern to use it on.
The bodice on this is lined in simple natural color muslin.
Best things I learned from this project:
-Make a muslin!!! It is NOT a waste of time. I originally was going to do this pattern in design A or B. I was having a hard time deciding if I wanted the sleeves or not, and since the amount of fabric I had was very limited, and it would be a PITA to get more (probably would have to order from the internet), I decided to make a mock up using some scrap fabric someone gave to me that I didn't plan to use otherwise. I'm really glad I did, because other than deciding I wanted to go sleeveless, I realized the neckline of that view looked pretty dumpy on me and I needed to take in the bodice about 2 inches.
Yes, making a muslin took some time, but it saved me from making an ugly and ill fitting dress, and the final dress came together a lot faster after I'd been through it for practice. After making my adjustments, I did my second muslin in muslin, and it seemed to work, so I used it for the lining (which the pattern required anyway).
I use regular drawing tracing paper (available in a variety of sizes in the drawing section of any Joann, Michael's, etc.) for my original bodice and then the adjustments so I can keep all the sizes in tact on the original pattern paper.
-clipping your curved seams is not an optional step. I feel silly for it taking this long for me to realize this, but after Catherine's ren fest bodices, I've been kind of gun shy about taking scissors to my seams at all. But it is absolutely necessary if you want your fabric to not look shitty once you flip it out.
-Invisible zippers are awesome!!!!
-Pleats!!! I had absolutely no reason to be intimidated by this. I really like how they turned out, and they were not difficult at all.
-Despite "winging it" pretty well, I still need to learn how to properly do adjustments- especially for bust and shoulders. Once I put in the zipper, I realized that while the front fit me nearly perfectly, the upper back was a bit too large. When I adjusted the back, it threw the front a little bit out of whack, and since I made the back adjustment near the end of the project, it doesn't look as nice as it would have if I had gotten it right from the start.
-I would really like a dress form. My adjustments on the fly probably would have turned out better and faster if I could have done them on a form instead of myself. I might get one for myself for Mother's day.
So, I pretty much loved this project. I love the fabric, love how quickly it came together, love the end result. I like that the design is simple enough that it really let's a good print shine, and I could make it again without feeling like I have too many duplicates.
I'd like to try this with gathering instead of pleats and also with 3/4 length fitted sleeves. I also feel like the neckline in this needs something more, which is why I added the flower pin. I was tempted to top stitch it, but I think the flower was probably a better choice for fabric.