This week, I finally finished my version of the Eva Franco Doll in All dress.
The bodice is a woven silk, very similar to what I used for my Effie Trinket costume. I wanted to do something a little different than the blue of the original dress, and settled on this turquoise color. I originally wanted to do a green, but all the shades I considered really brought out the earth tones in the doll print, and I thought it looked pretty drab. I was very tempted to try red, but that just seemed a bit much with the Russian dolls and all. I’m happy with the color choice I wound up with, and I think it goes well with the colors in the skirt.
As for the patterns- I knew I wanted to use Simplicity 1873 for the skirt. I had made it before for the Cosmo Cricket dress, so I knew I could handle it, and I liked how the pleats turned out.
Choosing a bodice was more of a challenge. I wanted a V-neckline with center seam and additional seams running parallel to the neckline and meeting in the center. As of now, there’s no pattern that meets all of these criteria, so I settled on Vogue 8789 because it at least had the V neck and center seam. The bodice pattern has self facings along the neckline, and separate facings for the arm holes. The neckline facings are really pretty neat, and much easier than I expected. They folded in very naturally, so with just 1 seam, the bodice instantly transforms from wad of strangely shaped fabric to a bodice resembling the picture on the pattern envelope. I was pretty impressed. I am easily amused.
The facings on the arms, were a different story. I muslined this pattern back in January, and the arm facings just really sucked to put on. I actually thought about making my muslin wearable and finishing off the dress- until I got to those arm facings. I found them difficult to fit to the bodice, and it was a struggle to keep them from puckering or pulling the bodice fabric in weird ways. So, just to avoid doing those facings in the “real” dress, I decided to line the bodice.
I probably should have consulted the directions of any pattern I have with a lined bodice (like Simplicity 1873, for crying out loud), but that didn’t even occur to me until I pulled out the pattern to make the skirt. Instead, I made the complete bodice and lining, sewed them together at the arms, sewed them together at the neckline, and then scratched my head in confusion when the bodice couldn’t be turned right side out. I managed to flip it by undoing the seam around the neckline and part of the back seam, then I slipstitched the lining in place. But really… You’d think after as many lined bodices I’ve done this year, and all the tutorials available online, I could have avoided this issue or figured out a more graceful way to correct it. I know for next time, at least!
Aside from the lining, my other issue with this dress is the design, and how much ease there was in it. I must have been enchanted by the 1950’s cartoon on the pattern envelope because this style of sleeve/shoulder doesn’t do me any favors at all. There’s also only 2 darts in the bodice front, so it’s pretty roomy, and not as flattering as I hoped it would be. I’d definitely pick a 4-dart pattern or princess seams, and something truly sleeveless if I had to do a do-over.
The skirt came together easily. The original pattern calls for a back zip, and my bodice has a side zip, but it wasn’t a big deal to move the skirt zipper location. I also added a pocket, using a pocket from another pattern. Simplicity 1873 comes in 2 lengths, so I used the short length for the matryoshka fabric, and used the same pattern pieces as a guide for the band at the bottom. The turquoise fabric is pretty lightweight, so I decided to line the band with the same fabric as the bodice lining. I covered the seam with this pretty rainbow paisley embroidered trim, slipstitched in place. I’ve been wanting to try one of these trims for a while, but I never remember they exist and/or haven’t been able to figure out a way to use them until recently. Even though it’s not visible from the outside, this is one of my favorite parts of this dress.
I’m going to enter this dress in the pattern review contest, so vote for me, if you want to! All the entries I’ve seen so far are fantastic, so I feel a bit out of my league with this particular contest, but I did enjoy participating!
Just for fun…. When I was still planning this dress, an episode of New Girl aired with Zooey Deschanel wearing the dress! I decided to pair mine with a black cardigan to do a fashion face-off. I think her bodice wins, but I like my skirt better. It looks like hers was hemmed, and I like the thicker band better.