Friday, August 17, 2007

A New Dress!

New Look 6348 is done, and it's pretty much a success. I say pretty much because there were some issues during construction, and it's not perfect, but overall, I'm pleased.

I used a quilting cotton with an "Asiany" print. It felt more like broadcloth, though, and I think it worked great for this pattern. The dress is light enough and cool enough to wear now while it's still hot, but I think the color will take it into fall with hose and a light jacket or sweater. I'll be able to wear it again in the spring, provided it still fits.

I started with a size 14 bodice, tapering out to a 16 at the underbust seam/waist area, and then on out to approximately an 18 at the hip. The pattern only goes up to a 16, so I had to add to the side seams of each of the skirt pieces, approximately 1/2 inch. That was the difference between the 12 and 14, and between the 14 and 16, so I figured it would approximate an 18 to add that much. There are only five pieces to this dress: skirt front and back, sleeve, and bodice front and back. The bodice pieces are cut twice, once for the outer pieces and once for the linings. Lining the skirt is optional. I chose not to since the fabric is opaque and I plan to wear a slip under it. I serged the seams and used an invisible zipper. I also topstitched the underbust seam to hold the seam allowance in place inside, and because the neck edges are topstitched and I thought it would give it a more finished look.

The "issues" that I encountered had to do with my FBA. The dress itself is quick and easy. I originally did a one inch FBA without a dart. All of the added fabric was controled with the underbust gathers. The muslin looked alright, but I thought I needed a smidge more ease through the bust, so I went back and increased the width of my FBA to 1.5 inches. This time I slashed from the side seam to the bust point and opened a dart to control part of the fullness. I didn't do a second muslin, but went straight to my fashion fabric. When I got to the point where I could try the dress on, I was disappointed to see strange puffy areas at the outer lower bust area. Clearly there was too much fabric in the wrong place! I didn't have any fabric left to recut the front bodice, so I had to "Make it Work!" To correct the weird puffy areas, I undid the basting under the bust and took a deeper seam allowance on the lower bodice, blending it in to the side seam. This took out most of the puffiness, but my dart points are a little low now. Of course, no one but me will probably ever notice it. I'll just have to remember to stand up straight when wearing the dress! When I make this dress again, I will go with my original FBA. Since I'm still loosing weight, I think it will be okay for the bodice to be a tiny bit snug. It might fit longer.

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. I like patterns like this with underbust gathers because they allow for an easy FBA with no dart. But there's only so much fabric you can gather and retain the look you're going for. I think the dart I ended up sewing was a good thing, but I needed to position it higher for the correct look.

All in all I am pleased with this dress and the experience of making it. I'm thinking I might make the sleeveless version with the cut in shoulders and mandarin collar next spring. It's a very simple, but flattering dress that really shows off the fabric it's made from.

1 comment:

jemima bean said...

Bah, you & Debbie are making me crazy. Every day I check for an update (and I talk to you every day anyway. That's sick.)