Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's Finally Done!

Simplicity 2694, that is!


I am so happy to be done with this dress. Have you ever had one of those projects that you just started out so excited over, but as it went on, you kind of fell out of love with it? This was one of those projects. I saw the pattern online, ran out and bought it, started the dress, and then just ran out of steam on it. Now, I am sort of a slow sew-er, but this project just seemed to drag. I felt like no matter how long or how often I worked on it, it wasn't getting anywhere.

After working on it on and off for over two weeks, and then almost all day today, S2694, the Military Dress, is finally finished.

Why do I call it the Military Dress? Well, when I first saw the pattern photo, I was lured in by the solid color, the brass buttons, and the shoulder flaps, all of which are "military" style elements. Besides, if I'm making it, I can call it whatever I want, right?

I started out cutting a straight size 16. The dress has an empire waist and the skirt is loose, so I didn't need to taper out to an 18 like I usually do with a more fitted style. I made a 7/8" FBA like so:

I slashed up through the waist dart to the bust point and then to the armhole seamline leaving a hinge. I then slashed from the side seam to the bust point leaving a hinge at the bust point. I spread the tissue 7/8" and then I slashed from the waist dart to the center front, perpendicular to the grainline and spread that 7/8" also.

Once I filled in with tissue and got everything taped down, I drew a new, wider waist dart and I redrew a new line from the center of the new side dart to the old bust point (orange line) and redrew the side dart so that it angled up toward the old bust point rather than down (as the slashed area did.)

The waist darts were rather wide to begin with, and they were even more so with the added width of my adjustment. I had a heck of a time sewing them and getting them to end off without a big 'ole point. I compensated by curving the dart- kind of following the natural shape of the bust- so that the end of the dart was very narrow and it blended in better. I forgot to take a picture of the actual dart. I'll try and get one later.

The only other adjustment I made to the pattern was to add an inch and a quarter to the length of the skirt. As you can see in the pattern photo, the dress is very short. Even the longer version is much too short for me. I made a muslin without any extra length and I liked where the raw edge of the skirt hit my leg, so I added 1.25" just to have a hem to turn up.

The pattern itself was pretty easy, but time consuming. There was lots of topstitching. All optional, of course, but crucial to the final look of the dress. I used a gabardine blend from Hancock Fabrics which was a pain to work with. It was almost impossible to press well (I pressed the dress before the pics were taken and you can still see wrinkles and a "just hemmed" look to the bottom.) It was also bulky in some areas. The shoulder flaps are lined, and in order to reduce bulk, I used broadcloth for the lining rather than fashion fabric. I also used broadcloth to line the pockets.

The pattern instructions called for just turning under the edge and then topstitching them down, but that would have left a raw edge inside the pockets, and the gabardine was very ravelly and would have made a mess if I had done it that way.

I'm not sure the single back pleat is a good look for me, and I even thought about trying to do two pleats (right under the back darts) instead, but in the end, I just wanted to get finished, so I followed the pattern.

I really don't know yet what I think of this dress. It's kind of an unusual look with the shirtdress look up top and then the empire waist and pleated skirt. I think I'm going to have to just wear it to work for a day and then make a final decision. Im sure I won't make this view again, but I do like the printed sundress on the pattern envelope and I'm thinking it would look really cute for spring with a little cropped jacket or sweater. I've been thinking about my stash, wondering if I have anything suitable to make it up.

In the meantime, this dress will be entered into the stash contest at Pattern Review. Too bad the fabric was 60" and it only took two yards! Now that it's done I can get back to work on my quilt blocks. I can't wait to get the Spring Spirit top put together!

14 comments:

Vicki W said...

I think it's a cute dress and has some really interesting details. The fit is perfect.

Julia said...

I think you look great in the dress. The color is great on you. Yes, I have gotten into projects that I just wanted to be over.

angie.a said...

I think this looks fabulous. Now i should get started on mine...but I'm lazy. :D If it took you a month it's prolly going to take me 6!! LOVE the color.

Lori said...

Very cute dress.

Dawn said...

Wow, this dress looks absolutely fantastic on you!!!!

Cherie said...

Wow, this is a fabulous dress, and looks just wonderful on. Great color, interesting details, I bet you get lots of interest when you wear this. Very "professional", IMHO. Just had to de-lurk to tell you!

Rachel said...

That dress is really gorgeous and the pink looks so good on you. I would have never thought of doing a military style dress in pink, but it is perfect!!

Keith said...

I think it looks fantastic on you!

KellysSewing said...

The cut off this dress is very flattering on you, and you did a great job on the details!

Shannon said...

I am so not worthy! This is why i stick to quilting and reading.

Finishing Lines by K.Sperino said...

This dress is great. Love the details, the color and fit on you looks really nice.

Anonymous said...

great dress, looks great.

Cennetta said...

Shannon, Great looking dress and it's flattering on you.

laura said...

I just bought this pattern today and caught your review on Pattern Review. I'm going to make one of the sundresses and I just hope I cut out the right size, it seems like Simplicity always runs big. I do like your 'military' version though, you did a nice job.