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!