It is not perfect, but it is everything I wanted it to be. I will be making more of these... starting this weekend!
Things went wrong, things that may have been due to my inaccurate tracing or (dare I suggest?) a mistake in the original pattern... because I am not alone in having problems with the basic piecing-together of this dress in this size (XS).
But the funny thing is, instead of wanting to throw my teddy out of the pram and rant on about how I could have saved £13 by drafting my own pattern in the first place, I cannot find it in my heart to do that.
Because it is to all intents and purposes the Perfect Simple Dress Pattern. And the instruction booklet is so well-written, and the designer's sewalong blog posts are so supportive about how to change the fit, that I am determined to suck it up and sort out the problems so that my next version will be Just Right. And I will learn such a lot in the process and end up with a blueprint for a "go to" dress pattern - bargain!
I don't usually make or wear dresses. This pattern could change that. It could be... I hesitate to say this... my new uniform dress.
So... what went wrong?
There were two places where the pieces just did not fit together properly:
- The side seams, where my front bodice pieces were longer than my back piece.
- The armholes, where the sleeve circumference was not big enough to fit the armhole aperture, in contradiction to the instruction that I would need to gather the sleeve cap to make it fit.
- Sliced off the 1.5cm excess fabric at the lower front edge of the bodice
- Increased the size of the shoulder seam to 3cm from 1.5cm
Well, obviously, the net effect was to raise the waistline by 3cm in total.
And it is fine.
|Bust darts require adjustment|
There is a slight diagonal pull around the bust dart which may or may not be due to my raising of the shoulders. But it's not a show-stopper. I have to say the bust dart looked unusually short and fat - I might change it next time.
What do I like about this pattern?
Potentially, it doesn't use much fabric. Mine was narrow and had a flaw I had to cut around so I ended up using more yardage than planned. But if you had 60" wide fabric and didn't want pockets, you could probably cut the skirt section in one piece, selvedge to selvedge. (Don't quote me - I haven't checked). But it feels like an economical cut.
After raising the shoulders, the sleeves fitted into the armhole perfectly - no faffing about, no lumpy bits.
The neckline is rather low and rather wide. This makes me feel like a ballet dancer. Yes, I am delusional and proud of it! It makes me want to collect interesting necklaces. It also works well with scarves for colder days. You could wear a t shirt / camisole underneath and cardigans on top.
The skirt has just enough gathers to add shape without pouff - so as long as you check that the waistline hits you at a flattering point, you have plenty of room to move, without looking 9 months gone. But I think it would be a train-wreck in stiff quilting cotton. You need fabric wth drape.
The sleeves are quite narrow, with elastic at the hem, and are an unusual length - which of course is entirely adaptable to suit your own taste. I might add narrow cuffs next time for a less casual finish. Or you could go sleeveless if you live in a warmer climate.
It is an invitation to play in the button box. I love buttons! Imagine the same material with wooden buttons, or mother-of-pearl, or jet black sparklers? Such a different effect!
If you want evidence of this, have a look at some of my favourite examples of this dress (and apologies if I have raved about yours on your blog and failed to list you below!):
Liliash's - in suiting, people!
Idle Fancy's - I think the first I saw and thought "Oooooh - yeeeeah!!"
Four Square walls's - because I love everything she makes!
True Bias's - smart versions, with links to advice on using slippery fabric
and the whole Flickr search:
But I haven't forgotten my original inspiration. This is my Alabama Shakes dress!
"Come on Britt'ny! You gotta come on, girl!"
Pattern: Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen, bought from Raystitch online
Fabric: Organic cotton / bamboo mix, 2.5 metres @ £8.95 / metre, from this shop. It had a flaw and they gave me an extra metre free of charge :) Gorgeous drapey silky ethical fabric!
Buttons: Vintage 1940's plastic from Clover Crafts and Curios on Ebay, £1.60 for 6 (I used 12)
Others: Small length of bias binding for the neck facing; two small pieces of narrow elastic for the sleeves.