It seems as though nearly everything I sewed this summer was blue. My Lisette lawn Anna, my Alice dress (since disassembled and waiting for pattern inspiration to strike), my nautical shirtdress, two bridesmaid dresses for my friend’s wedding… And this dress, which I actually made over a month ago for the Summer Sundress Sewalong, but am only just blogging now!
In the middle of sewing the bridesmaid dresses, I decided that I wanted to sew myself something. Naturally. But what with full time work I didn’t feel like I had a great deal of time to sew at all, much less things that weren’t related to the fast approaching bridesmaid-dress deadline, and so my dress came out a little slapdash and messy as I tried to cut corners.
The fabric is a Lisette lawn that my mother gave me, with rough, almost diamond-shaped white polka dots that have little teal polka dots in the centers. The pattern is a mash-up of my own invention. I knew when I saw the fabric that I wanted a fit-and-flare with a sweetheart neckline, a waistband, and a bias-cut skirt (a la the Sewaholic Hollyburn). The bodice was easy, as I used a heavily modified version of McCall’s 5927 (I added the sweetheart, and scooped out the back, and shortened it to accommodate a waistband), which I used for my bridesmaid dress–that way I could call it a wearable muslin! The skirt was trickier–I wanted a Hollyburn skirt, but I can’t justify spending money on such a simple skirt pattern that I could draft myself. BUT, I couldn’t just draft it myself without feeling guilty, because you’re supposed to support indie pattern designers and all that, rather than blatantly copy their designs. Which I would love to do, if I could afford it, but I can’t.
In the end I went with a slimmer bias-cut skirt pattern that I took off of a RTW skirt last fall, and I really like the shape. I wear a lot of full skirts but lately I have been feeling that I want a slimmer line. The bias-cut nature of the skirt turned out to be quite disappointing, as I realized after cutting the first piece that the polka dots are printed on diagonally, so that rather than forming a nice V on the center seams, they would go straight up and down. “Ah, whatever,” I said, and kept cutting. (I did actually consider making the skirt into a half-circle cut on-grain, but my fabric conservation instincts got the better of me, and I decided not to waste the skirt piece I had already cut.)
The slapdash nature of this dress means that it is definitely not without its problems. I need a giant swayback adjustment to my skirt pieces, and the hem is longer in front than back due to the swayback (easily fixed though). The bodice is a little tight in the bust (and after looking at these pictures, damn it is low cut), and the waistband is about half an inch too long. I made a hot mess of the zipper since I didn’t want to “waste” too much time handsewing, and the pattern matching on the center seams is, frankly, abysmal.
Another thing I noticed is that the back gapes whenever I put my shoulders back, which does not exactly encourage me to improve my posture!
Normal (bonus trying-to-look-into-the-sun face):
See? Gaping! Any suggestions on how to fix this? Should I take out width and risk it being too tight, or is this just normal on low backs?
OH WELL! I still think it’s pretty. And since we will eventually be going into cooler weather, the flaws will mostly be covered up by sweaters, so no harm done.
And the insides are tidy. There will be some retroactive seam finishing when I get my zigzag machine back from the shop, but it hasn’t fallen apart yet, so we’ll count it as a win!