This is my new favorite pattern, and I owe it to Sherril for making it up and recommending it. Truthfully, I never look at See & Sew patterns but I think I should at least glance at them now from time to time.
Here's the front. As you can see, I added sleeves. I wanted this dress to be office-friendly without another layer. I swiped the top-gathered sleeve pattern from my ever-trusty TNT Ottobre 02/2007 tee pattern. You know the one that Belinda and I have made at least six zillion times now.
|Click any photo for a larger view|
Here's the back. It's got a CB seam which I did account for when cutting the fabric. I think I matched things up pretty well, and even though the "stripes" look off-center in this pic, the thinner stripe really does hit at exact center in real life, just the way I wanted.
When I made the first version of this dress, I was tempted to lay the back piece on the fold but I'm glad I didn't. There is subtle shaping in the CB seam and that shaping gives me a little waist definition in the back and adds to the swish factor of the skirt.
Here's a close-up of the sleeve cap, but it's still hard to see that it's gathered.
I also made a stand-alone "scarf." I use that term lightly because it's really just an 8"-wide length of fabric, folded in half with shaped ends. I wanted an extra something to add when wearing a jacket. Which brings me to my question for all of you …
Which do you like better? The green jacket — there *is* green in the dress print which isn't showing as much in these pics as it does in real life.
Or the brown jacket?
I'm thinking I like the green jacket for warmer temps like NOW and I like the unexpected color and contrast. The brown jacket seems more autumn/winter to me, even if the temps don't drop too much most days here in Florida. If it matters, the browns match perfectly between jacket and dress. I'm curious to see your opinions but I won't promise they will change my mind. ;-)
On to some construction details …
As a full-busted girl, crossover tops do tend to gape and/or expose too much. And since I used a cheater FBA of just adding gradual length across the bottom of the upper bodice pattern piece, I knew the neckline would need some help to stay snugged-in. I eliminated the front neckline facings and used clear elastic instead.
Because the clear elastic I was using is 3/8" wide, I trimmed 2/8" (1/4") from the 5/8" seam allowance on the neckline so I could just lay the elastic at the edge to attach it and then folding it over would net me the same neckline width as the original pattern. Got that? ;-)
I used a small ZZ stitch to attach the elastic. I left a long tail at the start so I would have something to grab onto when starting. I used my Teflon foot since clear elastic does not usually feed smoothly under a regular presser foot. While stitching it onto the neckline edge, I pulled the elastic very taut to build in some "snugging-in" when worn against my chest. If you look closely at the elastic edge below, you can see that it is slightly rippled. I also left a tail at the finishing end so I would have a holding-on point when coverstitching the neckline, but you can't see that in the pics.
Because there *is* now some stretch and a slight gather built into the neckline edge after attaching the clear elastic and I didn't want to wrestle the neckline while doing the coverstitching, I cheated and used some Collins Wonder Tape. Here it is below with the paper still on and before I folded the neckline edge over. Again, you can see some slight rippling which is a Good Thing for wearing, but not so good for turning and stitching without stopping and readjusting every couple of inches w/o the Wonder Tape.
Here's the neckline edge folded over and stuck down onto the Wonder Tape. It's now ready for coverstitching (or topstitching if you don't have a CS machine).
Sewing the shoulder seam like this *is* covered in the pattern directions, but I took pics anyway. The red line below is the finished edge of the front bodice. You can see that the back shoulder is sticking out 5/8" (the seam allowance) past this. The pins are holding my shoulder gathers in place until I sew the shoulder seam. Just be sure you leave the 5/8" seam allowance as shown when you sew the shoulder seam for this view so that when you turn under the back neckline edge, it lines up with the finished edge of the front.
Lastly, here's my super-technical FBA. I also had to cross the front pieces over each other more than the pattern markings on the tissue or I'd be showing everyone my navel. ;-) I recommend that when you get to this step, take the extra time to pin/baste and try it on. I ended up needing to ease the lower skirt waist to the upper bodice waist at that joining seam because I crossed-over more than the pattern, but when worn it looks perfectly flat (except for the pleats, of course).
BTW, in my first post about this pattern I noted that I cut out to the 22 width from the armhole downward but ended up removing back to the "19" (between 18 and 20). I did end up adjusting the pattern too instead of leaving it like I said I would do. I decided it's better not to challenge the sewing brain cells too much with "maybe scenarios" that I won't remember 6 months from now. This ended up being the exact right move since I had to ease the top bodice to the waist and without the trim, it would've been a much bigger stretch.
Parting shot: More new shoes on the way! I ordered these last night from Zappos at about 1 AM Eastern Time and they are being delivered TODAY per the UPS tracking number. How do they do that?? Well, I'm not complaining and I hope they fit. Do you think we could get Fabric.com hooked up with Zappos' shipping department?
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Have a great weekend everybody!