On a trip to Fabricana in early July, I was supposed to only get some swatches of fabric for a special project...But of course, I fell into the remnant bin and came out with 3 random pieces of fabric.
One of them was this pink/purple cotton with a mix of tie-dye and batik print. I couldn't resist. I knew it was going to be my last summer dress of the year.
The piece was fairly small (about 115x140cm), so I had to keep it simple. I really wanted an easy dress, the kind that you just slip on on hot summer day, that's effortless and breezy, and doesn't need any addition.
It had to be sleeveless, but I wanted to be able wear it to work, so I ruled out spaghetti straps, and I didn't want something too loose or flowy - the fabric has a nice body and wouldn't really work as well with a flowy shape anyway.
I actually looked at a lot of dresses online, hoping to pinpoint what I really wanted, and thinking I would know it when I saw it, which didn't totally happen. Eventually though, i decided it would have a v-neck and some sort of a mock-wrap bodice - I couldn't do a real wrap since I didn't have enough fabric.
For the pattern, I decided to go with pattern 108 from April 2010 of Burda magazine, which matched my idea of faux-wrap with the under-bust seam. The main design detail on that pattern are the pleats, which I removed completely by taping them out on the pattern piece. The pattern starts with size 38, so I had to grade down to a size 36.
For fit alterations, I did my usual:
-Sway back alteration
-forward shoulders adjustment
-back shoulder dart to prevent armhole gaping
-took in at the the center back seem
-lowered bust dart by 1.5 cm
For design changes I:
-left out the sleeves and didn't add seam allowance on the armholes, so that the shoulders would end up a bit narrower.
- designed a low neckline in the back.
I wanted it to be a fast and simple project, aka, no muslin. I've been using the swedish-type tracing paper, which is great for pattern fitting, since it doesn't tear. I was able to check the fit by pinning the pattern pieces together and putting them on, and it was actual quite good right off the bat.
I didn't have to adjust the bust length as I often do, and I didn't need a small bust alteration either. There were actually some pulling lines under the bust, which I managed to get rid of by lowering the bust darts about 1.5 cm.
I cut the fabric and basted all the piece together to check the fit in the fabric. The fit of the front was actually very good, if only a little loose, but I was ok with it.
I decided though that I wanted the neckline a little lower, so i recut it.
Then I proceeded to sew the garment for good.
Unfortunately, once all sewn back up, i realized the neckline was now massively gaping on the right side. Not sure what happened, I cut both side symmetrically, or so I thought, but somehow something went wrong. To fix that I had to slip the left bust piece to hit higher on the righ side, to get rid of the gapping. This meant I had to take in a good 2cm on the left side below the bust seam, tapering down to nothing at the hem, to accomodate for the now offset pieces.
In the end, the fix worked. The dress is slightly more fitted than I originally intended, which is actually fine as I can wear it without a belt. It does mean that the main front piece is now technically a little off-grain, so i guess the side seam could start turning after I wash it a few times. This is a pretty sturdy cotton fabric with no stretch though, so I'm hoping it won't happen.
The neckline ended up slightly off (the point of the V is not quite centered), but it's not too noticeable.
I did french seams on the inside and finished the neckline and armhole with bias tape and top stitching - I'm actually quite pleased with my finishing of the neckline point, it's very neat.
In the end, I'm very happy with this dress, it's pretty much what I had in mind (even though I wasn't quite sure what I had in mind). the faux wrap is barely visible (but I know it's there! )
I made sure to complete this dress just before flying to Montreal for a long week-end at the end of August, as I knew Vancouver weather was already getting too cool, and that week-end might be one of the last opportunities to wear it before fall came.
These photos were in fact taken last tuesday on what seems to have been the very last day of summer, as the rain has now started to fall on Vancouver.