Hey everyone! This week I am showing you a dress that had me TEARING MY HAIRS OUT because I had such a hard time with the fit! Therefore it took me 8 months to finish it because I kept abandoning it, re-trying the sleeves, re-trying the collar, and FINALLY it is finished!
Actually it has been so long since the start that I made an entire skirt of the scraps of this fabric in between start and finish. Yes, I purchased about 5 meters of this green floral stretch cotton because I love the colour and flowers so much. And it was on sale!
I immediately envisioned a wrap dress because the fabric is a bit thicker, yet with a nice drape. I settled on a pattern I had on hand, Dress 9 from Knipmode issue December 2018. The cuffs looked like a really fun detail and this would be the first time for me to create a shawl collar.
I copied the pattern and cut the fabric with 1.5 seam allowance and 3 cm hem allowance on the skirt. I did all my usual modifications (FBA +9.5, back -2, shoulder -2, chest -2).
I made a full-bust adjustment turned into princess seam, which is the best way to made a nice fitted bodice for a full-busted person like me.
The back features two regular darts.
I was stingy with my fabric, so I cut the ties from scraps so they are made up of two pieces each. The pattern is busy enough to hide the additional seams.
Frustration 1: deciding to serge everything for a “quick dress”. Of course the shawl collar features a sharp angle that my machine did not like.
Instead of ripping seams I decided to just sew straight over it! Which resulted in a very weird pucker on one shoulder. I could not fix it without taking the collar off and ironing a piece of interfacing in the hole my serger cut. It’s visible from the outside, but only up close. Still, not a great start to my “quick dress”.
I decided to zigzag the difficult corners instead, especially since deep clipping was involved.
I stitched the center back seams of the shawl collar and collar facing. Then I stitched the collar facing to the collar.
I turned and pressed the collar, then stitched the side seams.
I left an opening in the right side seam for the tie to feed through. I used some seam tape for stability, then topstitched the seam allowance down all around the opening.
Success! I find that wrap dresses with an opening in the side wrap much nicer.
Frustration 2: the sleeves. As you can see the sleeve head is very high and narrow. I machine-basted the gathering stitches shown here.
When fitting the sleeve I had SUCH a hard time. The sleeve kept puckering no matter how much I divided the gathers. I compared the sleeve pattern to another one and it was so big I’d almost say it was a jacket sleeve. After trying to fit the sleeve multiple times I ripped a hole right down the side about 15cm inward. Of course I did not take a picture of this as I was enraged and threw the project in a bin. That was December 2018.
I picked this project back up in May 2019. At this point the top is still very cute even with shorter sleeves. The sleeves went in with very few problems, only a pucker on one of them that I quickly redid. I’m sad I didn’t get to use the fun cuffs, but I will definitely try a version of this dress in the future.
The top also kind of fits me weirdly, because the front flap keeps sliding in between my boobs instead of staying in place. I will hand-stitch a snap button later to address this problem. But this is already problem #3 with this dress!
Debating weather or not to line it, I decided to just make haste and finish it already. I turned the seam allowance inward and stitched it down. The stitching is hardly visible from the outside, so I also topstitched the collar edges and sides of the wrap tie.
The ironic thing is that now that I’m stitching the facing down, I didn’t even need to serge the collar after all!
After a quick fit I decided on a small 2cm hem for the sleeves.
Then I really went on a sewing streak and serged the bodice to the skirt and hemmed the skirt in one go after a quick fit. I also installed a snap button to hold the dress closed and to prevent sagging of the wrap portion of the skirt.
After so many problems I thought it would be hard to enjoy this dress, but it’s actually really beautiful.
Also look at my snazzy labels from Wunderlabel!
The fit is great, even for a rectangular skirt. The waist ties provide the dress with a tailored fit.
Problems and time frame aside, it was not a very difficult dress to sew had I just stuck to the regular machine instead of the serger. Yet I am unhappy with the fit of the bodice and next time I will definitely make a mockup first. Usually I can get by with the usual adjustments to bodice and length, but this dress was a bit more involved that I thought. But I did finish it and that’s what counts, because you can’t learn from a UFO in a bin!
Thanks again for reading!