Thanks for the comments on my last post - there were lots of helpful tips to help improve the dress and many thoughts about the state of sewing magazines. The fact that there is so little decent published editorial (other than apparently Threads, which I must track down) does reinvigorate me to blog more. I'm no expert but I love sharing my opinions with others who are interested in sewing and reading about others' sewing experiences, and being inspired by their style, fabric, and pattern choices! Another thing that does get my creative juices flowing is listening to podcasts, so at least in this area there is a wealth of sewing-related audio content - I particularly enjoy Love to Sew and have just begun listening to Dressed. Any other recommendations - let me know!
Anyway on to my latest make. This dress is inspired by attempts to use up vintage fabric in my stash - this piece is from the '80s I expect. I'm not sure of the fibre content but would hazard a guess that it's a cotton/viscose blend because of its softness and drape. I'd had a 70s-style wrap dress in mind for it for ages, but it's a really narrow piece - only 90cm across - so didn't work with a lot of patterns I have.
In the end I decided I wanted something easy-fitting and turned to my collection of Japanese pattern books because Japanese fabrics are usually quite narrow, and I just about managed to eke out the Tucked Dress from Clean and Natural in the largest size. I love the sample image and would love to try one one in chambray one day - with the turban too of course!
Technically I shouldn't have fit this (silly me for not checking the sizing charts before buying - Japanese bookshops are very seductive) as the largest size is for a 35" bust and I'm usually 38.5 or 39"! The hips were OK but the largest waist size was an inch smaller too. Luckily this dress style has plenty of design ease so I knew the waist wouldn't be a problem, but I was a little worried about the bust still. I consoled myself with the thought that I'm trying out using patterns sized with the high bust measurement at the moment and 35" works for this, so I could always do an FBA if needed.
As there are no darts in this style, just the waist tucks, I decided that instead of making a simple pull-on dress I would add a centre-back zip in case having a chest 4" larger than intended made the dress difficult to get on. A quick try-on of my traced pieces showed I should be able to wear the dress without any pulling, so I just went ahead with the straight size with the addition of the zip.
Next time actually I wouldn't bother with the zip, as it turns out I can get it on without needing it after all (should have tested that at basting stage!). Plus my centred zip just isn't very good - unfortunately the zipper pull keeps wanting to peek through, and the folds of fabric on either side are a little wobbly in places! Not hugely noticeable though and it's all good technique practice in a relatively low-stakes make. A couple of weeks ago Amy of Almond Rock mentioned that she finds centred zips tricky to get neat as well, so at least I know I'm in good company!
I didn't make any other changes to the dress, although I considered shortening it. I'm quite enjoying floating around at this length - my friend told me I looked very 'Abigail's Party' in it which I'm taking as a compliment, plus it makes it different enough from my autumnal Anna dress.
I enjoyed making this - I mentioned in my last post finding the La Maison Victor translated instructions a bit frustrating. With this dress I only translated the text that identified pattern pieces - as the illustrations are so good and the construction so simple I gave myself the freedom to just do whatever made the most sense to me, which was great!
I did an efficiency drive and after stay-stitching where needed sewed up all the pieces separately before pressing and overlocking them all, and only piecing them together at the end, rather than the usual 'working in units' approach. It seemed to work - although I do wish I'd ease-stitched the sleeve caps when inserting in the round as there were a couple of puckers I could have avoided. My only other annoyance is using interfacing around the neckline which is a too heavy for the fluidity of the fabric, but hopefully it'll soften up in the wash.
Having this lovely autumnal dress has made me want to make more dresses after a bit of a separates drive this year (many of which still need to be blogged). I was planning to make the Persephone Pants next in the queue but am also loving all the dramatic bishop-sleeved '70s maxi dresses out there at the moment and feeling like I want a piece of the action! I'm drowning in inspiration at the moment but without much time to take action - I'm seriously considering booking a 'sewcation' so I can get down to making my seasonal sewing plans come true and finally sew up the merino jersey I've been hoarding...
How are your seasonal sewing plans going? More podcast recommendations welcome!