As the title of this post indicates, I am on the fence with this one. The fabric I used is a stretch cotton poplin, and poplin is one of the fabrics suggested along with lightweight linen and silk duppioni. However it is a bit stiff, which is good for the pleated skirt but doesn't allow the soft pleats in the bodice front to behave as I would like. However it is the design that really bugged me, and by that I don't mean the fit, which was suprisingly good for the most part and needed only slight adjustments. Well, slight to me, you might think I did a lot.
Here is where I started, with a muslin! yes, for a change. Because I pinned the pattern pieces together just to check where the waistline hit and noticed something odd right away. The small (and annoyingly unnecessary bust darts were way too high) which is not a problem I ever have. In the image on the right you can see where I have used a marking pen so they show. Plus small darts in a princess seam, can create a point where you don't want a point! So I decided to lower them, using the slash method and you can see I wielded the scissors while looking in the mirror, thus the shaky looking slice but it worked. About 3/4" was added and tapered out at the side seam. This did serve to make the bodice too big around but that was fixed in a later step.
Once I sewed up the bodice I needed to take out some of the extra fabric now in the princess seam. It looks like I took out about an extra 1/4" on the stitching line which makes 1" around the garment. For interfacing the pattern included a piece for the neckline, I used silk organza which was just right. Fusible doesn't work with those neckline pleats.
For construction order I used my tried and true method of bodice first, shoulder seams, baste the side seams, baste in the zipper and check the fit. The back is always too wide for me, when I start with a Vogue size 12 so I always have to take in at the zipper, here about 1.25 inches on either side of the zipper tapering to nothing at the waist. I leave the zipper unstitched about an inch from the waist edge which allows me to add the skirt pieces later and then finish putting in the zipper. This may seem like a lot of work but really it is only one more step and the bodice is where most of the fitting issues seem to happen for most people.
There were some drag lines on the back bodice even after this zipper adjustment and I extended the back darts a little bit. Red pin is original length and then yellow pin is the extension, a tiny adjustment but it made a nice difference.
Here you can see the lining sewn in, up to about 2 inches from the shoulder seam, but the side seams are not closed. This may seem convoluted but it really allows you to fit on the fly.
- love the skirt, could make it as a stand-alone item. Especially how the pleats go all around in the same direction.
- the waist seam is about 1 inch above the actual waist, with the pleating I think this is very flattering.
- The neckline shape in front and back are pretty, especially in the back.
Not so much:
- The shoulders really bug me, I think they are too chunky and against my better judgement I did not narrow them. Which I ordinarily would but I thought, hey, just this once, make the pattern as designed.
- That darn bodice front dart. Totally unnecessary in a princess seam. I would smoosh it out if I was to make this again, which I am not.
- Fabric suggestions, I think in a soft cotton lawn or voile with a lightweight cotton lining it would be very nice, the bodice pleats would be softer and the skirt a bit more flowy. I understand the silk duppioni but I warn against that strongly unless you are really comfortable with that fabric plus marking a lot of pleats etc.
- Try a print, which can hide a multitude of issues. I kind of wish I had made it in a print but since I have so many print dresses I thought of this for a change, and I do like this color.
See what I mean, look at those wide shoulder sections. Mentally doing alteration as I write this...put it on my to do list. This photo is a "run outside for 10 minutes and take a picture because it is 102 in the shade." I will not be wearing my new blue dress for the 4th of July barbeque. Something else in the works for that.
And another Vogue teaser for you, DKNY pattern V1351 is just about finished, and I declare it a winner.
Hope everyone is staying cool if possible and now I need to run out and give the tomato plants another watering. Here are some gladioli that I photographed before they wilted in this heat.
Happy sewing, Beth