This is what happens when you let your husband pick your fabric.
Actually, I like what he chose. I wouldn’t have put this combo together, but it’s a fun look, and fills a niche in my work wardrobe. I like how the wild, artsy print keeps this somewhat conservative silhouette looking fun and fresh.
The pattern is Vogue 8685, a knit dress with waist panels and yokes, sleeve options, and pencil/full skirt options. I knew I wanted to add a full-skirted dress to my closet. I have, literally, only one full skirt amid an army of pencil skirts. I wore it the other day and loved swishing around in it. I needed more!
I also knew I wanted a knit dress. On a daily basis, they’re just so much easier to wear. Plus, I wanted an easy, fun project and stretch fabrics simply don’t require the precision and tailoring that quality woven garments do. (My despair comes from a work-in-progress pair of lace trousers. The fit is off, they’ve already taken a lot of time and effort, and I don’t think I can fully redeem them. I weep.)
So, patterns in hand, off to Hart’s I went, husband in tow. (I go antique-hunting with him, he comes to the fabric store with me. Marriage equality ftw.) When fabric indecision overtook me, as per usual, he confidently selected the brightest, wackiest print in the joint. I almost went with this amazing dog print, but the white background would’ve required a lining. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up here as a top or something sooner rather than later.
All that backstory to say: this dress was a breeze to make. It took a long time to cut out, because the fabric was way off-grain, being the last on the roll and having gotten a bit twisted over time. So I cut a lot of pieces in single layers, with a lot of swearing. And with the bodice, waist panels, and yoke panels, plus skirt and sleeves, there are *a lot* of pieces for a dress! After that chore was over, it was smooth sailing.
I highly recommend this dress for a quick, easy sew that doesn’t feel boring.
I made the following changes:
*Lengthened the skirt by 2-3 inches
*Shortened the sleeves to elbow length and narrowed them significantly
*Eliminated the back zipper
*Eliminated the topstitching, since it wouldn’t be visible on the dramatic print
Next time, I would plan for ditching the zipper from the start. It might take some creative placement to cut all the back and front pieces on the fold without buying a lot of extra fabric for the full-skirted view. No question on the slim view, though — ditch the zipper and cut the back pieces on a fold if your bust measurement allows.
One other pattern note: the envelope calls for seam binding as a required notion. I couldn’t figure out how it was going to be used, but I got some anyway. Turns out, I didn’t need it, so feel free to skip that purchase if you try this pattern.
Side note: I finally cut the right size from the get-go, a 10. Hallelujah! (I remembered cursing at myself about this in a previous post, so score one for blogging as an extremely labor-intensive memory aid.)
Another size-related side note: Sewing really is the best way to absorb the idea that fit is fact, but size is just a number. I was shopping over the weekend, which I haven’t really done in…. a long, long time. I grabbed all size 6 items, which is what I should reasonably be in RTW, only to find out that vanity sizing makes me closer to a 2. If I’m a 10 in Vogue and a 2 in RTW brands, then I really can’t find a way to interpret size as anything more than a vague guideline, and nothing like a personal judgement. Yay for sewing.
After construction, I was lukewarm on this dress. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of sewing it, but was “meh” on wearing it. After wearing it, I kinda love it. It’s swishy! It’s light! It has full work coverage! Way to rock my weekday world, dress.
Welcome to the closet, my Spousally Endorsed Swishy Dress!