Yet another year and so now it is time to make a new dress. I would use the Vogue 8577 that I have made in the past, both in its original form and also ‘hacked’
As the last time I made the dress was “pre-lockdown weight gain” I re-drafted the bodice and added some extra to the side seams for ‘ease’.
Having made up a toile in calico I reduced the amount of gathers into the front yoke and relocated the fullness into the waist dart. I had previously raised the centre front neckline and I kept this on the new bodice pattern as I feel more comfortable with that neckline. The bodice would be self-lined with the printed viscose and I planned to add pockets in the skirt. I decided to copy the design of pockets from Simplicity 8910. I would make a decision regarding a lining for the skirt as the construction progressed.
This year’s dress would be made in a bold abstract floral print viscose bought from The Textile Centre. I bought 4 metres at £5.99/metre so total cost of £26.76 excluding p&p.
The Textile Centre described the fabric as – “It has a stunning floral print in a fire inspired colourway. This 100% spun viscose is a lightweight spun viscose dress fabric which is heavier and more opaque than our usual spun viscose. Viscose/Rayon is a semi man made fibre, so is prone to shrinkage, wash before cutting on a cool 30° temp. “
So with my plans all set, I began by cutting out the two sets of bodice pieces, front bodices, yokes and back bodices. I found that I could not use the skirt lining pattern pieces from Vogue 8577 so instead reverted to my TNT of the Penny by Sew Over It skirt pattern, cut into 4 panels which would also help in setting side seam pockets.
This fabric was very slippery and was a real pain to try and control whilst cutting out. In the end what I had to do was to spray starch each cut out piece then replace the pattern and re-cut to size.
I stated to sew the bodice together and at fitting discovered that the top was miles too big. I need not have enlarged the pattern at all. I enlarged the darts and took in both bodice and lining at the side seams. Now it was a little better but nowhere near what I had planned.
Onto the skirt which bearing in mind the bias seams, I should have constructed first to allow time for the bias to drop. Whatever – onwards! I added the pockets as per the ones used in the previous Simplicity 8910, forgetting that these are drafted to be set into a dress that has a raised empire line seam – thus the pockets sat far too low. At this time I discovered that I had French seamed the centre front of the skirt so that the dress could no longer be button through from bodice to skirt.
Having allowed a couple of days for the bias to drop I found that the side seams had dropped a good 2 inches. As the hemline itself was beautifully level I overlocked and turned up a narrow hem having decided to adjust the level at the waistline. I machine basted a new waistline and trimmed away the excess. This had the added advantage of raising those set-too-low-down pockets!
I attached the amended skirt to the waistline only to discover that the waistline of the bodice had also dropped and was now a good 1 inch below my natural waist. I re-stitched the skirt to the bodice by taking a wider seam allowance and then overlocked the seam to neaten. . The skirt was now a relatively short length of just 26 inches – well above my desired length.
By now we are well past my birthday and you may have guessed that I am thoroughly disenchanted with the dress. Even as I write this post, the bias of the skirt is continuing to drop. It fits only where it touches and will probably be donated very soon to a charity shop. Meantime, as a last resort I plan to make an obi-style commerbund/belt which will, I hope, cover up the waistline and turn a ‘disaster’ into a feature!
Project #42 completed 5thJuly 2020