This dress was a monumental surprise to me. I set out to make it with only two goals in mind: to test the pattern for a special silk and to stash bust. The initial vision in my head seemed exciting enough, but as soon as I started sewing the dress, everything seemed off kilter. The bodice length looked too short, the skirt too bleh, the length in nowhere zone, the fabric synthetic… I even started writing this post in that same vein of negativity. Weeeeeell….that was before I started taking photos!
So let’s talk specifics now. The little birdy polyester from Spotlight was left over from another dress last summer. It’s cute, but synthetic and y’all know how I feel about synthetic! For the lining, I used a couple of sneaky remnants from Tessuti, some acetate for the top and bit of slinky polyester for the skirt lining. Yep, this baby is fully lined! Ironically, the lining is of a noticeably better quality than the outside birdy print, but to me, this improves the overall likeability of the dress because it just feels so lovely to wear.
I was at a bit of a loss for which fabric to use for the contrast and facing. I didn’t have anything appropriate in my stash, except for several very small lengths of vintage kimono (of unknown composition). Asthetically, I don’t mind the sleeve mismatch because I now how unique and special vintage kimono is, but the heavier hand of these remnants affects the way the cuffed sleeves sit, which I am not too fond of.
The one mistake I made in this dress was to not correctly ease the sleeves into the armscye. I left some gathers in the little sleeves when I sewed them on (they are like sci fi cap sleeves before you fold them over and perfectly wearable that way too). I forgot that I would be folding the sleeves over to form cuffs, so my cuff edges are a little puffy and unsightly.
The pattern I used was Vogue 1344 and I didn’t make any major alterations. My changes were:
- Increased the skirt (and lining) length by 2.5 inches. This dress is designed to be short!
- Tightened the elastic waistband by a couple of inches to fit my own waist. I would suggest ignoring the elastic guide in the pattern. It just doesn’t make sense to follow it when you can easily measure your own waist to fit. The dress needs to sit snugly at the waist.
- Used heavier fabric for the facing and sleeves. This worked beautifully for the facing (I just compensated by using a lighter weight fusible interfacing), but I’d recommend sticking to lightweight fabric for the whole dress. In my opinion, anything heavier than crepe de chine will look bulky and unflattering in this dress. The polyester I used is light, but it definitely has a less fluid hand than silk and doesn’t look as good for this reason.
I have to admit that up until I took my first Instagram of the dress on a hanger, I was unsure whether I liked it. This was even after having tried it on completed. I think I like it now, but I’m not sure that I love it. I have to admit that the dress looks a lot better on than when draped over the sewing table in various stages of construction. A few years ago, I would have ditched this project half-sewn, so for me, it’s a good reminder to keep the faith until the clothes are actually on the body!