Normally I’m not the type to try to copy a look from a store, or to make a muslin, or to buy fabric with a specific pattern or color scheme in mind. This time, I did all three! I also did it just in time for a couple of really awesome challenges: the Copycat Challenge, the Sew Weekly Reunion and the Fall for Cotton Challenge.
I’m so in love with this dress, I want to make sure I have my facts straight for you guys, so this is going to be a long post. Feel free to scroll through all the pretty pictures…
I also have to thank the archives of the original Sew Weekly. The “Make This Look” section led me to this dress, this pattern, and this fabric way back when I first started sewing. As a total novice, it was really helpful to look at patterns, fabrics, and inspiration all in one place. A few clicks later, I ended up with everything I needed for an awesome dress. And this dress is awesome! It took me a year and a half to actually tackle this project, but that’s another story…
Here’s the inspiration photo:
As you can see, it’s a little bit different than the pattern drawings:
There are knots on the yoke, and at the waist. I attempted to recreate them, and even made a piped belt to go with the dress, but it made it look an awful lot like I was wearing curtains. Not pretty ones, either. So, naturally, I let it hang by my sewing machine for about a month.
Then, a few weeks ago, I put it on without the belt, and changed the knot to a little pleat. Now, it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever made. Stay on the lookout for lots and lots more of this dress. There are so many variations, and want to make them all!
The Pattern: Simplicity 1803. Size 8. I made the sleeveless version with the yoke.
Fabric: I used 2 yards of this beautiful flowery quilting cotton. I was a bit nervous about using quilting cotton to make a dress because it gets such a bad rap, but it was honestly a dream to sew with. The seams pressed beautifully, and I love the slight stiffness that it adds to the skirt.
Notions: Just a blue invisible zip and a hook-and-eye
Pantone Challenge Colors: Koi, in the flowers
Time to Complete: Months? Probably like 10 hours of actual working time, and about a month of hanging on my door time…
First Worn: to dinner with the girls! I got an awesome bento box, if you’re interested…
Wear Again? Yes. And again, and again, and again
Total Cost: Around $35, including the pattern and notions.
Instructions: They actually weren’t that bad! I would say that the sizing is pretty off (typical) so I made a much smaller size than they suggested. Other than that, I had no problems.
What I love most: The fit! I, deep breath, actually made a muslin. It paid off because this dress fits me like a glove. I ended up modifying the pattern bodice a LOT, and if I hadn’t made the muslin this would have been 100% unwearable. Honestly, there is nothing better that a well-fitting garment; it’s the reason I wanted to start sewing my own clothes in the first place.
|Can we just talk about the lack of wrinkles in the back???|
What I would do differently next time: I TOTALLY FORGOT to change the position of the pockets (oh yes, there are pockets! Did I mention that???) so they are really low. Not ridiculously low, but they need to come up another couple of inches for optimal hand-in-pocket placement.
Alterations: So many!
- Shortened the bodice by 2 inches
- 1 inch sway back adjustment
- Shortened the straps 1/2 inch
- Added a lining to the bodice and the skirt
- Pinched 1/2 inch out of each side of the upper back
- Pinched 1/2 inch out of each side of the sweetheart neckline
- Shortened the hem by 6 inches
- Took out about 1/4 inch of fabric just under the bust, on each side
Also, while taking these photos, my lovely roommate and I decided to see what was at the top of the stairs. (I live on the first floor of a 4 story walk-up)
|This is my creepy hallway killer face. You like?|
Our hallway/stairwell kind of looks like the perfect scene for a crime, so I’ve never ventured past my floor.
We walked up the stairs, and found this:
|YES, that is the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building to the right of my head…|
I’ve lived in my building for almost 2 years, and never knew. It’s seriously beautiful up there, and I have a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline. One of the many benefits of living in a city, but not in the middle of the madness.
|Proof I lined my dress 🙂|
Moral? Always go to the top of the stairs. Always.
Oh, and rooftop breezes make full skirts look extra nice…
Are you guys participating in any of the challenges I mentioned? Link up, I’d love to see what you’re up to!