Well, it’s a bit belated, really, since the dress was “revealed” at a party two weeks ago, but I don’t have any pictures ready from that night (I’m working on it!), and it’s taken until now for me to find time to borrow The Boy to take a couple shots of my dress. But! That time has come!
Okay, now onto what I’m sure you’re thinking: I know — I know! — the dress pattern is not the same as a nurse’s uniform. I know. The thing is, it was my party, and I didn’t really want to wear a uniform; they’re kind of frumpy, and unflattering, and I wanted something a little more fun. I also really wanted to make this pattern anyway (ahem in a non-white fabric, eventually), so I figured this would be a good trial run (a sort of uber-muslin, I guess) that would also give me an era-appropriate dress as well. Best of both worlds!
Also: please excuse the hideous pink clogs. I needed something for the muddy outdoors, and figured they’d clash less than my boots.
So, things that I definitely would change about the dress if I were making it for myself in a non-costume way:
- No enormous patch pockets! I do love Casey’s side-seam pockets though, and will probably incorporate those into my next version.
- No hideous buttons down the front! I actually love all the finished dresses that use a brooch to close up the front. While I would likely just tack the front closed, I would definitely wear the dress with a showy brooch as well. (Removable, though, in case I decide to wear knotted beads one day!)
- Elbow-length sleeves. It almost killed me, making those full-length sleeves with fake cuffs. I hate long sleeves!
- Rather than just shorten the bodice, also narrow the waistband piece. I’m short-waisted, and taking out so much of the front-bodice just makes the whole dress look out of proportion on me — taking the waistband down an inch or so would help the dress to look the way it should.
- Maybe, just maybe, longer ties at the back. Possibly my fashion sense is overly influenced by all the anime from my formative years, but I always think if you’re going to have a bow at the back of a dress or skirt, have enough tie to make it an awesome one.
Other than that, though, I love pretty much everything about the dress. The length (although it took me a couple tries) is perfect, and the fit in general is pretty flattering (especially when it’s not in horrible white polyester!).
Things I learned while making the dress:
- To really pay attention to right and wrong sides. Not sure if it’s visible in the photo, but there is still — despite a run through the wash to get out Cheetoh stains — a red chalk line right down the front between the buttons. Yes, I could have ripped out when I’d noticed my mistake but by that point, I was thoroughly frustrated from fighting with the measurement changes from the muslin, I just let it slide. Embarrassing!
- A new zipper closure I really wish I’d seen before I put mine (invisible) in. Although I do love the invisible zipper, I really like the tidiness of the placket, and am looking forward to trying it!
- That sewing-sizing is not the same as knitting-sizing. Don’t ask me what possessed me to actually put zero ease in some places, but the result was… well, let’s just say that although the dress fits perfectly, I can’t get into (or out of) it without assistance.
- Part of that could also be my zipper placement. A little too low on the hip, when a little more give in the waist area would have been helpful. Things to think of next time!
- That despite my laziness, a muslin is undeniably a good thing. There were plenty of tips and tricks as to guessing sizing, and how to modify based on your own measurements, but all the best math in the world on paper doesn’t necessarily translate into a good fit once the fabric’s sewn up. I don’t know that I’d make muslins for everything I sew in the future, but for any dresses or fitted blouses, I’m pretty sure I’ve now been convinced they’re worth the work.
- How to underline in a really tidy way — something I’m almost sure to use, as a lot of the fabric I like tends to be a bit on the sheer side.
- And lastly… this sew-along taught me that sewing isn’t as scary as I sometimes make it out to be in my head. Yes, there were parts that were frustrating, and yes, there was ripping and re-doing, and yes, there are parts that still aren’t great (little puckers and uneven gathering; see below) but… I still made a dress! By myself! That fits!
The tricky shoulder. Definitely need more practice there, as that neckline isn’t right at all, and my sleeves could be tidier too. Still, it was really rewarding to take on a project that was definitely more involved than my usual, something that I would never normally think of as something that I could do. Go me!
(Having said that, I am definitely starting from scratch and making a muslin again when I do this again. The dress fits better than I was expecting, but there are a lot of places where I can see room for improvement.)
And… that’s it! My thanks to Casey, for hosting this sew-along! I’d never participated in one before, but am now definitely inspired to check them out. Casey’s guidance for the tricky parts, and her emphasis on customization and personalization of the dress were fantastic — without her help, I’m not sure I would have understood those shoulders at all! — and gave me some pretty good ideas for improving fit of pretty much any pattern (not just this one). Thank you, Casey!
So that’s it for now. Expect follow-up posts about the party (I wasn’t the only one in costume!) and eventually one for the “real” dress I make from the pattern.