So I finally got the chance to make my favorite dress from Feminine Wardrobe, a cute dress book I bought in the spring. If you follow the link in the book title you'll see that this is the dress on the cover, and the reason I bought the book!
My cousin had a wedding coming up and thanks to babies I had exactly one dress nice enough to wear. I have managed to get away with this because all of the weddings I have been to since then have coincidentally been for different family and friend groups, so no one except my husband has seen it repeat. This side of the family was the only group not to have seen the dress yet, so I technically could have gotten away with it but the whole traveling dress thing was just getting pathetic. Then I wandered into Fabricland for some thread, (a very dangerous pastime) and they just happened to be having their seasonal clear out... Well wonderfully soft rose coloured satin for 3$ a meter is clearly a sign that it's time to do some sewing for Mama!
I found the instructions pretty clear, though some were on a different page because similar patterns are grouped. The only weird thing about the pattern is that the grain line on the sleeves is one way on the pattern and the other in the instructions. (Unless I traced something wrong but I didn't investigate this further since I didn't have enough fabric to do it the other way!)
This is actually the first time I have ever made a real muslin. I make wearable muslin's all of the time but I sew with such inexpensive fabrics that it doesn't usually matter. This time I knew that if I screwed it up I didn't have backup fabric, and I was less sure than usual about how the dress would end up fitting. I'm glad I did because I sewed the pleats in backwards! That would have sucked to try and pick out of the satin.
The book does their designs in three's, three variations on a basic pattern. The other two don't have the bow and this shot gives an idea of how that would look. I have definite plans to make the other variations some day! My only question is what do I do with the stupid muslin now that I'm done with it?
So actually sewing the dress went fairly smoothly. I unfortunately had to marathon it in one looong sewing session the night before we left. The only thing I changed was to hem the bottom by machine instead of blind stitching it by hand like the instructions suggest. It was so worth it though, I'm so proud of this dress! I love the bow, I love the colour, and I love that the hemline's not a foot shorter than I'm comfortable with like everything in the stores!
I will admit that despite my list of loves there were a few cons. Having bigger boobs than the model on the book cover meant that the bow sat differently on my dress. On her it's almost like a short bodice, on me more like a collar detail. This is common with larger sizes though, to just widen the smallest size without adjusting length or rise. I also need a slip next time, the material was a bit static-y, but that's my material choice not the pattern.
My final pitfall was self inflicted. I traced my pattern markings in that blue wipe off marker. In the past it has always just rubbed off with a damp cloth. The above pictures were taken after doing that but when I unpacked my suitcase, they were back. I wiped again. They disappeared when wet and came back all smudgy when dry. Uh-oh. Google assured me they would wash out in the machine but that didn't help me that afternoon. Hair camouflage to the rescue!
This picture's really here for my Mom. I had her take a few pictures of the dress outside of the church. It bothered her that I asked for one without my head, so here's a close-up just for her. Sorry Mom, I don't regret the head-less picture though. I'm making stupid faces in the other two full length photo's :P
I'm do glad I took the time to sew something nice for me though. I shy away from that because it just takes so much longer and sewing time with little's around is pretty limited. Also the fabric issue. My stash is full of small odds and ends and things to refashion with just enough material for a kid-sized something. I will remedy this though! I have bought a couple of pieces of grownup sized fabric with big the plan of updating my wardrobe this fall. It needs it desperately, but this is also Christmas present season so we'll see what actually happens!