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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

End of Summer Dress

It was hardly worth it: we were about to have 5 days of very nice/hot weather (around 30C/86F) and on the first day, I realized I really wanted to have a light, fluttery dress that would come closest to wearing nothing without revealing everything. And I knew what fabric I wanted to use. I had thought of saving it for next year, but I really wanted to use it now. I tossed the longsleeve I was making aside, and started drafting. Ideas for garments don't come suddenly, they sort of simmer in my head for a while until the picture is complete. This was the basis for the picture of this dress.

It's the same fabric I used for my first loopscarf, I'm guessing a light cotton. I had heard about the stretching of fabric at the place where it's cut on the bias, and as you can see now have first hand experience with this phenomenon. Cutting on the bias is unavoidable with circle skirts, and this fabric is one that you should let hang for a day before you hem, apparently. Or should you always hang circle skirts before hemming? Anyway, the uneven (but symmetrical) hem is not something that bothers me a great deal, but the idea of redoing it is not off the table yet.

I was afraid I'd have to line it, but fortunately it's not that transparent. To keep it as light and airy as possible I used my pinking shears as a seam finish. I didn't think of using my serger until after finishing! I made a muslin of the bodice to see if my pattern would work. Then I read some things about darts and tried to figure out how to incorporate them into the pattern. I wanted it to be sort of fitted from the bust down so it would smoothly continue into the half circle skirt. I figured I needed two vertical darts to get a nice fit. I didn't seem to need bust or armhole darts at that point. Maybe because the unbleached cotton I used is everything but fluttery and I didn't make a complete bodice muslin.

I was a bit surprised at my own math skills when it turned out the bodice and skirt lined up perfectly! It shouldn't be that complicated, but when you don't have a tutorial there's always the chance you're overlooking something. When I had sewn up the complete dress, it turned out I did need armhole darts. So now there's four darts in the bodice, and it fits really well around the armholes and bust. The only thing is that the waistline should have been, well, at my waist. When I had just sewn it, it was half an inch below and I decided I could live with that. Partly because I didn't want to redo the blind zipper :). But now it has stretched to an inch. Maybe I could make some beltloops and use a belt to keep it at my waist. Those are the cons of fluttery fabric, I guess! What do you think, would you shorten the bodice and redo zipper?

This is the bodice pattern I ended up with, including armhole darts and a shortened waist for next time. I am quite happy with the dress, despite the shortcomings. It served it's purpose as a fluttery summer dress for what were probably the last two days of real summer. But I've already spied a dark green knit fabric to make a cardigan that goes with it so I can keep wearing it!

(15:60 #10 - 5 projects, 10 days to go!)


  1. very pretty :) yeah, anytime something is cut on the bias you need to let it hang up for 24 hours before hemming to let the fabric settle.

    1. Thanks! Hm, this 24-hour delay makes circle skirts less quick and easy then I thought. Bummer!

  2. It's SO CUTE! We've actually had something resembling a summer up here this year, and I've been wearing nothing but fluttery sundresses... so nice. I definitely see the appeal, and it's the perfect use for that fabric. :)

    1) Circle skirts ALWAYS need to be hung before hemming. I, too, "knew" this and have ignored it several times, and it's always been an issue, regardless of fabric. :)

    2) I could see from the photos that the waist seemed a bit low, but I wasn't sure if it was intentional or not. For me, I would want to redo it---but having a short waist, it's one of my sore spots. I don't think most people would really notice... (I'm similarly paranoid about my sleeves and pants being long enough...) And I totally get not wanting to unpick the zipper. One of the dresses I made last summer didn't get worn at all this summer because I need to unpick the skirt (including zipper) and re-fit it. Have I done it? /sigh...

    1. I'll keep that in mind! I almost never fix a project after finishing. I always think 'I'll do that later' but then I never do. But I think I'm going to re-do the waistline after all. I mean, it's probably only half an hour work, right? If half an hour could make me feel better about the fit, it's worth it!


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