This one had been on my project list since June so as soon as it was conceivably early enough to start Spring sewing, it went to the top of the pile. It was so perfect for Miami that I had to get it done for the trip!
I love that the pattern has both a halter and a sleeve variation, but the dress is otherwise the same. It's unusual to find an evening dress and a day dress with the same lines. It sort of glams up the day dress, to my mind.
I started where I always start, with an SBA. I pulled out some of the gather width based on my tissue fit. In the end, I think it wouldn't have been so bad had I made it as drafted and it takes away a little of the shape, but the horror of having a baggy, saggy bust on a dress often leads me to the more extreme end of SBA. I considered, rejected, but later realized I should have slightly shortened the V neck distance, which is a usual part of my SBA arsenal.
I also used my usual invisible zipper insertion technique: Start by sewing one half of the zip in by machine. Then zip it up and carefully pin in place on the other side, matching lower midriff seam and marking bottom of sewn line. Hand baste a few inches in either side of midriff seam, then hand baste remaining length of zipper. (Sometimes I get lazy here and don't hand baste the remaining length; the important thing is to get the midriff/waist/whatever seams to line up exactly on both halves of the zipper.) Then sew in by machine. This gives excellent results. To my mind, there is really no need to hand baste both halves of the zipper.
I lined the skirt, which was not called for by the pattern. I decided to hem it by sewing the fashion fabric to the lining so it would have a nice invisible hem. When I pinned it in place, I found that it created a cute bubble-type hem so I decided to keep that effect rather than press it down.
I had stitched the bodice and midriff lining to the zipper, but left the lining free at the bottom of the zipper. This pic also shows that I pleated, rather than gathered, the skirt lining to reduce bulk. To sew the hem, I pulled the lower edges of the skirt through the hole between the lining and the zipper and stitched together.
Ok, the real truth is that I first pulled the skirt over the bodice and the lining up through the bodice and sewed together that way. This created a Moebius Strip that could not be worn by a human-shaped person. I had to unpick it and then figure out that I needed to pull the lower edges through the zipper opening. I should have thought to sew a layer or two of tulle there to keep the hem from flattening out, but so far it's still poofy.
I loooove this dress. It is so retro fantasy. My only disappointment--and really, that's a strong word--with this pattern is that the midriff cannot be piped or made in a contrast fabric. It's obvious if you look at the line drawings but my 2D mind did not grasp it until I was making it. The front midriff is an upside down V and the back midriff is a V. So the top edges of the midriffs are offset at the side seam by about 3 inches (higher in the back, lower in the front), and I think it would just not be pleasing to the eye to have the contrast or piping offset like that.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Gretchen the Household Deity