This dress, BWOF 07-2008-107, hadn't really caught my eye in the magazine. The voluminous tunic is not really something in my style lexicon, I think because of my height I worry it won't suit me. But several people have made several cute versions and when I saw the one Christina made recently it pushed me over the edge. I absolutely loved her hem trim on the dress version. When I visited Anthropologie in Miami, I was really drawn to their use of embellishment and trims. I love them in theory, but rarely find a way to incorporate them into my garments. I always fear that it will be too cloyingly girly. But a lace trim on a simpler, edgier, less girly garment really works. And since I really can't figure out how to use trim on my own, I had to completely copy Christina. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
I bought the blue print fabric last July as a remnant at G Streetf for $3. It's a lovely, airy lightweight cotton woven and the print is perfect--graphic and bright but very on trend. I had thought to make it out of Simplicity 4589 with a white contrast yoke (from the G Street $2.97 table, of course), which I made several years ago, but just wasn't enthused about the pattern. Then when I saw Christina's dress, a light bulb went off and I knew it was destined to be this pattern.
The first step was to grade this down two sizes at the top, from a 38 to a 34. I haven't done that before and found it more difficult than grading down one size. Now, this would probably be remediated if I were more precise and used a ruler instead of eyeballing, but I'm pretty good at eyeballing and the final fit is good. It's good that I have this experience because there are very few pieces in the May 2009 BWOF that start at a 36 (and almost none at a 34).
I needed to fully line this garment because the blue was rather sheer and lining seemed the easiest way to finish the yoke. Christina and others observed that this doesn't really need the back zip (it pays to take almost a year to get to an issue!) but I kept the center back seam on the yoke so that I could attach the lining to the fashion fabric at the neck and armscye edges by machine with no hand sewing, as I did for the Tracy Reese Dress and, with illustrative photos, Vogue 8386.
Sew the shoulder seams of the fashion and lining fabrics, leaving the side seams and center back seam unsewn. Place right sides together and stitch the neck and armscyes seams. Turn right side out, and then sew the side and back seams of fashion and lining each all at once, stopping at the seam line for the dress part. Works a charm, easy, and creates a really nice finish.
Once the yoke was completed and turned, I sewed the front and back of the dress to the yoke and lining. This is why it's important to stop your side and back seams on the finished yoke at the seam line. I eliminated the back seam on the dress, so I couldn't sew the dress to the yoke before turning. Then sew the side seams of your dress and lining. As you can see, this creates a nice clean finish on the inside.
I was pretty sure I wanted to use the white lace, but I pinned it on before just to make sure. I didn't want to cut the length off until I was certain I'd use it, so I just flung the long tail of the lace over my shoulder to get it out of the way. And what a lucky accident, because I saw that it looked so cute hanging off the sleeve! I really love the extended drop shoulder sleeve shape the wide lace creates. I was thrilled to have my serger for this project, because it was the perfect way to trim the lace to length and keep it from raveling.
As I presumed when I first saw the pattern, I don't think that the unbelted style really suits. It's hard for a pear to wear this shape, because it doesn't take advantage of a smaller top and does nothing to hide larger hips. Although you lose the trendy shape with a belt, I think it's a much more flattering look for me. And the belt is so perfect for it! I got it at the Target girl's department with Cidell a couple of years ago and I'm not sure I'd ever worn it before I finished this dress. This reinforcing of my pack rat, doesn't like to get rid of anything tendency is bad! But I'm glad I kept the belt around.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.