On to the next Four Projects in Four Days! You got a peek at this one in my NYC photos and Cidell took the most fantastic photo of it at the Garment District button, so I figured I should share.
But first, several people asked in comments to the S2724 Project Runway Shirtdress whether I had done prep work like tracing and altering patterns before the Four Projects in Four Days. I always pre-wash my fabric as soon as I get it home so that it's available the instant inspiration strikes, but other than that--nope. I would get up in the morning, trace or cut out the pattern, do any alterations needed, cut, and sew. Some of the projects (like the shirtdress) were long days, others I was able to squeeze in a social event as well. The only exception is that I did not necessarily finish all the hand sewing on the day I made the dress. I think I did the hand-sewing on this one the day of, but I know I didn't finish the hand-sewing on the lace dress (yet to be unveiled) until the next day.
So, here it is!
Butterick 5243 is one of the many Big 3 patterns (Vogue is not so bad on this) that suffers from a terrible pattern illustration. That muddy purple-brown doesn't show any of the fantastic details that are easily evident on the line drawing, aside from just not being an interesting color. And the animal print for the long sleeves is looking a little dated, in my opinion. After seeing the RTW version of the (in)famous Maggy London twist dress, B4789 on a friend (complete with horrible wad of fabric under the twist) I realized the fabric on the pattern photo is what was used in the RTW version. It would be a shame if she produced the RTW version of this dress only in that ugly purple!
The fabric for this project is another of the ITY polyester prints I got from Fashion Fabrics Club last June for $4.75/yd. I absolutely love it--the colors, the Pucci-esque print, and the drape. I ordered five of these prints; I've used four of them. I would say I wish I ordered more, but I'm pretty sure I did order all the ones I liked and they had already sold out of several of them. However, you can see that the knit print I bought from Kashi has replenished my stash with this style to sew next year.
This was a straightforward project to sew. I don't have trouble with the Big 4 armscye in knits, so I didn't have to worry about that. The only alteration I made was an SBA, narrowing the width of the bodice to reduce the amount of gathering.
To prevent gape of the surplice neckline, I twin-needled over clear elastic, slightly easing the fabric into the elastic. But in the end I think I could have left it out. The neckline distance is fairly short and I don't think there would be a danger of sag or gape. But I had so much rather be safe than sorry!
I narrowed the width of the sleeves to accommodate my somewhat limited fabric, but they still have plenty of flow. I ended up taking about 2 inches out of the width. To get a nice hem in the sleeves, I fused strips of (non-stretch) interfacing around the edge and then turned under and twin needled. I didn't have any trouble with skipped stitches or tunneling. I did not fuse the hem, but had no trouble with skipped stitches or tunneling in it, either. I've had mixed results with this ITY; on my pink dress there are skipped stitches galore in the hem. (also, I think my twin needle needs to be replaced).
I also shortened skirt 1.5 inches in cutting, and this turned out to be pretty much perfect.
I feared that the yoke situation would get lost in my busy print, so I wanted to do something to emphasize it. I wasn't entirely sold on piping the seam, so I didn't want to sew it in and commit. Instead, I made a tube of the fabric (leftover slinky from my mom's outfit). I slipped the ends into the stich-in-the-ditch at the yoke (holding the yoke facing in place) while sewing by machine, and then hand-stitched it in place along the seam. I like it, and definitely like that it emphasizes the yoke seam, but I'm glad that I can remove it if I get sick of it.
This is yet another great knit dress for travel. I think from now on I will travel only with knit dresses. You can toss them in a suitcase any which way, they look great, and you can wash them in the sink with shampoo or bar soap and they dry overnight. Perfect!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
My experience with the B4789 twist dress notwithstanding, I am a big fan of the Maggy London patterns. I love my blue silk burnout velvet B4657, which I wore in pretty much the best photo ever taken of me, and I made another Maggy London as one of the Four Projects in Four Days that is TDF. I'm going to pay more attention to her label in the pattern books.