Another of the Four Projects in Four Days! Ok, so the collar is not technically Elizabethan, but it's got a lot more volume than you normally see.
For a long time I never managed to get my schedule to match up with the Butterick sales at Joann, so I didn't buy any Buttericks for probably a year. Then I finally managed to catch a sale, and stocked up! Among my haul were the Maggy London B5243knit dress I wrote about last week and this one, B5320 also from the Maggy London line, designed by Suzi Chin. I like wrap dresses, and this one had a lot of great features with the flat front and gathered side and back skirts, princess seams in front, and what I thought was a ruffled collar.
The fabric for this dress is...an Ikea sheet! It's the Gaspa sheet and I was completely taken with the color, the weight, the sheen, the hand, everything. These are great for sewing! I bought this last year and washed it when I got home so I don't recall what size it was. I *think* a queen ($14), though possibly a king ($15). I remember being annoyed that they didn't have any twins or fulls, but in the end it turned out to be very fortuitous. This dress takes a huge amount of fabric, and I barely managed to squeeze it out. After making this dress, I bought the pink color the last time I was at Ikea. Unfortunately, they don't have the dark gray at my Ikea because it would be perfect for my kimono dress.
As I said, when I picked up the pattern I thought the collar was just a ruffle. But when I was cutting out the pattern pieces I was confused until I realized that it's a sort of a puffy bubble arrangement. The pattern photo really does not illustrate the drama potential of this collar! I didn't interface the outer collar, and now I wish I had to ensure that it will always remain puffy, as I did with my orchid collar big shirt.
Normally I would shorten a wrap dress between the waist and the shoulder for an SBA but I had no idea how to correspondingly alter the collar so I just had to make it and see what happened. It turned out quite low, but not gapey thank goodness! It's an easy fix to keep it in professional territory, just a hook and eye sewn in place where I wanted the crossover to be.
Because of my limited fabric, and how giant the pockets are, I had to cut the inner pockets out of batiste. To ensure that the flash of white would never show and the reinforce the pocket to keep it from bagging out I stitched ribbon over the pocket opening edge before sewing in place.
I got this ribbon from Joann several years ago and I'd never found the right project for it. I loved the way it looked in this dress so much that I used it to finish the front opening edge. The dress is designed to be fully lined, but my thick fabric didn't need it. I had thought to use bias strips, perhaps, but would have had to use a contrast fabric. The ribbon was so cute I had to use it. I got a little slapdash here because the ribbon doesn't really shape with an iron, and I had to stitch it down on the inside edge as well as the outside and there is a little bit of puckering in places, but I don't mind it one bit.
The only thing I don't like about this design is the back bodice. It has you gather the lower edge of the bodice and the skirt and sew them together with a stay.
Size 8 = 14 3/4 inch
Size 10 = 15 1/4 inch
Size 12 = 16 inch
Size 14 = 16 1/2 inch
I don't hate the blousy look here, but if I were to make it again I would definitely convert those back bodice gathers to darts for a sleeker look in the back.
The collar. It is a wrangle. The undercollar is a spiral, the upper collar is a giant rectangle with tapered ends (worm shape?). There are 28 pleats in the upper collar. While I cut the upper collar out with a sawtooth for each marked pleat, in the end I ended up sort of guesstimating so that the upper- and under-collars ended up the same length. I tucked each pleat downward, radiating from center back; you can sort of a little bit see how they change direction in this shot of the back. The upper collar is wider than the under collar so although I followed their instructions to understitch the outer edge seam allowance to the undercollar I don't know that it was necessary, and pressing that seam was terrible. I really felt like I was wrestling with the fabric for the collar, so I don't recommend it for early beginners, who I think will find it too exhausting and frustrating.
I was going to put sleeves on, but as I got close to that step I thought they might compete with the collar too much, and the collar covers a bit of the shoulder so the style is still office appropriate.
I LOVE this dress. It is so much fun to wear, and gets a lot of compliments when I do. As you can see, I wore it to the Smithsonian National Zoo on Sunday and had lots of fun. The cotton is very cool and comfortable to wear. It wrinkles as cotton does but not unduly. The color is sensational, and I don't feel drab wearing a solid as I often do. You know how much I love me some prints, so a solid is always a risk. I'm glad I took it with this dress!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Westminster and other best friends.
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