Thank you for the suggestions on the panties! I make them with black cotton crotches, but that is not enough to contain the unexpected flow I sometimes get. I am intrigued by the idea of building in an extra layer, though. I make my pads of cotton flannel and even one layer of flannel might be enough. The crotch pocket idea is also interesting, but I would have to figure out some sort of closure for it; it would be horrifying if the lining wormed its way out when I was changing clothes at the gym! Will consider these suggestions.
I will buy pretty much any pattern for a knit dress (as long as it's not a glorified t-shirt), so at some point I picked up Simplicity 2754. I liked the empire waist, cowl neck, and full pleated skirt (so much nicer than a gathered skirt in this style).
When I bought this yellow/gray fans fabric from Jomar in Philly it really said maxi dress to me, but I plan to use my rayon knit from Spain for a maxi-dress (it's too lightweight for a Fall/Winter dress) *and* I need Fall/Winter dresses more than Spring/Summer dresses. So I stuck to my guns and made it for Fall/Winter. With the shorter elbow-length sleeves it will be wearable into Spring.
When I initially put this together I hated it. I thought it looked like a nightgown. I almost wadded it. So I spent some time analyzing it and I realized a big problem was the front bodice. I had cut it without really paying attention and it was pretty much a single big pale yellow fan. I didn't take a photo then, but I pinned it back on and took the photo at left so you can see. I had already serger constructed everything, all that was left was hems. But I knew I would hate the dress if I let it stand.
So I cut out a new bodice, being careful to balance the motifs so that I had three instead of one. Then I carefully cut the old bodice out of the dress, clipping just outside the serger seams (luckily, there was adequate ease, so it was OK to lose some; I do not seam rip serger seams unless it is really, really necessary). It was a little challenging to pin the new bodice into the space, keeping all the seams in the right places, but I managed it in the end. I overlapped the seam allowance on the new bodice so that it extended out beyond the clipped off seam allowances of the other pieces and serger stitched with the new bodice on top, clipping off the seams allowances of the new bodice and just barely catching the edges of the original back and cowl.
It went together pretty well; I lost a bit of the reverse V shape on the empire seam and there is a little seam distortion on the lower right bodice seam (*my* right side, which is on the left in the photo), but in wearing this yesterday I think it has to do with the perpetual problem of my serger not keeping tension on the right needle thread. I have rethreaded, turned the tension dial, and done everything else I can think of the keep that thread from looping and nada. When I went to clip my work badge to the seam I noticed that the seam is almost doing a flatlock thing because of the loopy right needle thread. So I'm going to have to go in and sewing machine stitch that seam to make sure it doesn't pull apart.
The new print motif looks SO MUCH BETTER. The pale colors of the print combined with the relaxed fit do make it look a little nightgown-y in general (had I made a fitted wrap dress it wouldn't have been as much of a problem, I don't think), but I'll just have to live with that.
One of my mom's pet peeves that she passed on to me is that ready-to-wear, even on the high end, often doesn't match the back and front. So the front will have some sort of neckline embellishment, for instance, that should logically go all the way around the neck, but the back neck is plain. I think this looks so cheap! This dress suffered from that syndrome. While the front is designed with the empire waistline and pleated skirt, the back is just a single t-shirty piece. Cheap!
I lined up the front and back pieces and marked the empire waistline on the back. The front skirt is shaped to fit into that upside V waistline, so I just folded it down so that it was flat and even with the side seam and cut the back skirt like that. It looks so much better this way. I didn't make a swayback adjustment because of all the volume, and I think I lucked out here.
There's not much to say about this dress! It's cute, easy, and goes together well. The cowl is supposed to be cut on the bias. Because I had plenty of fabric I went ahead and did it, but honestly as long as you're using a lightweight knit I really don't think you need to. I have been into deep twin-needle hems on knits lately; the skirt on this ended up being really long (didn't want to shorten it in cutting as I keep getting burned by that) so I did the deep hem. It gives a little weight to improve the hang of the dress.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.