I started this dress a long while back – over a year ago, I believe. It’s been through several transformations in that time! It started when I went fabric-shopping with a friend in the spring last year, and bought some yards of this smooth cotton-blend in a lovely dirtied green, but with no plans for it. A couple of days later, I saw a dress in a magazine, and decided to copy it. The dress in the magazine was made out of an entirely different type of fabric, and I had no patterns even remotely similar that I could use as a starting point. I set to it regardless, with a great amount of enthusiasm… for about three days. With nothing even close to a finished dress, and a lot of frustration over my malfunctioning self-drafted pattern, I put it away for almost a year.
When I was invited to the wedding of a dear friend and her girlfriend, I immediately thought of my unfinished green dress, and made up my mind to finish it and wear it to the wedding. Because of the sub-par pattern I had made for the bodice, it ended up too wide, and since I had already cut into the fabric (of which there was nothing left by the time all the pieces were cut out – the skirt was two rectangles with the width and length completely determined by what was left when all else had been accounted for), I had to find a way to alter the bodice to fit. I ended up with adding a box-pleat centered on the back piece, and a couple of pleats at the shoulder seam on the front.
At this point I had already sewn in the sleeves, and should only have to add the skirt and be done. Unfortunately, basting the pleated skirt on, the dress was looking pretty frumpy and unflattering, with way too much volume in too many places. I credit the success (or completion – actually, I will credit them both) to my dear boy, who pointed out that a more defined waist would balance out all the volume going on. Going through my stash, I found a leafy-floral print in a lighter green that matched my dress perfectly, and whipped up a fitted, shaped waistband, gathering excess fabric from the front torso under the bust. It was an instant huge improvement, and I even like the poufiness that occurred in the back from the too-long torso. From the side, it reminds me of certain 40’s silhouettes I’ve seen in illustrations and on vintage sewing patterns:
Some frump remained, however, and after some tucking of the sleeves, hemming and hawing, and more advice from the boy, I took the seam-ripper to the sleeves, and got rid of them. Phew! I felt quite some relief at the decision to take them off, but even more when I saw that I liked the dress much better sleeveless. I added some finishing touches on the inside to cover up all raw edges (lots of handsewing), and it was all ready for the wedding ahead!
Hey boy? You make a really good partner in crime. This dress looks nice because of you.