Saturday 12 July 2014

Part I of the Outfit Along: The Dress

We have amazing 26 degree C in London today, so perfect time to take my Outfit-Along Dress out for a walk! I only finished the zipper and hem this morning - and yes my sewing machine is working again! Apparently, a broken needle caused the bobbin tension to go all crazy and the guy from the sewing shop had to adjust the little screw on the bobbin case. Now she is behaving again :)

Pattern: As most of you might know, I made this dress for the Outfit Along 2014 hosted by Lauren and Andy. I decided to make Simplicity 1803, which is the dress Lauren recommends to make. I could have made another pattern, but I couldn't resist this amazing dress pattern. Actually, when I was fitting the bodice last week with Thea, we realised it is super similar to the Cambie dress from Sewaholic (that's what I was fitting on Thea). So I can cross the Cambie from my to sew list.

Pleats and eyelets.
Fabric: I got this fabric from Leschas mum the last time we went to Kiev. It is an eyelet cotton that was very beautiful to sew with. Because of the eyelet I had to underline the whole dress. I used a off-white cotton lawn I had in my stash for ages. I had only 1.30 m of the eyelet and managed to squeeze the dress out of it, yeah! I had even less from the lawn and thus had to cut the skirt underlining 10 cm shorter.

Alterations: As always, nothing fits me out of the envelope and I had to make two (only!) muslins to get the fit right. The pattern has princess seams, which should be easy to fit. I say should, because that is not the case for me. To avoid tediously fitting the princess seams, I just took the already fitted princess seam pattern from my Simplicity 1882 dress. Luckily, both dresses are armhole princesses and it was easy to transfer the changes. I only had to tweak the princess seams in the first muslin and voila they fitted :)

I also did a sway back adjustment and took out 1" at the centre back seam, tapering to nothing at the side seams. My armholes were also gaping, which meant I had to do a round back adjustment of 3/4" to get that gape closed. Lastly, the side seam was angeling forwards and thus I graded the bodice front to size 12 and the bodice back to size 4 (!) at the waist. It is straight now, yeah! That meant I also cut the skirt back in size 4 and the skirt fronts in 12! This was a bit scary because I was worried the skirt would not fit over my bum. But I hoped that it would fit because the skirt is originally gathered.

Straight side seams and pleats
Construction: I first underlined the whole dress: bodice and skirt. For the skirt underlining, which was 10 cm shorter as the shell, I first finished the hem with my overlocker before stitching it to the shell pieces. I didn't attach the hem, because I wanted it to float freely and not to appear bulky.

I followed Laurens tutorials, which were amazing!!! The pictures are so detailed and great to follow! So if you are going to sew the dress, I can only highly recommend Laurens tutorial! I decided to pleat the skirt as suggested by Lauren. Because of the eyelet fabric the dress looks quite elegant and I think a pleated skirt looks much more elegant than a gathered one.

Then was the questions, what kind of zip should I use? I decided against an invisible zip because the fabric would have been bulky. Also I have read several stories about breaking invisible zips which makes me a bit more cautious. So a lapped zip it was - my first lapped zip, which didn't get in that easy at all. It took me some unpicking and handstitching before it looked ok and I am still not 100% happy about the overlap.

One of my shoulder is lower thus I shortened one of the straps when pin fitting the dress.

Do I like it? I love it. I think it is a nice little summer dress (although some people might argue it looks like a wedding dress - hi mum) that will get plenty of wear as long as it stays warm here. I imagine it will look great with my knitted cropped jumper. And I can tell you already it looks great with the knitted cardigan for the outfit along. You will see it soon :)

Will I make it again? For sure! I have a beige fabric with a button pattern in my stash that I think would look great. But then I would go for the version with the short sleeves. I haven't muslined the sleeves yet and from experience I know, that they will change the fit of the shoulders massively. So it will take some time...

How are you getting along with your outfit-along? Or have you ever sewn/ knitted two pieces that you knew would go perfectly together right from the start?


  1. Really pretty dress! I especially like the scoop neck on the back. But about the cambi.. I would definitely not cross it off the list yet! I've used that pattern so many times, and have adapted it so many different ways. It's a really wonderfully drafted pattern. I've used it for five completely different dresses so far!

  2. Yey to getting your machine fixed, and at least it was something simple to fix. Your dress is gorgeous, the lapped zip and pleats are great. I absolutely love the eyelet fabric, and this style for dress really suits you. I'm in awe of your fitting alterations, and why not use an princess seam bodice that already fits?! I do that too, and it saves a lot of time and trouble. I'm making the cardigan from the OAL, in fact I finished it yesterday, and will now look forward to seeing your jumper.

  3. Your eyelet dress is lovely. I love the idea of eyelet and underling technique. Thanks for showcasing all your techniques and fabric ideas. You have a beautiful collection. Enjoy your beautiful dress.

  4. LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS!! The fabric is beautiful and the dress is so elegant!

  5. Such a pretty dress, as always it was definitely worth the effort you put into the fitting - it looks perfect. The eyelet is gorgeous too! I've finished sewing my dress for the outfit along, but not sure I'm going to be able to finish the cardigan in time because I've hurt my wrist and can't knit at the moment! Hopefully it'll be better soon so I can get back to work!

  6. The pleats! I have a thing about pleated skirts at the moment so anything with them is a winner in my eyes. It is another beautiful creation. It is the perfect summer dress.

  7. That's so pretty, Ela! I really love it in the eyelet!

  8. Beautiful dress! The eyelet is so pretty! You made some serious alterations! Great job on those because the fit is perfect. I'm happy to hear about your machine too :D

  9. This is so pretty and summery!! Great stuff

  10. This is so gorgeous, Dani!! I love it! The fabric is beautiful (doesn't look like wedding dress to me at all) and I really love the cut of the bodice. And, of course, it fits you perfectly ;)


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