A couple of years ago, probably a year after I bought the fabric as per my usual, I made this dress:
I bought the fabric and then went in search of a pattern. I knew I wanted something with a high collar and found this McCall’s pattern at Brooklyn Mercantile. (It’s no longer a mercantile, just custom work) I went with pattern A. It turned out pretty well, except the material is stretchy and it made it difficult to line things up. Especially when sewing in the zipper, the line where the bodice met the skirt would not line up from on either side of zipper to save my life. I think I tore it out a half a dozen times and the only way I got it close was by using 50 pins and sewing over them so the fabric could not move. Anyway, I like dress but as I was working on it and trying it on, I would have the bodice inside out and the skirt ride side out and I really like the patterned skirt with the plain top. I also didn’t like that the belt in sewn into the bodice and doesn’t wrap around the back and tie like you might think it would. So I can’t really tighten it, it mostly just hangs through the loop. I decided that I would need to revisit the pattern again with different material and two fabrics.
Last year, as usual, I went fabric shopping on black Friday I bought three fabrics, taupe slightly stretch cotton fabric for the skirt, one mustard yellow linen to be a belt, and a navy and white paisley print to be the bodice. I took it home at Christmas and cut the fabric (at the same time I cut this skirt) and brought it back to New York to sew. Almost a year later. This time it is partly because my machine was acting up, especially after I finished my couch cushion covers, and I had to get a new one, which took me months to accomplish. So anyway. I finally finished the dress in time to wear for Thanksgiving and thought it was about time I share it with you guys. TA DA!
This time I mostly followed pattern C but used sleeves on B and modified the belt from A to wrap all the way around. Like every pattern I’ve used, my disproportionate body calls for modifications to the pattern. When I cut it for the original dress, we cut the hips way wider than we needed to, so I modified it again and cut it in at the waist a bit more. I was still way off on the skirt, as you can see here:
Part of that was my own fault for biking too much and not quite being the same size as I was when I cut the fabric to begin with, so I had to redo the darting too. I don’t recommend doing this once it is already sewn to the bodice. It’s not easy. There’s still a bit of weirdness above my butt at the bottom of the zipper, but it wasn’t enough to rip everything out for, and it’s probably more noticeable to me than to others.
In all cases, I love how it turned out, much more than the original dress, even though I do love the collar on the brown dress. I just really like having the pattern on top and solid color on bottom with the belt separated. I can wear the dress with other belts if I want or I can wear the belt with other things. I might have to do one more version with the A dress collar in a stiff fabric that stands up and belt like I have on the new one. Wish me luck and stayed tuned, you might see a new dress in a few years.