Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dress that almost was.....

So this is going to be a story about how I thought that I knew what I was doing while sewing my first official dress! I thought I had it down...picked out my material (just some polished cotton that I picked up at a 2nd hand store for super cheap) got my sewing machine ready to go and I was all set right?

Oh How Wrong I Was.

I used this retro butterick pattern B5478 and cut out the size 18 based on my measurements.

When I started this project I was very confident that this dress would turn out perfect..and to be honest the process of sewing really didn't give me any problems. I cut everything out (even altered the shape of the neckline slightly) used tailor's tacks to help me ensure that my darts would be even and put it all together. I basted...cut...sewed and put it all together. Below is how the skirt looked before I attached it to the bodice. It is a lovely full circle skirt and the fabric is so lightweight it swishes very easily.
Well this should be a super happy ending shouldn't it?? Well it was wonderful ...until I put on the final product...I thought the fit was off in earlier fittings because the zipper wasn't in and I found out how wrong I was when I put it on. I didn't get any pictures of me in the dress because it is just kind of embarrassing but when I went to zip up the side zipper it went up without a hitch until I hit my full bust.

(picture of completed dress...the best I could get while not wearing it)
(altered the neckline slightly)
(To date this is The Best Zipper that I have installed! I hardly screwed it up at all!)

I did not realize that I needed to do a full bust measurement! How did I not realize this when my full bust measurement is 8 inches larger than my upper bust? To be honest I have no idea! I just kind of assumed that since it was the right size everywhere else that I would be fine. Well ...needless to say it is back to the drawing board....literally!

In Conclusion

In regards to the dress I am calling "Strawberry Fields" As I cannot wear it I am gifting it to a friend of mine who the dress will fit once I alter it a little. As for my future dress...well I have altered the pattern pieces ...made a muslin...and am getting ready for crack number two!

(This is an example of one of the bodice pieces that I added width to... I also had to adjust the bust dart with the help of my Gertie Book and a video by professor pincushion on youtube I think that I did it correctly)

(This is the best picture of the muslin that I could get while taking one handed pictures...please excuse the hint of belly at the bottom)

I have picked out a beautiful Olive Green cotton to use for this new dress and am hoping to finish it up within the week. Thanks for reading about my fitting dilemma. This is a good lesson for me to learn...take it slowly...try it on as I go...and because of my bust make sure that I do a trial fitting first!!


  1. Hi Shay! I've just seen your post on We Sew Retro, and I just wanted to say hi.

    I'm going to be watching your progress with this dress. I've just started dressmaking again after a break of a good 20 years! I fell in love with that pattern and it's on my list of things to make when I'm feeling more confident about my pattern-altering/fitting skills. Because I too am a bigger lady, and won't be able to fit the girls into the pattern as it stands.

    It was such a shame that this particular version won't fit you; as I was reading, I was hoping you had enough fabric left to remake the bodice part at least. Or if you didn't that you had enough to salvage the skirt, which looks beautifully foofy. But if you've got a friend who will fit into it, then that's a generous gift, I'm not sure I could be so generous with a garment I'd slaved over!

    Good luck with the next version.


    1. Bea, thank you so much for yout words.of encouragement! I love this pattern and am hoping that version 2 of the dress will turn out well :) good luck on all of your future sewing projects!!

      P.s. congrats on being my first blog comment! :) So excited about that!