It is hard to give a “not recommend” for this pattern since it did come out really cute. I guess I would have to say I don’t recommend it for persons with the same upper body type as myself unless one is willing to do some serious redrafting. My nonstandard fitting issues include being too curvy in front and back for the standard pattern measurements.
First here is the finished project:
As usual I had about ten muslins to get the bodice right. No, I don’t have a pattern block, though I am not sure this would have helped in this case as the seamlines are so non-standard. There are two reasons I don’t have a pattern block. One is fear because I never did one. The second is that I am trying to lose weight, and I figure that it can’t hurt to do a lot of fitting as I learn a lot each time. I also go a bit crazy each time.
Let’s talk about the bodice…
I guess these would be considered a variation of a princess seam. It is a like a reverse shoulder princes seam a.k.a. a pain in the hindquarters. I am not a good spatial thinker and trying to reverse engineer shoulder seam princess seam adjustments into this thing taxed me to the core. So I winged it. And boy my wings are tired. Allegedly the Big Four pattern companies draft for a standard B-Cup bodice. There is no way that a full B-Cup figure would fit into this bodice. This is definitely drafted for an A-Cup. If that is you, and you get frustrated with having to do SBAs on your patterns, you might love this pattern. For me I had to do a RFBA (Ridiculous Full Bust Adjustment) on this one. Here, take a look. The photo on the left is the original traced pattern piece. The photo on the right is the altered piece with the red lines being the bust line curve. Due to the way this falls on the bodice, there is virtually no change in the front piece, just an adjustment to make sure the seams are the same length. No addition of curve. But seriously, look at that one on the left. Does that look like a B-Cup curve to you? No. No, it doesn’t.
And here are the two images superimposed… the blue line is the original seam line.
Lining up the piping lines are a real trial by fire as well. The three lines (lining up two is hard enough) lined up fine at the cut edge on the neckline. Once it was folded over 5/8inch to attach the lining they lined up by not lining up. It was all I could see, and it was unfixable. So I upcycled a broken thrift store pin I had and sewed in on to cover the mismatch. I am worried that this will not last, some rhinestones will fall out or some other such calamity along with it being a bit heavy but oh well. I gotta stop obsessing. Right now, it does look pretty. But this means hand-washing from here on out.
Let’s talk about the mock piping…
There is a pattern given cutting out mock bias piping. It was an utter fail for me, but that could be because I have been an utter fail each time I try to make my own bias binding. But the fail is not completely on my part. Here is the pattern piece. At first I was excited, it has the nice lines and all. But imagine this. You have your lines all chalked out then you try to match it all up according to the instructions in which the placement is slightly skewed in order to be able to cut out a continuous strip. It doesn’t work. It is a nightmare. I decided though that since there are no ridiculous long lines that get mock piped, that it is better to forget about the continuous strip and cut out individual strips so that there are no visible seams in my mock piping. Since it is only mock piping which will only peek out, it doesn’t matter that the cut edges are anything but pretty. Which is French for butt ugly. I was also very uneven in my mock piping. I suppose I should have basted more, but this thing already took forever to sew, and I have a problem with patience. I would have used pre-made bias strips if I had to do this again.
Let’s talk about the lining…
I always mess up lining. Don’t know why. I just suck at it. And these instructions were just like do this, and that, and then flip the lining. Well, I flipped, and I flopped, and I yelled, and still could not figure out how to do it. So I just attached it at the neckline only and figured I would do a kludge fix on the armholes. What I decided was to just make a view with sleeves so the lining could attach there, and I finished those seams with some black Seams Great tricot binding.
The skirt doesn’t have a lining. Only the bodice is lined. I don’t know why that bugs me in patterns, but it does. But after putting it on, it doesn’t bug me as much.
Let’s talk about the invisible zipper…
Every instruction I have ever read said not to sew above or below the seam for the invisible zipper until it was inserted. The pattern says to sew the two inches below the underarm seam until the zipper is put in. I ignored that instruction going instead with the rest of the collective wisdom I had read. The instructions also say to install the zipper so that the pull is at the bottom rather than the top. That seems pretty stupid to me too, so I am ignoring that. This was my first invisible zipper I ever put in. Part of it came out great, the other part, not so much. Good thing it is under my arm, though I tend to hate those side seam zippers. I definitely need practice at invisible zippers. I think getting the invisible zipper foot specifically for my machine will help rather than that generic one they sell at Jo-Ann’s (which is cheap as crap, already broke one of them).
Let’s talk about yardage…
I “had” enough fabric according to the envelope. There is of course a chance I measured wrong. I don’t think so though. So even though I had no intention of making the skirt insets a different colour, surprise, surprise, surprise, I did—because I ran out of fabric.
So I cautiously recommend. It is a very cute dress, but it is for advanced sewers… it was the hardest thing (except the tailored Lady Grey coat) that I have made. I would more easily recommend it for less curvy women as the bodice is designed more for that body shape.