I made this dress in September, when I was supposed to be selflessly sewing for others. I think the whole Fashion Challenge 2 kind of messed with my selfless plans and the me me me monster reared its ugly head again.
I had my reasons, though. This was a good one: I needed something to wear to my parents’ 40th anniversary party. That’s right, folks, they’ve been married for FORTY YEARS.
Go Mom and Dad!
My sister and I decided that this was a milestone that could not pass quietly. We invited our family and their friends to a party in their honor at the wonderful Devil’s Lake state park, which is where they always took us to hike as kids. The leaves were just starting to turn, but the wind had not quite turned cold and it was a wonderful, happy day.
This is not a well-crafted shot, but shows the beauty of the park
For this dress, I used a rayon challis print that I bought quite a while ago from Fabric.com for the main part of the dress, and a solid green rayon challis that I picked up even longer ago at Joann Fabrics for the contrast. It was quite the happy coincidence that these two went well together.
Fitting this dress was pretty interesting. Deer & Doe drafts for a C cup, but I’ve heard some of their designs accommodate larger busts, too. I anticipated needing an FBA and muslined a size 40 with a 1″ total FBA. I got it all sewn together, and it was just not right. There was just too much volume for my bust, and the bust points were definitely too close together for me.
With a design like this, you really can’t mess too much with the style lines or it just won’t look right. So, I decided to try cutting a straight 42 for the front and a 40 for the back. BINGO.
That was not the end of the bodice saga, however. I was careful to reinforce the style lines, since they are all on the bias, as well as the upper and lower edges of the front and back bodice with this wonderful fusible stay tape (which I have in 3 different configurations and highly recommend).
But even with all of this reinforcement, my bodice ended up being huge once I got it together. I think it’s just the rayon and its stretch that got in my way. I ended up taking another 3″ total in on the waistline and 2 or so inches at the top of the bodice. It was totally bizarre, based on my muslin, and is a good argument for fit-as-you-go sewing. So glad I decided to take this approach!
A note about sewing this up: the seam allowance is added to the front bodice pattern pieces in a way that if you accidentally slash in to any part of the center front even a tiny bit, it will SHOW on the garment once sewn together. NOT GOOD. I decided to alter my pattern pieces just a smidge (drew a line from point to point and made sure to mark the CF on the fabric) to give myself some room for error.
This was my first time in a long time dealing with piping, so it’s not my best work, but I’ll take it.
One of the first things I decided when I set out to make this dress was that the straps must be altered. I have boobs, as I have discussed many a time, and they sure as shit ain’t free range boobies. Hell, they don’t even really like a good strapless, so I knew I needed to do something other than bias-tape-as-straps to cover up those bra straps.
Plus, bias tape stretches and we all know how that can end up after a few wears.
I ended up widening the strap nub (or so it shall be called) to 1″ and then I cut 4 1″ strips about 16″ long, 2 from my dress fabric and 2 of my contrast. I then reinforced the contrast strips with a wider fusible stay tape, the same brand as mentioned a couple of paragraphs back, and used the “sandwich” method to sew them to the strap nub. Yay no raw seams there! Then, I applied the bias tape as indicated. No big thang.