Thursday, 20 August 2009

A SUNDRESS FOR A SUNNY DAY

Believe it or not, we've been having some warm weather in the UK - which brought to the surface my longing for a sundress. This has previously been a bit of an impossible dream because ready-to-wear sundresses just don't seem to fit me: they gape in all the wrong places and cling in even wronger places! Shopping for such a garment always left me feeling frustrated and freaky. But, with my new sewing skills all that has changed. Look! I have a sundress .........



and it seems to fit in all the right places ....



I made this dress from Butterick 5351

Although it took a bit of messing around with muslin to get the fit just right it wasn't too difficult and, in the end, I think it was worth the effort. I started with a size 12 band (the bit that goes round the body at the top of the bodice) then graded out to a size larger for the bodice and skirt but tweaked it in a bit for the waist as well as raising the waist about an inch. The trickiest part of the fitting was getting the strap placement just right - I have narrow shoulders and attaching them as the pattern was drafted meant they just would not stay on my shoulders. After a bit of trial and error I attached them about an inch further in towards the centre and shortened them by couple of inches. Now they stay put.

I think one of the key things about getting this dress right is getting the bodice band to fit closely around the body. The pattern tells you to cut this piece on the bias but I noticed with my muslin that the band was stretching out -by the time I had finished with the muslin it was far too large and all pulled out of shape. So, (and this was possibly breaking the rules about these things?) when it came to cutting the real fabric I cut the band with the grain instead of on the bias. This meant the band stayed the right size but it still wasn't quite perfect - there was a little bit of gaping at the top of the band above the bust between the straps and the underarm. I considered sewing a little dart into the band but, after some thought, came up with the following solution. With the dress on me I pinned out the gaping - it needed three quarters of an inch taking out. Then I opened up the band and ran two lines of long stitches along the seam allowances where the band joins the band facing (at the very top of the dress) from the front straps to the underarm. I pulled up the lines of stitching until I had taken three quarters of an inch out and distributed this evenly so there were no actual gathers, just some puckering. I cut a piece of twill tape then sewed this down over the puckering, right up against the seamline, to keep it anchored like this ........

After repeating this on the other side I turned the band back down and sewed it down. I was really happy with the result because the band now stays close to the body and doesn't gape under the arms.

Butterick call this pattern "Fast and Easy" and, if you discount all my messing about with the straps and the band, I would agree that it is, indeed, both fast and easy to construct. I'm also interested in making up either View C or D, which have a looser, elasticated bodice - I thought that made up in a stretchy towelling material this would be a great poolside/beach dress along the lines of those made by Juicy Couture.

Those of you with sharp eyes might notice that the fabric is the same print as my wrap dress made from Vogue 8379 (see my earlier posting) but this isn't a knit, it's a cotton poplin. Rather surprisingly I didn't even buy the two different fabrics from the same supplier - I bought the knit by mail order then some months later happened to notice this cotton poplin in Peter Jones (big London department store) and felt that I just had to have it. I guess I must really like this print!

So, now I am hoping for some more sunny days ............

7 comments:

  1. Really cute sundress. It does fit very well.

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  2. Congratulations on your sundress. The fit is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice dress and it's a great fit on you

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  4. Very attractive sundress on you! I like your solution to achieving a superb fit. I hope you have the sunny days so you can wear it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cute! That dress had a lot of work for you, but that makes it more valuable.
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