I loved this dress as soon as I saw the picture in the Vogue patterns magazine. I've visited Tracy Reese's lovely boutique, in the meatpacking district of Manhattan, several times and am the happy owner of a really nice skirt and a cardigan bought in there. So I was very attracted by the idea that I could make a Tracy Reese dress for myself - one that would actually be tailor-made to fit me.
On a styling note, I'm wearing it here with a really pretty pair of pink Marc Jacobs shoes that I bought many years ago - his shoes never seem to date!
This pattern is graded "Average" difficulty- so, for me, it was quite an ambitious project - my previous dresses have been made from "Easy" patterns and this one had so many different pieces. But, no pain, no gain and, you know what, once I had got the muslin fitted, it really wasn't too anxious making.
As is so often the case with me, it was the fitting that took up so much time. I had to make two muslins of the bodice - I started by cutting a straight size 12 but the shoulders and neckline were so loose-fitting that I decided to re-cut the bodice pieces to a size 10, grading up to a size 12 from under the armholes down to the midriff.
In the end I still had to take a couple of inches out of the centre front seam to stop the neckline gaping and to prevent it from looking too blousy.
I bought the fabric from http://www.chrysalisfabrics.co.uk/ - it's a linen/viscose mix and, although it's a little heavier than the fabrics recommended for this pattern, I chose it because it hangs really nicely but has enough body of its own so that I didn't have to line it. Added bonus is that it goes in the washing machine. Because the fabric wasn't as lightweight as the recommended fabrics I decided not to follow the pattern instructions to use french seams - I didn't want to add any extra bulk or stiffness - instead I used regular seams finished with my serger.
In the end I'm really pleased with this dress and it's one of those happy garments that you can wear on a summer day but also looks good as evening wear. I've worn it to a couple of parties already and it came on a trip to New York with me and was worn out to dinner three times (I think our hotel reception staff and doorman must have thought that this was the only dress I own!).
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