Finished - A fair proportion of Vogue 8901 in chambray, plus umbrella
It's the first frock of the year - and proof that I can still (pretty much) fit and make a woven bodice AND install an invisible zip. I was beginning to wonder amidst all my slacker 'repeat offender' and 'knits knits knits' sewing of 2014 whether I had it in me. Apologies for the creases. I'd been wearing this much of today and braved our mini monsoon to duck outside for some quick pics.
This is Vogue 8901. Well parts of it anyway. I first saw this pattern last year and fell deeply in love with the amazing striped maxi version on the McCall website. I loved the elegant kimono sleeves of View C and the unusual lack of side seams. It is rather similar in silhouette to the BHL Anna dress I suppose but for some reason the Anna just never really appealed to me (despite the many lovely versions out there). So when Spotty had an unprecedented $5 Vogue sale late last year (full price this kid retails for close to $20!) I snapped this up.
After the success of my denim shift for cool weather wear I was determined to make an equally chic and wearable summer denim or chambray dress. I picked up some beautiful indigo Japanese chambray cotton at the Fabric Store in November and after seeing a client in a lovely lightweight denim kimono sleeve dress I had my inspiration.
I liked the idea of the front and back pieces of the bodice just overlapping each other and only being joined at the waist (which is how the pattern is drafted) but in reality it's not a particularly flattering look (interestingly if you pop back up to look at the lovely stripes you'll notice the model and her hair have been strategically positioned to disguise this - cheeky!). They gape/sag pretty dramatically, and I can't imagine that there'd be many bodies that wouldn't be at risk of a serious boobage flash. Apart from the flashing the drooping of the fabric adds unflattering bulk at the side rib cage just under the armpit - it's very frumpy. I remedied this by tacking them to each other invisibly with a few hand stitches from the wrong side. Some sewists have complained about bra being visible under the armpits. My bra sides are fairly narrow, so I don't have that issue - but no doubt the tacking down of the two pieces helps. It's certainly a nice airy feature on a hot day!
|Images from Vogue Patterns|
Initially I was going to be lazy, and use my much-made Butterick 5211 pattern, but with such a simple fabric I really needed some more details. I wanted a waist seam, pockets and some sort of cool but subtle detailing like unusual seaming or top stitching. I decided the bodice of V8901 would be perfect with the overlapping side pieces, but being me I was not content to follow the pattern as is. I didn't want to line it, and I didn't want a full skirt.
I made a toile of the bodice, cutting a size 6 neckline, 10 shoulders and grading up to the 12 bust and waist as per my measurements. Apart from lowering the waist dart a cm or so I thought the fit was pretty spot on, but now with the finished garment I can see that I could do with taking a couple of darts out of the back neckline to reduce gaping, and that bust dart could go down a little lower (but the bra I'm wearing is not one of my better ones so that's not too much of a drama).
Instead of lining the bodice I simply finished the side seams with a narrow hem after sewing the front and back together at the shoulders. I drafted a nice deep neck facing and top stitched it down about 5cm in from the neckline. I really like neck facings that are top stitched down. It's far less faffing than using bias, and I like making a feature of the top stitching too (although it's pretty hard to spot on this chambray).
The skirt is from the Colette Peony. Due to slight bodice size mismatching I had some extra ease in the skirt so instead of just gathering at the two designated points I gathered across the entire skirt centre front between the gathering points. I altered the pockets to be able to catch them in the waistband. They're a little high but still functional.
The front neckline is quite high, even though I used the neckline of the smallest size. I ended up lowering it even further (annoyingly after doing the facing and top stitching) at the centre front and it feels so much better.
I'm a bit frustrated by the skirt/zipper insertion. I'm probably being picky but it does drag slightly just at the top of the skirt, which hasn't occurred on my peony dress. But I am very well pleased with how well I've lined up my waist seam and neckline on inserting the zip. It's absolutely 100% due to hand basting the second side before sewing. Literally 3 minutes of quick hand sewing to prevent unpicking angst. So worth it!
I'm also delighted by all my lovely overlocked edges and very nice and tidy neckline. The inside of this thing is beyootiful!
I'm quite happy with the finished frock but not madly over the moon. The more I wear it, the more I like it, and being so simple it's sure to be a regular summer staple for me, and I'll probably jazz it up with a narrow belt when I feel like being fancy. If I was to make it again I'd do slanted pockets instead, take out the back neck gape and maybe even try a more fitted pleated skirt.