Dress to Tee Via Butterick B5211

I first made this dress about a year ago, when I was just beginning to attempt to make decent clothes for myself. I wanted an easy belted dress, and this fitted the bill perfectly. The great thing about this pattern (I made view B) is that with a little planning at the cutting stage you don't need to overlock or zigzag the seams. I always french when I can (I don't have an overlocker) and with this little frocklet one can french the shoulder and side seams, and if you take care to cut the back pieces out so the centre seam edges are on the selvedge then you can just stitch it and press it open and its all very neat and tidy.

I really hate things looking untidy from the inside.

So I made it last March, when I was a fair bit skinnier, in a gorgeous orientalesque cornflower blue cotton from Spotlight - but sadly its a bit tight around my bum now, so there's only a top view.

When I bought the blue fabric I also bought a beautiful crazy cotton voile with an awesome bird (peacocks! pelicans! weird red bird!) and butterfly print that reminded me of Victorian era botanical sketches. It was always destined to be another one of these - I figured the print was so busy it needed a simple style to set it off - and you can't get much simpler than this - boat neck, no darts, kimono sleeves. Its a bit bunchy in the back and would probably be much improved with a couple of back darts (if I knew how to add them in!). So a month or two ago I blithely cut myself another with my crazy fabric, forgetting that my weight gain over the year might influence the fit and of course was devastated when my nice loose sack shift dress suddenly became a weird wiggle dress. Note to self - try on previous make when doing another version..... 
The other disappointment came with the fabric itself against my skin tone. I am the whitest person in the world. Occasionally I get some cute freckles on my shoulders but otherwise I am the whitest thing getting around (on a holiday to tropical north Queensland last year I was asked by a lovely man at a market how I deal with 'the radiation'....). So this fabric has a grey background, and full length grey on a milky bod just wasn't that flattering. 


Anyway I finished the damn thing minus the belt, and then realised the fabric had a whopping great printing flaw RIGHT DOWN THE FRONT of the dress. How? How did I miss this? It had a 30cm vertical straight black line from just below the bust right in the middle. Damn cheap nasty printed Chinese cotton! So not only did it not fit, and made me look like a corpse, it had a terrible line in it. By this time I had already done everything except the hem, so I had a minor tanty and stuffed in the wardrobe for a week or so. Then in an attempt to hide the flaw (and for something different) I added some elastic to the waistline which looks quite good.

Obviously after all that effort I was very sad to not be able to wear my crazy peacock and pelican dress, but I had a reasonable amount left over and decided that the top half of the dress still fit me well, and inspired by Grainline's woven Scout tee, I experimented and made myself a little tee out of the leftovers. Miraculously the bit left still had a peacock on it (plus the stinking flaw) so I made a slightly dodgy false placket to hide the flaw, and backed it in a cotton-silk blend. Instead of using a facing at the neckline I bound it in self-made binding but I didn't twig that the smaller seam allowance for the binding would make the neckline a little too high, and its a tiny bit short, but I've already worn it several times (which is more than I can say for the dress - current wears = 0).

Apologies for creases. I literally removed it from self to take these pictures.
And below is awkward full body shot, plus close up of slightly too high neckline and dodgy flaw covering fake placket.

I doubt I'll make another dress, but definitely plan to do another tee version - this time using an awesomely 60's jewel coloured check that reminds me of the colours Gorman often uses. I will do a facing this time (since I've learned a new trick to make it uber-neat inside) and I will make it a little longer, probably with some side splits. 

So pretty - it makes me smile every time I see it!