FO: The Happy Mistake dress

Pattern: Vogue 8577, view A

Fabric: Blue “Aruba” linen look cotton from Fabric.com, black bemberg rayon for the lining

Notes: I love how this dress came out, even if I’m not smiling much (my face is still a little swollen from root canals on Thursday!)  I’m a big fan of  full-skirted sundress, and I find myself suffering from a full-skirted sundress deficit in my closet.  So… before tackling some of the pretty 1950s patterns in my possession, I decided to give this modern pattern a try.

I made a muslin of the bodice only – after all, a full skirt is a full skirt.  I tried a straight size 10, but decided I needed it to be smaller through the ribcage and waist – but the shoulders were good.  So I traced a size 8 bodice out to a size 10 in the shoulders only, which fits just great on me.  I find that I have rather broad shoulders in comparison to my underbust measurement, and patterns that fit me below may be tight in the shoulders.  Things I love about this dress: The shoulder gathers, the color, and the enormous pockets (so fun, I can’t believe I forgot to get the obligatory “hands in pockets” photo!

And then, of course, there is my error – I left out the side panels when constructing the skirt.  Oops!  But the skirt fit nicely to the bodice without them, no gathering required.  It is a little less full in the back than in the front, but I like it that way – it wrinkles less.  My husband says this makes my dress like a reverse mullet – party in the front, business in the back!

The dress is fully lined in black bemberg rayon.  The pattern called for a lining, and besides that the fabric was pretty sheer on its own.  This is the second time I’ve used this lining, and while it feels lovely on I hate working with it – even with starching the heck out of the pieces, it shifts around like crazy during cutting.  I find it ok to sew with a walking foot, so no problem there, but cutting it makes me crazy, even with single layers and a rotary cutter.  I’m going to try a silk or cotton lining on my next sundress – I will probably come back to the rayon, but I need to let my frustration settle down a little.

This dress was rated easy, and I’m not totally convinced – the pockets were a bit complicated, and there is a full lining – but if you’ve made a dress or two I think it’s pretty approachable.  Hemming a full skirt is challenging, but I used the method outlined a few posts back – I serged the edge and then folded on that line.  Then I machine sewed the hem.  The 1940s sewing manual I’ve been using lately informs me “Never machine sew a hem except for children’s clothes, lest your garment look coarse,” but oh well – I didn’t feel like doing the hem by hand, although I usually do.

Now I am onto my next sundress, a 1950s dress in a beautiful rose print fabric.  I have this whole week off, and since I am now mostly recovered (and off the heavy duty painkillers) I can sew!

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46 thoughts on “FO: The Happy Mistake dress

  1. Super pretty! You really know what colors look good on you. LOVE the blue! I had feared this pattern because I thought the pockets might stick out and make hips look wider. But I can see from your pictures that that isn’t an issue. Now I need one too!

  2. homespunheretic says:

    It’s beautiful. I like your husband’s comment, and to that effect I might even try this dress with even less of a full skirt for a sort of a-line shirt dress. I have a problem getting shirt dress patterns to fit my hourglass well, and this could be just the ticket.

  3. Misty says:

    When I saw the first picture, I said out loud to my cat “that looks fantastic!” She purred in agreement. Love the dress, and Happy Easter!

  4. Just gorgeous! And glad to hear you’re almost 100%.

    Don’t tell anyone about the back skirt and they won’t know!

    Unfortunately the slipperyest linings are the nicest to wear, but the worst to cut! Quite a nice one I use on my wedding dresses is a silk twill – it’s gorgeous to wear, but the silk gives it a bit of ‘grip’ when handling, and it’s not as expensive as you’d expect. (But not cheap, either!)

  5. I am in awe. If I keep sewing for a million years, I don’t think I could ever pull of an outfit like yours. I’d never know that any errors were included in this outfit. It is beautiful.

  6. Kate says:

    I love the way you have positioned the buttons, is that the way the pattern recommends or was that an executive decision on your part?

  7. Happy Easter! Glad to read you are on the mend. The dress looks lovely! I’m interested to know if you’ve found a pants pattern like the one you wanted in the previous post.

  8. Brit says:

    You’re so talented! I just found your blog from burdastyle, I’m going to have to bookmark it now! I love all of your creations and really appreciate your thorough pattern and book reviews. And it’s so funny about your ‘mistakes’, I know that whenever anyone compliments me on clothing that I’ve made I always say “yes, but….” and point out the errors – but really, the other comments are correct, no one will notice and you look fantastic!

  9. Absolutely lovely! The color is amazing. When you posted about this earlier I hadn’t realized that it is from the same pattern that I purchased last week. (Or, rather, when I purchased this pattern last week, I had not realized it was your “happy mistakes dress”.
    : ) I am even more excited to work on it now. Well done!

  10. It’s just lovely! That color is to die for on you! Beautiful job! I agree with you on the machine stitching of a hem. I think if you are going for a more casual look then the machine hem is better than a handstitched one. It looks and gives the feeling of casual and I can wear this everyday approachable look. Would never know that you had made a mistake. Looks great. Fabulous work!

  11. What a glorious sundress! Everything about it screams lovely fun in the sun; the color, the fullness of the skirt, the bodice, the buttons… It’s just all so fabulous!!

  12. Beautiful!! The colour is amazing and vibrant, and no one except your blog readers will know there was a ‘happy mistake’ involved! It fits fantastically too. Excellent job!

  13. What a great job! The color looks gorgeous on you. If you hadn’t said anything, I never would have known there were any mistakes! Thank you for your advice on my trousers.

  14. sewiknittoo says:

    I just wanted to say that the dress is absolutely beautiful I love the front of the skirt portion…you did a wonderful job looks very vintage with a modern flair…

  15. What a pretty spring dress. Fabulous color on you and the shape of the dress is very flattering on you. I know this was a “mistake” dress, but seeing the final product, I’d say it’s a huge success. :)

  16. It came out great! I particularly like the way the shoulders and upper part of the top look at the back, the pockets look done perfectly (how do you manage that! It’s very professional), the hem is incredibly straight, and the placement of the buttons is lovely! I wish I could sew half as well!
    I also like it that the back of the skirt is less full, you won’t have to pull so much material out of the way when you go to sit down – this is much easier and it looks great too.

  17. Very pretty!
    A tip for cutting that slippery lining out – pin it to a layer of newsprint first, and then cut the pattern out. It’s a ton easier!

  18. Doodles says:

    I really like the way this pattern turned out. I think you need to have the right figure to wear it though, ie, you have to be slim! :) like you! It does look lovely.

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