Pattern: Butterick 5491
Fabric: Rayon/lycra jersey from Joann’s (current season,) 2.25 yards
Shoes: Chinese Laundry (the blush color is the perfect nude shoe if you are pale and cool toned like me!)
This dress took me much longer than I thought it would! It is, of course, entirely my own fault. I really wanted to use this rayon jersey, because I thought the print would play nicely with all the gathers in the dress. Unfortunately, I had enough fabric to make the dress, but not to line. I don’t like to use separate lining fabrics in knits, because it changes the stretch factor (even with a knit lining.) I managed to cut the bodice lining (although I did have to make one piece backwards, but oh well… who is looking in my dresses?) I eliminated the front underlining entirely. This turned out to give me a few headaches, but I stand firm with my decision that three layers of fabric in the front is too much!
Rather than basting the gathers to the underlining, I sewed them to the lining. I did underline the waist piece (which is only in the front) but did not line it. The waistband I cut on the straight grain to save fabric. Since it wasn’t overly stretchy that way (though it stretches enough) I was able to skip the handsewing called for on that piece (tacking the pleats down.)
I cut a size 8, but I ended up removing about 3″ total from the side seams at the end. I like a knit dress to fit tightly on the top!
At first I wasn’t sure… should I use the neck piece called for? I was worried about it stretching out, and the casings were giving me fits (since I had not underlined, it was difficult to sew them evenly.) I did end up using the piece, though my method of attaching was complicated. I did this last, after constructing the entire dress. First I threaded the neckband between the fashion fabric and lining (at this point I had not sewn the second line of stitching to make the casing, so it was loose.) Then I tried it on, adjusted the fabric, and pinned it where I wanted the band to meet the dress. At this point I removed 3.5″ total from the center back neckband, because it was big on me. Then I basted the neckband in place. I still had to sew the casings, and I had a stroke of inspiration – what about using a zipper foot to get close to the neck facing? So that’s what I did, using a long straight stitch (3.5 mm) and adjusting the gathers by hand as I went (I had to lift the presser foot every few stitches.) That worked great – they don’t look uneven, and the stitching isn’t crooked the way it was with my normal or walking foot.
I trimmed 4 inches off the bottom of the dress, and then took a 1″ machine hem.
I am totally thrilled with this dress – it looks just how I pictured it! It did take a long time, but I’m pretty sure that was my fault for trying to squeeze it out of this fabric. I did not use a zipper, which is fine (the only tight part is the neck, which is my fault for shortening it!) At this point I have not sewn in the bra cups. Because it has two layers of fabric and a high waist (and I have no real bosoms to speak of) I’m going without (sorry for the TMI!) The sides are too low for my strapless.
I recommend this pattern – just follow the instructions, and watch that you don’t cut it too big! Here is how I’m wearing it today:
Cardigan: NY & Co
Purse: Dooney and Bourke
I’m wearing it to teach with the cardigan, and when I go out with friends later I can take the cardigan off and have a nice going out dress! It’s 80 degrees and muggy today – I’m a little worried about rain, so I changed into these shoes (which I care less about.) You can’t see it well in the photo, but this is my new bag for this spring/summer.
It’s the Nina by Dooney and Bourke. I am slightly obsessed with the color (the perfect tiffany blue!) I don’t usually get expensive purses, but this one was on clearance (maybe most people don’t want an aqua bag? I do!) I’m actually experimenting to see if a nicer purse lasts me longer. I tend to buy cheap ones, and run through them like crazy. If this holds up I may adjust my strategy, since after buying 4 cheap purses (my average for a year)I might as well buy one nice one. This color goes with most of my wardrobe, which is predominantly blue and gray.