Blogging has helped me notice some things about myself. I lust after fabric. Usually for months. Then I hungrily snap it up once a good sale comes along.
So it was with this fantastic veggie print. I love vegetables. I love gardening. I had to have this fabric. You understand, right? I didn't have a choice.
Necessity is the mother of invention. I could only afford two yards of this luscious print, well, only two yards if I wanted to get this fabric & other prints I had been lusting after. So instead of making a gloriously grand 50's dress with a full circle skirt I had to use a more thrifty pattern. Enter McCall's 6561. It turned out better than a full vintage repro might have & I was still able to make the skirt fairly full. The pattern is a nifty color block design. All those little pattern pieces are worth the extra sewing for the ease of fitting they allow.
Still, it's been so bloody hot lately I didn't want something that was skin tight. This was another one of those projects where I did the fitting while not realizing I was bloated. The weather deceived me! I didn't realize that I was larger while trying the dress on in my hot & humid apartment. When I wore the dress to the wonderfully air conditioned office today I noticed there was an appreciable amount of added ease. So I started off with some ease & ended up with even more. Ah well, it wasn't so bad that I was swimming in it & I still like how it looks.
I went down a size when cutting out the pattern & took an extra 5/8″ out of each side piece on the back. Curiously, the front didn't need an extra inch taken out. I also lengthened the main fabric to the length that the contrasting fabric (underskirt) was supposed to be & consequently lengthened the underskirt. Long legged ladies beware: I'm shortish & it would have been approaching a miniskirt on me, unaltered you'll really be showing some leg.
For the bodice lining I used the muslin I had made, which was sewn up in the length the pattern called for. For the actual fashion fabric I jumped straight to shortening the bodice without making another muslin. Attaching the fully gathered dirndl skirt to the bodice added a touch of bulk to the waist. Having the bodice lining be longer meant that the underskirt gathers fell further down my torso without adding even more bulk to my waist.
The underskirt/lining is a thin crepe that has a sheen to it & was sewn up with French seams since the bottom would be peaking out. I didn't want to color block the panels in the bodice since I love the pattern so much. The underskirt is in white to subtly contrast with the linen color of the main fabric. To match, I made the top edge of the dress in white. The neckline seemed like it would be awfully low if I made the seam 5/8″ down, so I edged it in bias binding instead.
The dress also called for super skinny straps. I did not feel like making those. Luckily, I had an old, white bra that I had been saving for just such an occasion & sewed the straps & cups into the bodice. I cut away the rest of the bra. Now, I won't have to worry about bra straps showing under the dress' straps. I sewed the straps & cups to the dress at the stitch line on the bias tape. To further secure them to the body of the dress, I hand stitched them to the lining so that no stitches would appear on the main fabric.
While the sewn in bra doesn't feel as secure as a whole bra would, it does make getting dressed easier. The dress has a side zip. In future when sewing a bra to a side zip dress, I think I'll cut away the back portion of the bra band & keep the side portions. Then, I'll sew the sides of the bra band into the side seams, but they'll be a little shorter than the sides of the dress so that the bra hugs closer to my body without having to deal with a back clasp. Does that sound like it will work? I'm also hoping this would eliminate any unfortunate back bra fat lines. While I generally don't have a problem with those, I hate how the lines of a bra can almost always at least be seen under a t-shirt. Maybe this will get rid of that. Actually, now I think about it that's just like a built in shelf bra, but using a real bra instead of a pseudo-bra that doesn't support anyone over an A cup.