Sunday, 16 August 2015

Garden Party Dress

I finally finished my Garden Party Dress.  I initially intended this for a Mother's Day brunch, but it soon became a UFO ("un-finished object" for those non-sewers).  So it feels good to have it completed now.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  It fits extremely well, and I feel very comfortable in it. 

Fitting and Alterations:  I made a size 12 C bodice grading to a size 14 at the waist on side seams and bodice front pieces.  I kept the back bodice piece a straight size 12 because the fit of the back was nice.  I thought I had compensated for these changes in the skirt, so the seam lines match but the side front skirt panels did not match the bodice. I still don't know exactly why.   Rather than take the skirt apart and re-cut those pieces after working so hard to underline them,  I just made small pleats in those pieces.  I kind of liked the extra fullness so there we go, a happy mistake!

I raised the neckline by 1/2" just because I thought it looked better on me that way.  I had to take in 1/4" for neckline gaping as well.  I hemmed the skirt at 3/4" instead of 1".

I used a few hand sewing and couture techniques that I think really contributed to the quality of this dress.  I love how the underlining creates beautiful structure in the bodice and body in the skirt.  The bodice is underlined with muslin, and the skirt is underlined with silk organza.

I also did a hand-picked zipper. Let me tell you, this is my new favourite way to put in a zipper! You just have so much more control putting it in by hand.  I used regular polyester thread doubled.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to use a slightly thicker thread.  You can barely see the tiny pick stitches and I think it would be a nice texture if they were a little more visible.  I don't know, maybe that's strange, but next time I think I'll try it.

Fully lined with soft cotton batiste, my favourite lining for summer dresses.  It's cool, soft, and absorbent on hot summer days. Plus,  I love knowing that it looks good on the inside!

Inner Workings:  Here's the stitching of the back lining to the waistline seam allowance which will not show once the bodice lining goes in.

I really enjoyed sitting down and slip stitching the bodice lining to the zipper and the waist seam.  I just love closing it up and making it all neat and tidy!

I trimmed the seam allowances in the hem area down to 1/4" to reduce bulk.  I pulled out all that silk thread I used for underlining, after I sewed the hem.

I hemmed the skirt by hand (another excuse for hand sewing!).  The good thing about underlining is that I could make the stitches completely invisible from the right side by slip stitching to the silk organza underlining.  Once again, yay silk organza my sewing hero! :)

Well, that's it for my tour of the Garden Party dress.   Thanks for joining me and until next time!
Happy Sewing!

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