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!