I claim to have no name for this dress, but it’ll probably be the Scarlet Letter Dress.
A few quick details, before I forget them all:
-The goal was to make a winter weight sleeved dress. I wanted to avoid the complicated math of cold-weather layering.
-The fabric is a cotton twill that I purchased at Les Fabriques with a birthday gift card from my housemates. It has a slight sheen, and a nice winter-weight drape – I was comparing it to some satins that nearly came home instead, but it seemed more likely to translate into everyday workwear.
-Choosing colors is always difficult. I’m drawn to purples and blues, and then I have to convince myself to branch out in other directions (at least until I accept my fate and dress exclusively in purple). Greens are appealing, but often too springy. I looked at the blacks and grays, but since I just finished a black dress (details about that to come), it wasn’t exciting. Red is a flattering color for me, but I tend to stay away from them due to the whole Lady In Red situation (wherein I can’t wear a dress in red without feeling like I’m Trying Too Hard to be noticed…please tell me I’m not the only person who has this phobia).
My first thought was to make another simple shift dress, but the slight stretch in the cotton twill convinced me that something a bit more tailored could still be comfortable.
About the pattern:
-Starting point was Burda 7798. The pattern mock-ups are so cutesy that I’d understand if you run away. I want nothing to do with the tiny cap sleeves or those blousy peasant sleeves, but the bodice is interesting. I’ve used this pattern once – the sleeveless dress variation, made before I did my own pattern drafting.
Thoughts from this 2010 version:
-I fully stitched the darts, instead of leaving them as open pleats (which I didn’t realize was a change until I googled the pattern and saw reviews from other sewers).
-This version did NOT fit me well at the waist – the waistline was far too high, and not close to my natural waist. Because of that, I often wear it with a cardigan or belt.
-I did like the neckline, and the simple a-line shape of the skirt. Also, it was easy to assemble.
-Earlier in the year, I pulled out this pattern and did some extensive altering. I drafted my own pattern pieces for the bodice, made a great muslin, and then set it aside. Thankfully, the pattern pieces and muslin were stashed in the same location, and I knew what adjustments to make for this dress.
-For the sleeve, I traced the slope of the cap sleeve and then lengthened it using another, straighter sleeve piece. I have SO MUCH to learn about sleeves, and I seem to be determined to learn it through trial and error. (For instance, I sewed the sleeves into the dress once, tried it on, winced, then ripped them out, flipped them, and set them again, more carefully.)
-I was worried about how a sleeved version of this dress would come together, since I’d fit the bodice so closely to my arms (what I’ve discovered, in my extensive sleeve research of the past months, is that sleeved items tend to have looser armholes, while sleeveless are fitted more closely).
-I decided to cut the front of the skirt on the fold, instead of in two pieces as called for in the pattern. I also lengthened the skirt by about three inches (this is something I always eyeball, instead of measuring).
-I found a red zipper (Woo!) which was only 8 inches long (Boo!). I used it anyway, strategically placing it where a zipper is needed – the narrowest part of the dress – and decided to come up with a creative finish like this or this.
Of course, I still couldn’t resist wearing it to work today, with my favorite finishing method:
-It was easy enough to pull over my head with the safety pin, so I might just stitch the top of the dress together at the seams.