Christmas Dress 2016

As usual at the last minute (about a week before travelling from the US to Australia with a newborn) I decided that I wanted to make a new dress to wear on Christmas day.

At least this year some sense of reality prevailed & I started off with a decision to make a simple dress with a nice patterned fabric. However, as is usually the case with my sewing, this project’s complexity quickly escalated as I started making alterations to the pattern design.

I started off with Vogue V8723 which is now out of print. Originally I was going to make it as is from the pattern, but then I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice if that bit of trim at the top of the dress went round the entire time & formed the straps?’, then I thought, ‘Australia is hot, maybe I’ll lower the neckline significantly & make it a summer dress for a hot day’.

This resulted in an afternoon of re-drawing practically all the pattern pieces to accommodate the changes. At the end of the day they weren’t difficult changes, but they required effort none-the-less. To add trim around the entire top of the dress, I basically created a facing pattern & cut out 4 pieces, (inside/outside & LH/RH). Extending the trim to form straps too a little more thought/effort, combining existing pattern pieces & re-drawing. The next challenge came sewing it all together so that the straps would kind of double back on themselves. Basically I sewed the front side of the trim & straps & pressed, then pinned them in place at the rear & sewed the rear of the trim up. It’s a pretty heavy weight woven cotton that I’d bought a year or so ago because it reminded me of pendleton fabric. The trim is from a scrap of navy linen I’d had for god knows how long. I lined the bodice with leftover white cotton poplin from another project. I even managed to find a zipper in my collection that was the perfect length so I’m going to say that this dress was practically free 😉

What I didn’t realise about the dress is how much gathering is required for the skirt, with such a thick fabric it was almost impossible to gather it that much. I manage to gather it & then in some areas I kind almost pleated it to get it to attach to the bodice. The benefit of this though is that it creates a very defined waistline without the need for any petticoats or structure in the skirt. Considering I gave birth just under 3 months ago I was really happy with how the skirt made my waist look small again!

I’m not entirely happy with the fit of the bodice though. You can see it’s not quite right in the photos. Whilst the pattern offers different bodice patterns for different cup sizes, I don’t think I picked the right one (my cup size has obviously changed since baby & I’m still trying to work out how to best fit dresses given my boobs change shape & size every few hours between feedings – if anyone has any advice on this front I’d be happy to hear it!). Because I didn’t leave myself a lot of time to make this dress I didn’t bother with making a toile or fitting it properly, I just picked a size based on my waist & bust measurements. 

This dress is clearly not breastfeeding friendly but given we were at home Christmas day, this was easy enough to work around.