It’s me again! I made this dress quite a few months ago, back when it was Autumn in Australia. Now it’s Autumn in America so I figured I had to post photos at some point and there’s no better time than the present!
I am exceedingly proud of this dress. I have lately taken to using more commercial patterns due to frustrations with my block. Now that I’ve made a block that fits great, I can’t stop tinkering with it and trying to make it better.
That doesn’t mean I’m slacking as a seamstress, mind you. I just prefer to think of it like dinner. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to cook a meal from scratch and I’d rather put some chips and nuggets in the oven. This dress definitely involved no slacking! So I used a modified Butterick 5209 here instead of my sloper. I straightened out the neckline and pinched a tonne out of the front of the bodice (gaping everywhere).
Thanks to a cutting mishap in Spotlight (who trains these people, honestly), they had shorted me about 20cm of fabric, which annoyed me to no end because I use every last scrap of fabric, dear reader, you know I do. The print is Michael Miller’s Autumn Bouquet, and it was irritatingly expensive for me at $16 per metre.
So I ended up with about 2.3m of usable fabric and due to the repeat in the pattern and my desperation to pattern match the border print, it left me with even less.
The fabric is printed with the border along the selvage which presented a secondary problem—I had to place the pattern pieces parallel to the border. And I wanted to fussy cut each piece to perfection.
Perfection, it was! I don’t normally toot my own horn this hard, but fuck I did a great job. Butterick 5209 has a lot of very interesting and unique-shaped pieces and they demanded some very interesting placement along grainlines. Considering that all the tiny bunches of flowers printed on the fabric were very slightly different from one another, it was a tricky task to get the pattern pieces mirrored in a way that looked convincing.
Every last scrap of fabric was used to piece together the bodice! One of the biggest hurdles presented to me, was a fairly nonthreatening-looking pattern piece, the back. the only issue with the back is that there was no room for it to be cut on the fold anywhere between my other carefully Tetris-ed bodice pieces. So I made a decision and cut it in two pieces and painstakingly pattern-matched the back seam.
Success! Due to the dark nature of the fabric, the back seam is almost invisible.
Now comes huddle number 2. With the unexpected shortage of fabric, I was between a rock and a hard place for the skirt. With such a large, ornate, bold print, it demanded pattern-matching also. I unfortunately had to cut into the yardage a little more to get it to match up along one seam, but I didn’t want to do it again for the other seam.
The dress is designed with two pockets, a side zipper, and two side seams. I did not want to create a one-pocket wonder this time like I have so many times before, so I did something new.
Pocket in a dart! I didn’t take these photos until afterward (and then I used my iPad, like some kind of retiree) so the quality is a bit meh, but I had to show it off. This allowed me to keep both pockets and only leave me one side to pattern-match. Nice! With the other pocket painstakingly being sewn besides an invisible zipper, this was undoubtedly the most annoying pocket-related experience I had suffered so far in my years of sewing.
But it’s done and I’m happy. Notes for the next version is taking out a little more from the neckline (I had already taken quite a large wedge out but I think I need more) and now that I’m looking at the photos, I think I need to shorten the bodice a little too. It’s wearable and I’m tickled pink by it regardless. I hope you like it as much as I do!