Since I was intent on getting this dress done in time for dinner that night, I picked up my fabric the week before using a gift certificate for Bolt from Sara. I even remembered to get it washed and ironed. But that is where my prep ended. I forgot about the time it takes to print out the pattern, piece it together and cut out all the pattern pieces. oops.
That said, I still finished the dress that night, and only 15 minutes after we were supposed to leave.
Here's the picture of me in the dress outside of the restaurant.
Here is my thought on the pattern:
The pattern is great - very well written and designed.
Here is how I deviated from the pattern, and what I'd do differently next time:
I had a hell of a time getting the shirring right on the back of the dress. I wore it out that night, but the next day I ripped the shirring out and put in elastic and casing (as seen above). What I should have done was read the tutorial that Rae mentions in her pattern, but I was on a time crunch and didn't bother. It doesn't look good in the above photo, but in reality it's actually pretty even and does the trick. Next time I will do the shirring, and do it correctly since I think it's a nice touch. However I'd probably make it a bit lower on the dress so that it falls in the small of my back.
I might enlongate the bodice a bit too, so that the waist is a little lower.
I had a really difficult time getting the bust darts to look good. I think they're okay now, but that was the worst part of the pattern. The dress is not lined, but the top has a facing around the neck opening. I like the look of facings, versus bias-tape openings, but I hate how facings flip up when you put it on. So I ended up sewing it down (on the inside) with some double lines of stitching. I like the addition - it's subtle, but I think a solid colored dress could use a little detail. Rae has added a tutorial on her site for a partial lining, so I might try this on future dresses.
I loved the u-shape when I saw this pattern so I was eager to include it (there is also an option for just having a standard scoop neck). There is a little bit of interfacing in this area to help it keep the shape, but unfortunately it doesn't lay flat on mine (you can see a bit of curl in the photo at the right corner of the U). After wearing it for awhile I think I determined that the U is just a little too deep for my chest so I just need to adjust the size and it should lay better.
All that said, the only "real" problem comes down to one thing: I chose wrinkly fabric. I can iron this thing to within an inch of it's life, put it on, and it instantly wrinkles. I wore it to work, got out of the car, and I was a disheveled mess from the waist down. There was only one thing to do.
Chop it off.
I cut it just below the pockets so that I could keep them. However, after I took this photo I determined that the pockets will have to go too. The shape is too "belled" now, and I need to take the sides in so that it drops straight (it would make a good maternity top now). The only way to do this now is to take out the pockets, trim the sides, and sew it back up. It's a bummer to lose those pockets, but at least I'll have a nice green top.
Here I am looking out for spiders in the apple tree.