I did it guys. I finally made something I can't pick apart and criticize and beat myself up for failing to execute such and such perfectly. Because I F*CKING LOVE THIS DRESS. Like, make it breakfast every morning and read it e.e. cummings in bed love. Like, buy a ticket to Vegas and elope love. And just like the first time you fall in love with um, a person, I can't stop talking about it and hanging out with it and it feels so strange and exciting and new.
This minty-kelly green and white striped cotton called to me from a cheapo fabric store after a long day of spending too much money. I talked myself out of buying it (even though it was only $3/yd!) but had a strong "you must go back and get 4 yards of it" vibe so I listened. I wanted to experiment with some chevron action, and browsed the big 4 websites for hours until I found one I thought had some potential. This Butterick 5605 had a seam running down the centre of the bodice which would facilitate the chevron effect. The gussets allowed me to run the stripes horizontally on the side and i figured I'd run vertical stripes on the skirt. And I loved that little button strap detail on the back.
I asked you guys for your opinion on necklines and skirt shapes last week, but ended up sticking with my original plan of high neckline and short circle skirt. I had to do some serious figuring to work out how to cut the circle skirt and still get the vertical lines. The diagram I found here seemed to make the most sense, and I like the chevrons that happened where I matched my seams.
The real bitch of this baby was those damn gussets. They were nearly my undoing on this dress. The sharp pivot needs to be sewn VERY PRECISELY or else you get some major puckering. I found this great video on a Pattern Review write-up and Karen at Did You Make That had some good tips as well. Super invaluable. Thank donuts for all you wonderful knowledge-sharing sewing miracles out there, all your wisdom available after 2 seconds of googling. Couldn't have done it without you.
I modified the pattern a little to make it feel more modern. I shortened the sleeves about 2", cut it into a mini and added one of my signature exposed zippers (I wasn't planning on doing this but found a perfectly matching kelly green and gold zip at a great old-school notions store where i found my carved plastic button, and just couldn't resist). Sallie suggested I do an exposed zip tutorial for all of you, and as much as I love you and want to share in the wisdom-sharing, I haven't had a chance to properly put one together. So in the meantime, here is a very helpful Burda tutorial that should explain things to you should you be considering adding this fun detail (DO IT!).
As for fit, I did a muslin for the first time! I cut a 14 but it was way too big so went down to a 12, taking the shoulders down and taking in even more at the waist. Maybe a bit too much. There is ZERO ease on this dress which makes for an awesome fit but also means I had to unzip it to eat fried chicken in the park this weekend. Classy. Lined it with a cotton batiste at the bust but left the skirt unlined since the cotton is quite thick and sturdy.
I love that it doesn't really look like a 50's era dress at all. I feel like a thoroughly modern Millie when I wear it, and it's garnered more attention than almost anything I've made yet. Both men & women were stopping me to say how much they loved it - when do men ever do that? It's a magical, magical dress. Which is why I'm debating remaking it for the Tessuti challenge. According to the rules you can use commercial patterns, and I'm not feeling brave enough to draft my own design in such a short period of time. What do you guys think? Is it dumb to enter a competition like that with a commercial pattern? Now that they've opened it up to world-wide entries it feels ridiculous to even consider it, but I'm mighty tempted.
Off on a little mini road trip with some homies to see one of my favourite podcasts (Uhh Yeah Dude) do a live taping in Boston. Gonna eat lots of fried seafood, laugh my ass off and maybe take an ocean dip. I'm bringing the dress. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
(Big thanks to my lovely friend Dara for taking these magic hour alley shots for me!)