I freakin' LOVE this dress!!! This might be my favorite thing I've made and I think I might be able to have some faith in it's ability to not fall apart because it's fully lined and I pinked all of the seams. It will, however, wrinkle like crazy because it's cotton but maybe the garment steamer will help with that.
The dress is Vogue 8766 and I made View B (upper left corner) because I thought it would make a really cute sundress. I was very curious about how the bottom ruffle was going to look (and I had my doubts), but I think it is so cute and it makes the dress unique. Did I mention that I love this dress??
Note to self: don't be lazy; change back to the 50mm before taking pictures because otherwise the pics taken with the zoom look distorted and like the top half of my body is larger than the bottom half. It's also because my husband is tall so the camera is angled down a bit. A couple of the pics make me look like a bobblehead; not attractive!
ANYWAYS, this dress was actually very easy to make and pretty quick too. I probably could have cut out the paper pattern, fabric, and put it together in a day, but I've learned that I need to take breaks or else the quality suffers. I used a lightweight muslin for the lining to add a bit more structure and to ensure that you can't see through the fabric.
And that brings me to the fabric: I used quilting cotton. Let me go off on a brief tangent in support of quilting cotton (because it gets a seriously bad reputation). I knew that I wanted stripes and that I needed a stable fabric. I looked and looked for something that would work and I didn't have any luck. I grudgingly wandered into the quilting section of Hancocks and low and behold I found THE fabric! I loved the colors, the width of the stripes, everything...so I bought 2 yards and went on my merry way. It's just another example of how much better the prints are on quilting cottons sometimes so it's hard to resist when you have a vision. Let me just say that I was not disappointed and I think the fabric was the perfect choice for this project because it's a very fitted dress and it doesn't require any flowiness and drapiness (yes spellcheck, I see your close-minded, judgmental red lines under those words but I'm sticking with them!). So back up off, you quilting cotton haters! There is a time and place for it and I love my dress!!
My stripes matching was perfect on the sides and in the center front, but I didn't really even try to match in the back. I also wanted to make the stripes horizontal on the sides and back because a) I didn't want to match stripes anymore and b) I wanted to add a bit more visual interest. I didn't want to use horizontal on the entire dress because vertical stripes are more slimming. If the stripes were wide, I'd probably think about going horizontal on the whole dress, but I am happy with how it turned out.
I got a bit creative with the way I lined this dress, and I think I made the right call. The instructions have you underlining AND lining the dress and that just seemed a bit much. It's supposed to be fitted and I worried that all that fabric would get bulky, but I was torn because there are certain aspects about each (lining and underlining) that I wanted to use. So this is what I did: I put the bodice pieces together and the lining bodice pieces and I went ahead and attached them as if it was a full lining so that the neck and arm edges would be nice and finished. I also under-stitched the lining to make it nice and crisp. What I did NOT do ahead of time was make the darts; I waited until the two bodices were put together and then I made the darts through both layers (more like what you would do with underlining). So basically I made a hybrid of underlining and lining by taking the properties of each that I like. for the skirt I just underlined with the muslin and then made the darts (so no additional separate lining). I am very happy with the results because there isn't any excess bulk around the middle from too many layers.
The dress looked really cute before I added the ruffle, so I knew if I didn't like it I could always remove it and still have something I liked. But thankfully I really do like the ruffle! And it's twirly! To gather the ruffle, I tried using 3 rows of gathering stitches as opposed to 2 and I am really happy with the way it looks. I forgot where I read that tip (I'd like to give credit where credit is due), but it was a really good one! The 3 rows really helps make the gathers more even, so I think that is something I will always do (unless I get lazy and use the gathering foot which has kind of been letting me down lately; this method worked better). I didn't really try to match the stripes because I knew with the gathering it would scrunch everything together anyway. (apparently spellcheck accepts the word "scrunch" which I'm pretty sure is a Southern version of squoosh or squish. Oh..."squoosh" is the fake word, really spellcheck? Whatever...)
I highly recommend this pattern because, I don't know if I made this clear, I love this dress!! I wore it to dinner and bowling (seriously, I bowled in this dress) the other night and I got several compliments. I'm hoping I can add a cardigan or a denim jacket and wear it to work.