I just finished another dress that I absolutely love! And it was really easy to put together (and more importantly it is super comfortable!). I started with an inspiration from Anthropologie:
I love the way the fabric hangs, the ruffled neckline, and that it's a mock wrap (I think). I love the fabric too, but I wasn't married to it as the absolute only option. When I saw Butterick 5744 I waited for a sale and I snapped it up because it's perfect (not so much the model, but the drawings).
I like that this is a mock wrap dress because the real thing requires an ungodly amount of fabric (and I am a remnant shopper about 90% of the time; more than 2 yards is like finding the needle in a haystack). I did find some fabric that I liked on sale for like $2.50 per yard (score!) so I was on my way.
I only put a ruffle on the front wrap piece because a) I didn't want too much bulk where the pieces come together and b) I cut the other ruffle out wrong and didn't have enough fabric to fix it (so, basically the first reason was born from the second reason...but I like it this way better so no biggie). It's kind of hard to see the ruffle because the print is pretty busy, but it's more obvious in person.
Here's the dress without the belt. The seam allowance between the bodice and the skirt is closed in to create a casing for the elastic. The elastic makes this dress easy to get over my head (the neckline makes this possible too) and it creates some shape at the waist. I really like this method for putting in elastic because closing in the seam allowance is very simple as long as you make it large enough in the first place. I know I'm improving in my sewing skills when I actually thought about that ahead of time and made sure to leave enough room to add elastic! Go me! No rookie mistakes here!
Warning: the hemline on the skirt is already quite short! I usually have to hack off a few inches to get this length, but it was basically already there! I had to create a very shallow hem by folding about 1/4 inch. and then folding again about 3/8 in. for a total of about 5/8in.
The bodice is completely lined, which gave a nice, neat finish to the neckline and the armholes. I used a lightweight muslin for the lining because it's very breathable and light. I tried to understitch as best as I could, but since you sew the neck and armholes at the same time and then turn rightside out, it's impossible to reach some of the seams. Oh well, I have come to terms with pressing and not hating my iron (which I used to avoid like the plague), so I can press the seams after washing.
Speaking of pressing, this fabric hated it, so I used quite a bit of starch to iron it into submission. I'm almost positive that it's polyester of some kind so the rebelliousness is not surprising. It's also quite sheer, so the lining was necessary. I didn't line the skirt because I ran out of muslin, but I can just wear a slip under it so not a big deal.
I'm really happy with how this dress turned out, especially because it really didn't take much time and it didn't cause me any problems. It is sooooooo comfortable and fits great, so I think it will get a lot of wear. I also like the color because I don't have a whole lot of red in my closet, but bright colors look good on me in general because my skin is like a blank, pasty canvas.