Happy first of November! Happy NaNoWriMO! Who’s doing it? C’mon, everyone ‘fess up. I’m doing it. Are you? I have 1,681 words done. That puts me 14 words ahead of goal. Yay me.

OK, down to business. I snuck a dress project ahead of Mr. Bug’s coat. This fabric was meant for my Lady Grey coat, but I realized at the last moment that I didn’t want to deal with pattern matching across a bunch of princess seams so I chickened out. Then I made a dress out of it. With princess seams. Silly me.

For this dress I used Vogue 8648, the same pattern I used to make my green wool sheath dress. The pattern comes with a straight skirt and a full circle skirt option. The full circle skirt was VERY short on me! The skirt as cut from the pattern ended where the red silk band is on my finished dress – I added the red band and the fabric below it to give it a bit more length (a huge pain.) Here’s the technical drawing.


All the changes I’ve gone through…

Since I was concerned about matching patterns, I removed the horizontal bodice seams by taping the midriff pieces to the upper bodice pieces. I also moved the zipper to the side and cut the back piece on a fold instead of two separate pieces. I had already lengthened the short sleeves to 3/4 length for my green wool dress. I also added about an inch of fabric to the inside of the shoulders – the part by my neck – since my first shot at this dress was a little wide-necked. I really love the view from the back.

The devil’s in the details

As if chartreuse and brown toile wasn’t enough, I wanted to add a bit of something extra. I found a deep red silk dupioni and scored a whole yard at 75% off because that’s all that was left on the bolt after my 3/4 yard was cut. I think the girl at Joann’s was feeling nice because I wasn’t buying costume supplies. Yay! The sleeves are completely lined in silk, and I left a 3” split at the top of the sleeves so the points turn back and show off the silk. I laboriously fashioned the red stripe at the bottom of the skirt out of bias-cut 2” strips of silk. I have enough of the red fabric left to fashion a belt and am considering sacrificing my self-fabric vintage belt buckle to the red silk belt gods. I topstitched the neckline in red because I am addicted to topstitching.

The rest of the lining is dark red polyester and the lining hem is finished with orange lace. The waist stay is orange grosgrain ribbon. Since the dress is fully lined I fastened the waist stay by stitching in the ditch in the side and princess seams and then fastened with a snap.

The hem of the dress is finished with 1” wide horsehair braid – my first time using this size rather than 1/2” – I love it, even though it’s so much more pricey.

Matching plaids

I was nervous about matching up the patterns, and I did relatively well (thanks to Tasia’s tutorial on Sewaholic!) I laid out the pattern pieces, matched up, and then basted the fabric pieces together by hand to make sure that they looked alright. Here’s a shot of the back, where you can (faintly) see the patterns matching over the two princess seams.

Zip it

One of my very favorite sewing tasks is putting in a zipper. I usually use Gertie’s method of hand-picking a side zipper.

That’s fun, but my favorite, favorite part is slip-stitching the lining to the zipper. I like slipstitching the bodice lining to the waist almost as much, but there’s nothing like slipstitching that lining to the zipper tape!

That’s it! The end! Tomorrow is my first day at a new job in addition to another 1,600 words to write and four yards of windowpane pinstripe to cut for Mr. Bug’s coat, so it’ll be a busy, busy day.

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