Dressmaking 101

For quite a while,  I’ve been itching to try my hand at dressmaking. I made myself a knit dress a few years ago, but that just didn’t click for me.

Enter B5748. This is a reprinted vintage dress pattern from the 1960s. I have loved it ever since I realized that most of Andi Satterlund’s dresses were a version of this pattern. I purchased the pattern on a sale and have had it looking at me since last summer. For some reason I recently decided to give it a go. I had fabric and yarn that were meant to go together and the sweater was cast on, so the dress had to follow soon. I started by making a muslin of the bodice:

 

I noticed some gaping in the back shoulders and a fair bit of extra fabric above my bust. After some thought and tinkering, I decided to lower the bust darts a smidge and take out a bit of the top back shoulder strap. I’m not sure if that was the best method for taking care of the gappy shoulders, but that’s what I did. The re-worked muslin fit much better.

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Not perfect, but definitely workable. With that, I got rolling. Now, as this was my very first fitted (very little ease in the bust) and one of only a handful of garments I’ve sewn, I was a little nervous about the brief instructions in the pattern. They really don’t go over the top with helping you out. That’s probably ok for some people, but I wanted someone to hold my hand.

Enter Gertie. In my pattern stash, I have a copy of the Night and Day Dress by Charm Patterns. One of the versions is a fairly similar style, so I tried out a muslin of that bodice as well.

 

Much worse! I think I straight up cut the wrong size. Certainly the bust is way too large, but the back is so tight! There is work to be done there. With all of that, I decided to go ahead with b5748 but use the pattern instructions from the Gertie pattern. That worked like a charm!

I wound up making a few modifications to the dress in the end. I switched from a side zip to a lapped zipper in the center back. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. The lapped zipper turned out fine, though I could use some practice. But the top of the zipper pulls a bit, and I wonder if that would just work better at the side.

Much as I wanted a full circle skirt, with the 44″  wide fabric and directional print it was not meant to be. I didn’t want flowers laying over on their sides! I wound up self-drafting a gathered skirt, more or less with success. I added pockets as well, because, well, pockets, damnit.

With all of that said, let’s take a look! I’m pretty stinking proud of this one.

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This fabric is by Anna Maria Horner – I was inspired to use this thanks to a remarkably similar the exact same dress on Andi Satterlund’s blog. It’s 100% cotton and sturdy and soft and lovely. This is one project where the inside is nearly as pretty as the outside:

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Gertie’s instructions really made a difference in how the finished product turned out.

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I love the neatness! I kind of can’t believe I made this. All-told this wasn’t too bad of a project. I think it was a good starter dress. It isn’t perfect, but that’s ok. I can’t wait to dive in and make another dress!

Pardon the nighttime photos and not-so-lovely set-up. I need to step up my outfit photography if I’m going to be making dresses!

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Truth be told, this dress makes me feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure if I’ll go straight for another b5748 or try to get a Night and Day bodice that works, but this style is hitting on all cylinders for me. Now to get cranking on a closet full!


Happy making!

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Dressmaking 101

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