On trying new shapes

One of the things that struck me about the Wardrobe Architect series of posts on Coletterie was the post on silhouettes. Looking through the number that Sarai listed (10) I was struck by the fact that I have one – fit and flare. Occasionally I mix it up with jeans (on weekends or while traveling) or shorts (music festivals, hot summer weekends) but day in, day out I wear fit n flare. Some dresses are more flared, and I do have two pencil skirts but I thought branching out into a new shape would be interesting.

And so I give you a sheath dress, which I picked because Joan from Mad Men lives in them, and if it’s good enough for Joanie it’s good enough for me! This is Butterick 5952, described as “Lined dress has fitted bodice, waistband, semi-fitted skirt and back zipper”. The pattern also comes with a coat and belt, neither of which I have used, but I do plan on doing a dress and coat combo at some point.

Me made May day 6: cotton sateen sheath #mmmay14 #butterick #sewing #floral
I wore it to work on May 6 as part of MMMay 2014.

I cut a 16 (hello big hips and butt) everywhere except the neck/arms where I cut a 12. I added about an inch to either side from hips down. These were mistakes! For this, I honestly should have made a muslin, as I ended up making a million changes to get it to fit, and while I am happy with the fit now, I don’t think it fits quite how it should. But then neither does the version on the envelope.

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Before my many alterations, 12 in neck and arms, 16 in torso/wait and 16+ 2 inches hips down

So on to the alterations:
The neckline gaped terribly front and back. I added 2 darts to both the front and back to take out the excess.
It was loose through the torso and waist, making me look both like I have no waist and generally wider than I am. I took out about 4 inches in the waist, which tapered out just under my bust and at the hip.
I lengthened the darts in the skirt back and made them much deeper as the fabric bagged badly (maybe I do have a sway back?)
I re-cut the armholes at the back as they stuck out into my arms.
At the armhole front I made a small dart to take out the excess.

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The armholes are still not 100%

I used a floral cotton sateen with 5% spandex for a bit of stretch. unfortunately I cut with the stretch running up/down instead of across. This probably contributed to the fitting issues and does make it sit a little strangely sometimes.

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Despite the problems and the different shape, I really love this dress. On a windy day it’s so nice to not have to worry about your skirt flying up! Plus I think the floral print, which I adore, is less in your face in a more streamlined design. Next I would like to make one in a nice wool for work, lined in silk (I skipped the lining this time round). Next time I plan on doing a muslin, although I think a size 8 in the neckline, 10 in the armholes, 14 in the waist and 16 waist down will probably work well, based on the alterations I made. But I plan on making sure!

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Outtake!

Until next time!

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