There are some projects that are intimidating. You don’t know why. You’ve been doing this for so long, if anyone can handle it, you can. Yet for some reason, it keeps getting pushed aside and pushed aside. Such was the case for my turquoise floral knit dress. There are a lot of pieces to that bodice, and no princess seams whatsoever, so fitting it to a large-chested and narrow-waisted figure is tough to do. In the interest of #sewmystash2019, I decided to buckle down and just give it a go. I’m not much of a knit dress kind of person, and I am very picky about length of my skirts and dresses, so I wasn’t sure about this piece. But I’m so glad I persisted. This really is a great piece for the warmer weather. There’s something so incredibly simple about throwing on a knit dress in the summer with sandals. It’s easy, yet looks so put together.
The fabric was purchased five years ago in a now defunct local shop, and is very nice quality. I’m picky about knit fabric. The pattern I used was the now out-of-print Simplicity 2443, a Cynthia Rowley design:
I sized the pattern to fit through the bustline, then adjusted along the sides. However, I found that, due to the design, it was pooching out above the bust and had to be taken up at the two points above the breasts where the bodice meets the yoke. This was a little tricky. The yoke was basted to the bodice, so after making the necessary markings on the bodice piece, I took out just enough stitching in these sections to line the markings up with the yoke, laid my tailor’s ham under the section being worked, and hand-basted the section along the markings. Doing this gave me a much better fit when I sewed it together by machine.
The extra tricky part of it all is that I always line the bodices of my dresses, for a better overall silhouette and more professional look. So I had to do the above process TWICE. This, coupled with the fact that the dress has a waistband, made adjusting the waistline tricky. It took many tries, not only to get the fit, but to get the side with the zipper to lay smoothly. It took half of a season of Mad Men to get it to mostly lay right. I ended up hand-sewing the invisible zipper to get the results I wanted. Sewing it by machine made it wavy time and time again. I was about to lose my mind, so I just figured if the prairie women from the days of yore could hand stitch entire gowns full of massive skirts, a little hand-sewing in this dress wouldn’t kill me.
I added top-stitching to my bodice, even though the pattern didn’t call for it. I’m happy with the results. I really hope this dress gets the wear it deserves, for all the work I put into it. Now, the weather just needs to get a touch warmer…