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Monday, May 30, 2011

KS 3703 + 3561: The throw it on and go dress

The older I get, the more I love wearing dresses. Not only for work, but on the weekends as well. But, my big caveat is I like my dresses comfy, but still cute. For some reason, this seems to be difficult to find in stores. Yay for sewing! ;)

I loved the little racerback dresses I made last summer from KS 3703 so much and wore them to death. I wanted something for the fall/winter that had the same basic shape since it was so flattering for my pear-shaped hips, but that had a plain scoop neck and long sleeves so that I wouldn't freeze in my icebox of an office. Oh, and it had to look cute with boots. Quite the list, eh? I'd like to say that I used a bunch of fancy pattern skills to combine KS 3703 (the bodice) with KS 3561 (for the neckline and sleeves), but the truth is that I totally winged it and somehow wound up so very happy with the result.

The pattern pieces that I wound up with consisted of a fitted scoopneck dress with an a-line skirt and long sleeves. I knew that I wanted to make this out of relatively thin jersery knit fabrics, so I also added a full lining, using the dress pieces. Each shell was sewn together separately and then they were attached at the neckline, right sides together with clear elastic sewn in to provide stabilization. The sleeves were then added to the dress. I left the jersey lining unhemmed, but cut short enough to not show at the bottom and hemmed the sleeves/outside layer of the dress with a twin needle.

My inital test dress (which has since been packed away in the "Yeah, this isn't fitting until after baby" box) was a smidge too short and too tight. I mean, it fit, but it needed a little tweaking to be perfect. I adjusted my already crazy frankenpattern accordingly and cut out the next version in some Missoni look alike fabric that I grabbed from Michael Levine. I lined the dress in a nice, beefy bamboo jersey, which not only added warmth, but also smoothed everything out. It is also so comfortable against the skin - an extra bonus. Sure, I paid more for the lining fabric than the fashion fabric, but in my opinion, it was totally worth it.

To finish off the look, I made an infiniti scarf in some teal jersey using the instructions that came with the Hot Patterns Uptown/Downtown dress. After I finished this one in December, I have since worn it no less than a dozen times. I love the colors, I love the style and I especially love the fit. Oh, and the best part - almost 22 weeks pregnant and it still fits pretty well. Oh sure, it's getting shorter as the bump gets bigger, but it's nice that I'm still able to wear it since our weather is showing no signs of wanting to warm up any time soon.

And a comparison - the same dress at 10 weeks and 21 weeks

I finally got around to making another version of the dress in April out of this crazy loud floral sweater knit, also from Michael Levine.

I didn't realize just how much less stretch this fabric has compared to the teal dress though and really should have added a bit of room in the sleeves and the bust, since it's a bit more snug than I normally prefer. This was my Easter dress this year since it was so chilly and it still fit over the baby bump, so I guess the fit isn't awful. I'm guessing that (eventually) after baby it will be even better.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simplicity 3503 again

And I should just warn you now, this isn't the last of the dress for the summer. The neckline and bodice is really flattering on my ever expanding chest and not having to tweak a pattern again and again is really useful when I feel like I only have limited sewing time.

I bought this really pretty Jones and New York group jersey fabric from Mood last year and just never got around to using it. I had originally planned to make a dress from it for this year's Easter dinner, but after finishing it and realizing the weather was all yucky, it came out for a friend's bridal shower the following weekend instead.

The dress went together super quickly. I made the midriff band a little tighter so it wouldn't just hang from the bodice (one thing that bugged me in the earlier version of this dress) and I cut the front of the skirt a tad longer and with a subtle curve to accomodate the bump.

Please excuse the fact that I look exhausted in this picture. It was taken after the party and well, I was exhausted. ;)

I learned, however, that I really, really dislike the way the skirt gathers in the front and back center not only accentuate the bump, but make me look way more pregnant than I actually am. :/ I don't need to look 32 weeks along when I was only 18 weeks or so. Ugh. By the time I realized this, it was way too late to change it.

I'm planning yet *another* version of this dress for a wedding we're attending in June. For that one, I am going to use the skirt pieces from the tunic I made last month since it's a more flattering shape on me. Third time is totally the charm, right? ;)