Well I've finished it, at last. My Garden Party Dress. I came across this dress a few years ago whilst on my blogosphere travels and loved it. It's simple and modern but with a vintage vibe. It's a free pattern so I decided to give a whirl and have to say that I was impressed. It is beautifully presented, clear instructions and pattern. There are 2 options each for sleeves, neckline and skirt, which ain't bad for a freebie! About 2 years ago, I was in my local crafty gift shop and spied a length of Art Gallery fabric. It was enough for a dress and so found it's way into my sweaty little paws. I later decided to marry it with the Garden Party Dress.
I had to make quite a few changes to the pattern. The bodice is fairly fitted and because I suffer from back neck gaposis on dresses, I decided to do a size 12 with an FBA, and to be fair, having to do an FBA is a standard alteration for me these days. However, Miss Honig Design must be a tiny petite thing as the bodice was waaaaaaaay too short; I'm not even talking crop top here , more bolero length on me! But, changes made and it went together pretty well..........at toile stage.
You know sometimes there are clothes that just refuse to play nicely, well this was one of them. I pinned the pattern to the fabric, was just about to cut it all out, when I remembered that I had to pattern match it, so off it all came. Next day, I laid out the skirt (which I hadn't done the day before) and found the front skirt was too wide for the fabric, so a bit of jiggery-pokery on a quick pattern alteration and the skirt was cut out, with the panels on the front skirt nicely matching. I then managed to arrange the bodice have it match beautifully across the back bodice, only to realise I had forgotten to match the back skirt, doh! It was this point, the dress got its alternative name. A friend spied it on the back of the chair midway through making, and (ever the truthful person I am), explained the mishap. "So what are you going to do?" she asked. "Sit on my bum and do nothing when I'm wearing it!" said I! And actually, truth be told (see, I told you, ever truthful), it would have been impossible to match the back skirt as I didn't have enough fabric (that's the trouble with a pre-cut length!) though I did try!
Anyway, it all went together beautifully, I managed the concealed zip without a concealed zipper foot although the zip did come out once! The difficulty came attaching the skirt to the bodice. The skirt was a size 16 and the bodice a 12 so the skirt pattern markings didn't match the bodice. I eyeballed it, sewed it all together and found I had the pleats going the wrong way on one side. So out it came and then it didn't line up with the waist dart, so out it came again. Third time lucky, hurrah!
Here's the dress in all its glory. I don't love it but I will wear it. I love the dress style, it is very easy to wear and is a lovely swishy skirt (even in cotton and lined with cotton), not too much for daywear.........just maybe not in this fabric. I don't normally wear pattern (actually, I don't normally wear dresses but I'm trying to change that!) so it is quite a departure in style for me. There are a few niggles: it is a bit baggy under the bust in the ribcage area. I tried to fix it but the waist darts were going right up to the bust point and I'm not a fan of the pointy boob look! I have since found a potential fix but will leave it on this dress for now. Also the armholes are a bit tight and need adjusting; I think this is the difference in toile fabric (an old duvet cover and then curtain lining, both of which are softer than the fabric I used for the dress) compared to the dress fabric. But I love the style. Think I'm going to try tweaking it and make a couple of wintry dresses, using the long sleeve option. But I really do suggest you try it. It's a lovely pattern and with so many style options.......a girl can never have too many dresses, right?
And again excuse the semi-ferocious face......I really must learn to make more time for photo-taking rather than throwing my camera at Little Miss as we are rushing out the door!