I bought this fabric from Fabricana - I loved it too much to pass up. I'm consistently wary of the quality of their fabric, but this was supposedly made in France and more expensive than you'd expect a viscose knit to be, so I hoped that it would be decent. I managed to get this dress out of less than 1.4 metres, which means that I have enough for a second Bronte Top! (I promise that I will blog about my first soon...)
I also bought some cream-coloured bamboo jersey, which I intended to make into a collar, but I decided that it would be too much. I wanted the focus to be on the gorgeous fabric!
I decided on version 1, the sleeveless, lined version, and used the bamboo jersey as lining instead. I lengthened it 2", because I wanted this version to be more elegant and classic, something that could work as a casual summer dress, but still be dressed up. With this 60's vintage dress in mind, I also raised the neckline 1 1/2" to a boatneck, which you can't actually see that well in any of these photos because my hair is in the way. Oops!
After the bodice of my first version was too long, I shortened it by 1 1/4", although for my third version (yes, I made a third...), I shortened it another 1/4", and will probably do the same
This dress came together so quickly - most of it was done in an afternoon. The method of finishing the lined armholes took me a few minutes to wrap my head around, but once I figured it out, it was quite straightforward (and rather ingenious, actually).
At this stage, I realized that the armholes were too big. I didn't notice in my first version, because it had sleeves, but they gape just slightly, and show a bit of the side of my bra. I tried a couple ways of fixing it, including taking in the side seams, and sewing in some slightly gathered elastic, but nothing seemed to work, so I decided that I would live with it. I just have to make sure I wear a bra that is close in colour with it.
Once I got to the gathering the skirt, I copied my 60's dress once again, and gathered the skirt only at the sides.
To do this, I measured the elastic the same as usual (although I made it a little smaller - I find that even after stretching it before using it, it stretches a little as you use it to gather the skirt). I then pinned the elastic for 3 inches on either side of the centre, both front and back, without stretching it. I stretched the rest evenly as I sewed, and then it just so happened that where the gathering started matched exactly with the notches on the bodice. I really like how it looks! It's more noticeable in real life than in these photos, and it would stand out even more in a solid colour.
The last thing that I changed for this version was that I hemmed using a stretch blind hem, rather than a twin needle. I usually prefer to hem by hand than use a machine blind hem, but I needed the stretch in this one so I thought that I would try it. It worked beautifully! I has a decent amount of stretch (although the stretch is limited by my serging, not the blind stitch, oddly enough), and is nearly invisible. My stitching is far from perfect (in fact, I had to go back and re-do a few sections), but the stitches where I caught too much of the fabric get lost in the print anyways.
This dress has turned out to be really versatile. I've worn it lots as a casual dress, and dressed it up with heels to wear to my gradtuation ceremony (under that ridiculous gown you have to wear).
Only minutes before heading out the door for the ceremony, I decided that I really didn't like the pockets. In such a drapey fabric, they really bunched up and added bulk at the hips. As a quick fix, I tacked the pockets by hand to the front of the skirt. It doesn't show, and I keep meaning to go back and do a neater job, but it did the trick!
I'm still not entirely sure that pockets in knit dress work all that well, but I'll wear this one a few more times before I make up my mind.
I'm so happy with how this dress turned out! As much as I love full-on vintage dresses, I find that what I wear most of the time is classic, comfortable, feminine styles with a vintage vibe - and this fits the bill perfectly!
Thanks for reading!
Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)