Nothing says the end of summer like finishing a sun dress on Labor Day!
But that is exactly how I spent my weekend when I wasn’t focused on potty training our toddler.
I love this dress. After so much frustration with getting something to fit I am thrilled I gave it one more try before moving onto another pattern.
This is a mash up on my heavily modified Gertie bodice with the gored skirt from Cashmerette’s Upton Dress. When I made my Liberty dress a few weeks ago I made the mistake of lowering the bust darts way too much. This time I did all the same alterations only I lowered the bust dart 1/2 inch. Such a difference.
Still not 100% perfect, but oh so close. Once I tried it on I had to take it in 1/2 inch at the under arm. No big deal and easy to adjust on the pattern piece.
But damn this fits my bust well.
And in the back I got the back adjustment just right in the upper back. But then I forgot to re-add the width to the waist. Whoops! Also easily added to the pattern piece for next time. So you can see a bit of pulling there.
The fabric is a linen/cotton blend from The Fabric Store. I purchased it right after the Upton pattern came out, but then it sat in timeout while I battled my fit issues. The fabric is quite open in weave so I lined the entire dress with some bright apple green Free Spirit voile I purchased when my local fabric store went out of business. The lining took just 2.5 yards, so I still have another 3 yards of voile for another project.
Thankfully here in Southern California we’ll have warm weather for another 2-3 months so still plenty of time to wear this beauty through fall!
Getting the fit right on a woven dress continues to allude me. While my husband was away last month I spend a lot of time daydreaming about how I was going to get a better fit on my woven dresses, but I think you’ll see it is not quite there yet.
Here my my 3rd attempt at the Cashmerette Upton Dress and I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to get something that looks like the pattern envelope.
This is a mishmash of sizes now. The back is a 12 to a 14 at the waist. The front is a 12 to a 16 at the waist. I squared off the shoulders which helped some with the gaping neckline, but oh those bust darts. Bad. Not happy.
And in the back I feel like the shoulders are still wide and this is the smallest size in the pattern. It is too long in the back as well yet too tight at the waist. But when I did a larger size the waist was too large. Sigh.
The one detail I really love about this dress is the binding along the arms. It was sent to me in a knitters swap a lot time ago. I have tried pairing it will so many projects and it never quite worked. But I thought is was quite lovely paired with the loominous fabric of this particular dress.
The skirt is actually from this Lisette dress failure from earlier this year. I’m happy to give at least half the fabric a second life in something I will actually wear regularly even if the fit isn’t perfect!
I also wanted to acknowledge I am probably being hard on myself. I’ve said it before, but I need to repeat it for my own benefit. This dress, even with all its issues is nicer and better fitting than anything I could buy in a store. When it comes to light as air summer dresses the loominous fabric is amazing, but I still hold out hope that I can nail down a summer dress fit before I need to switch into winter sewing mode.
This week I decided to tackle the Upton Dress again. I thought my last version was too big so this time I went down one full size to a 12 in the shoulders/bust and a 14 waist/hip. But before I talk about the outcome, can we admire my fabric choice?
I looooooooove this fabric, a cotton sateen I bought on sale at JoAnn’s. It’s not often that I find something so wonderful in that big box filled with disgruntled employees. In fact I’d been all ready to compare JoAnn’s to purgatory, but then I had the best visit I’ve ever had. I found this fabric, the customer services was down right friendly, and they actually had almost everything I needed in stock.
Anyways this is a stretch sateen. It was marked hand wash/dry on low and I almost passed it by because I’m not hand washing my dresses. But it was inexpensive and I decided it wouldn’t be a huge loss if I washed it and ruined the fabric. Thankfully it survived the maiden journey just fine.
And the dress turned out quite lovely, but I have a couple grumbles. This is the smallest size through the shoulders and still feels wide. I know others loved the open neckline, but its maybe a touch too much for me. It is still a hair too wide in the back.
My other grumble is the skirt feels much narrower than 64 3/8″ through the hip. I roughly measured and it came up more like 58″, but I’m not going to stress about it. As you can see in the photos it looks good. But it feels constricting though the stomach even though the fabric has good stretch for a woven. What is likely the issue is that my hips go out in a dramatic fashion. Much faster than the hip curve of the pattern. And most of the tester versions I’ve seen are on ladies who have slimmer hips than my build. So the gored version just isn’t as nice to wear as the pleated skirt.
The back turned out totally awesome. I’ve really been nailing the invisible zip installation recently and I’m a huge fan of the V neckline in the back.
So I’m going to wear this a few more time and see how I feel before I made another. I have a few yards of some linen that would be just perfect for this pattern, but I want to feel more confident before breaking it out. Maybe the solution is a 12/14 back and a 12/16 front. I think also a different dart shape for the front lower bust darts. All easy fixes when I’m ready.
Also, I realize I’m nit picking. This dress is about 1000% better than anything I could buy commercially. We went to a party last night and someone who works in fashion complimented my dress! It was really exciting.