Polka dots plus this shade of blue-gray. If everything else on this dress had gone wrong, it was still worth it to play all weekend with this beautiful fabric.
A while ago I came across the Garden Party Dress on honigdesign’s fantastic blog. It was inspiring to see that she had made it herself in several different variations (the original, wintery version, wintery version with lace), and also to see pictures from other blog readers who made the dress (here and here).
So: an easy pattern that looks good in many fabrics and on several different body types… what’s not to love? But of course I am incapable of following a pattern to the letter, so I had to change a couple things. The most major change was to not have any exposed unfinished seams inside, which was easy enough to do by attaching the sleeves in a different way (sewing them in between the bodice and bodice lining) and adding a lining to the skirt (this covers the seam attaching the skirt to the bodice). The silky lining is also so that I can wear the dress with tights and not have that tights+dress=entangling-love-story thing going on. I didn’t think enough about the order of things and ended up having to hand-stitch part of the zipper, boo. Next time I should finish the zipper parts before sewing the bodice to the skirt.
Another smaller change I made was to cut the skirt somewhat longer. I added 5″ when cutting it out and then hemmed it normally (without the hem band) and the skirt ended up at just knee-level for me.
And of course, I added pockets. Got to have pockets. I went back and added them after I had finished the dress.
Overall I really loved this pattern, although there were some drawbacks: as I said, the skirt is too short for me, but that’s an easy fix. I might try with a longer zipper next time, because the dress is fairly fitted and it’s an interesting wiggling act to pull it on. Also, there is a mistake in the pattern (or else I just missed something) with the notches to align the sides of the skirts.
On the other hand, the pros of this pattern are many. The biggest one being (this won’t be true for everyone but) for me the fit was just great. Especially considering that according to the sizing chart my bust, waist and hips are a 10/12, 14/16, and 12 respectively. I ended up going with the size 12 and the fit is nearly perfect. The only thing I would change for my linebacker shoulders is to cut the shoulder a bit straighter across from the top of the armscye. Speaking of armscye: I would love to try a sleeveless version of this dress. I think the fit is close enough to make it work. Next weekend’s project, maybe … ?