Playing Catch-up and a Cote D’Azur Dress

This was a dress that started its life as part of my Mise En Place project over the fall.

Recently Amy of Sew Well asked me if I was back to working on one project at a time, or working on multiple garments at once. Coincidentally, I had just pulled out the remaining garments I cut for that project. My serger went on the fritz toward the end of a silk jersey dress, and I never got around to finishing the rest of the them so they’ve all been on my to-do list this spring!

One of the motivations behind the Mise En Place was to find an organizational system for myself. It seemed like every time I got down to actually sewing something I’d be missing something important–thread or notions, or forgetting to fuse part of the fabric and then having to salvage wadded up fusing. And it would just take so long to finish. I just wanted to sit down at the machine and sew when it was time to sew! This time I had a real pleasure out of having eight different projects all prepared to go, cut out, bundled up with their requisite notions, fused, etc. No more running out for something at the last minute. I liked pretending I was a small factory sewer for a moment.

I also really like working on the same type of project for extended periods of time. So all said and done it was a good experiment, allowing me to give all that attention to individual stages of the process. (And I got much faster at tracing patterns and refining seam allowances as a result.) Thinking eight projects ahead was fun, but I don’t know if I could do that all the time–no room for whimsy or the latest pattern a blogger made and I just have to have!

Speaking of which, I’ve been having a hard time coming up with a summer wardrobe sewing plan. There are just so many good ideas swirling around my head and my original list was about 10 or so garments. I’d love to join one of the palette challenges and I’m wondering if three is a better number. Leaving room for whimsy. I love the Me Made concept, too–but I think my personal challenges in the months ahead relate to fitting more than wardrobing. (I’m dreaming of a custom dress form. Just dreaming, at the moment.)

Anyways, that was a long answer to Amy’s question but I’m trying hard to put periods on some of my ellipses!

Now that you’ve made it this far: the dress!

Pattern: HP Cote D’azur Dress. Last summer I really wanted to try a Hotpatterns pattern. (And that sounds funny funny.) I have a few that I bought in some mad discount. I figured a knit dress was a good way to start.

Fabric: This is a somewhat weightier rayon jersey (I think 14 oz?) and it was purchased for a draping project for a friend, as a birthing dress. I will have to share that story some day but it remains my second ever draping attempt and it was a blast. Anyway, I’d ordered far more than her dress needed just in case.

Details: This is basically a t-shirt dress with seams down the center back and front. Super simple, the whole thing is serged. The special part about it is the bias shaping down the center front seam that forces it to drape as it does. (Sort of like a cut-on godet?) It also has hem facings, which I like, because it allows a for the nice, curvy hem shaping.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about a design with a gathered seam going down the bust, but I decided to give it a shot and just use up my fabric. It’s pretty cute, I think. I like the fact that it’s a maxi (or midi?) and that it’s purple. I’m not very good at binding knits yet, and I had to rip out this binding THREE times to get that V right, but I’ll get there.

One word about fit: I didn’t measure or alter this pattern before cutting (a risk, I know). And there were no reviews of it on PR at the time–but I learned afterward how much bustage is in this pattern. If I did this again I’d take out some little darts in along the neckline and gathers. (This review is helpful in explaining that.) Guaranteed, if you are a B or below, you will have to do some bust adjustment for this pattern. It’s not an ideal fit for me, as you can see:

It doesn’t bother me too much because the overall dress is nice, and looks even better when I don’t have a belt on–it weighs downward. There is a t-shirt version of this, which I doubt I’ll make but if I did there’s no way I could get away without taking it in in this area. Yes, this is going to be the summer I learn about small bust adjustments. No more balloons of fabric!

Summer + maxi(midi) dresses + my iris garden = happiness. (Sadly the irises have all bloomed and left by now!)

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