Two thumbs up for this dress. It passed the "is it comfortable enough to wear all day at the office" test with flying colors.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I experienced some frustrations while sewing this dress, but it had nothing to do with the pattern itself. It was a combination of my fabric choice (a soft cotton/lycra knit with a lot of stretch) and the fact that I cut the bodice in a size 12 even a I was thinking perhaps I should cut a size 10. Turns out I should have begun with a 10.
The actual construction was a breeze. The pattern instructions are thorough, well-written and well illustrated. I didn't find mention of it in the instructions, but I stabilized the shoulder seams with stay tape. Sometimes I use clear elastic for this step, but the stay tape happened to be closer to the machine.
The bodice is self-lined, gathered with the right crossing over the left. All of those fabric layers are sewn to the midriff section, which also consists of two layers of fabric. See the photo below. Because of the bulk, I eliminated the inside stay facing.
By the way, the front midriff is nicely shaped with a gently curved seam. In the photo below, I lightened the bodice and skirt so you can see the seam.
The wide back waist inset is also gathered along each side seam giving a nice shape to the waist area.
I did not follow the order of construction as noted in the instructions. Instead, I sewed all of the front sections, than all of the back sections, set the sleeves in flat and then finished by sewing the side seams.
At this point I tried the dress on to make my side seam adjustments and discovered that it was way too large.
Not just take-in-the-side-seams-so-that-it-fits-snug big, but oh-drat-the-neck-shoulders-and-bodice-are-too-large big.
So I sighed a big sigh, set the dress aside and walked away from the machine for the evening. Normally this would have become a forgotten UFO tucked away inside a box only to be rediscovered years later. However, this time I decided I would persist to the very end. And I'm glad I did.
The next night I patiently ripped out all of the stitches, took apart the entire dress, recut the bodice to a size 10 and the midriff sections to a 10/12 and bravely began resewing the dress.
A much better fit, but I still needed to sew larger side seams at the midriff so that the fit was snug preventing the knit from sagging. I can't tell you for sure if it was the fit of the pattern or my knit choice so keep that in mind when you sew your dress.
I used a cotton/lycra knit purchased from Hancock Fabrics in February 2008. It is a very soft knit with a lot of stretch. I think I'll choose a different knit for the next version of this dress, perhaps an ITY knit.
So how do I know that I purchased it in February of 2008? Because I had attended a local ASG workshop featuring Pati Palmer and this was one of the knits I bought on break.
And speaking of Pati Palmer I have to share this because I found it to be such a nice gesture. When I first posted about this dress I was surprised to see an email from her in my inbox. She had sent a short note asking me to let her know how the dress turned out. I was amazed that someone with such a busy schedule would take time to send an email to just another sewer asking about a dress sewn from one of her designs. I think that was very kind of her to do so.
A full review on PatternReview can be read here.