Applebymakes is 2 years old this month! Hasn’t it gone quick? The Monthly Stitch is also celebrating it’s 2nd anniversary and I thought that this dress fits into their ‘2’ theme. The dress in question is the Pauline Alice Cami dress and I was seduced into buying it by lots of lovely versions of it in blog land!
I bought the reversible fabric from Dewsbury on a blogging meetup and I knew then it was destined for a shirt dress. I wanted a pattern that really showed off the the reversibleness (?) of the fabric.
I semi-followed the sew-along on the Pauline Alice website. Like a good sewer I knocked up a quick toile of the front, the back and one sleeve. I cut out a size 40 (UK size 14 approx) at the bust and graded out to a size 42 at the waist and tried it on. It fitted nicely across the back and shoulders. My boobs and waist wouldn’t fit into it though – far too small! It was also like a cropped top – not a look I rock thanks to my Bryn-belly. I made another toile, this time lengthening the bodice an inch, grading the waist even more to a size 44. This is the biggest size! I also carried out my first ever FBA which was quite fun! I worked out that I needed a good inch in the boob area. The bodice only has waist darts but carrying out an FBA created a bust dart. I didn’t mind this at all but is there a way of carrying out an FBA without creating bust darts?
Shall I start with the good things? The messing around with the fit mostly paid off and I love the shirt part of it. I folded the button placket back on itself to reveal the gingham which I really like. I also made the collar and cuffs in the gingham and the effect is just what I wanted. I originally was going to have a patch pocket in the gingham too but changed my mind as I thought it may be a bit too much.
The cuffs were fun to do. They went on like a giant piece of bias binding really. My top stitching is not too bad either thanks to my ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot. The collar was constructed in a different way to how I’ve done it before and it was here things started to go wrong really. I made a small mistake on constructing the collar and got a pucker (shock horror!) so I unpicked it. It was here that I realised that I couldn’t really unpick this fabric because it has a loosely woven texture and I was more likely to pull out the woven threads than my stitching threads. I only needed to unpick a tiny bit though so I got it done but it did take a while. That wasn’t too bad but when I attached the collar to the bodice I didn’t align the two sides up properly at all.
Ooops! One side is a good half inch higher than the other side and all because of my inability to follow a seam allowance guide on my machine. Mistakes like that would nomally be unpicked right away but I knew I’d make it worse if I tried that. I decided not to put a button on the neck stand (I would never have it buttoned to the top anyway) and hopefully no one will notice! The other thing I didn’t notice until too late was the fact that one of my waist darts eliminated a white stripe but it’s still there on the other side. Now it’s made up it’s glaringly obvious to me.
The skirt part was really straight forward. The plaid made it very easy to cut out the rectangles nicely and I kept the selvage at the bottom which meant I could be lazy and not bother hemming it! This is the first time I’ve ever sewed side-seam pockets (it was dead easy) but unfortunately, thanks to my one-inch lengthening of the bodice, they are now too low down to be much use!
Looking at these photos my daughter did a good job of taking them and they’re starting to make me feel a little bit better about my dress. When I first tried it on I really didn’t like it at all. I didn’t think that the gathered skirt did me any favours at all and I felt enormous in it. I love the bodice (apart from the collar and missing stripe) and I think the pattern can be hacked to make an excellent shirt pattern, especially since I’ve fiddled about with the fit. I’d love to know what you think of it. What could I do to change it?
In other news…..
Look who’s been visiting our garden! Apparently it’s a Californian Quail. Not a native so probably escaped from an aviary somewhere. He’s been here all weekend and the early week but I’ve not seen him for a day or two now. I hope a cat hasn’t got him!