I did need a lot of patience for this dress. I started back in February last year, hoping I could finish it before winter was gone. Alas, this did not happen, and when the weather warmed up I was not in the mood of sewing a warm woolen winterdress. So it sat in my sewing space for nearly a whole year. When I put it out a few weeks ago, I had so many issues to deal with that I was not sure if I could finish it this year in time. But I did and have worn it already twice.
The fabric is a 100% wool sweater knit from Anita Pavani. The fabric is lovely and very warm, but also quite expensive. So when I pulled the dress out of its corner this winter, I wasn’t pleased at all to notice a lot of wholes. Some tiny, some not so tiny. There was nothing else for it but to sit down and mend the fabric. Did anyone else had to mend a dress before it was finshed? I unripped some thread from scraps for this so that the mending would be as unobstrusive as possible. I counted 12 wholes, and just yesterday I discoverd two more….Lesson learned: don’t throw your unfinished projects in a corner for one year.
The dress is lined with pongé silk. I just love the combination of wool and silk and have used this pongé already a lot. I bought it at a reasonable price at buttinette, and it is OK, but for the future I would like a silk that is not see through.
It was an experiment to combine a stretchy fabric with a non-stretch lining. The wool knit obviously stretched out a bit (I put the dress on like a thousand times while fitting the sleeves). When I sewed the lining into the dress I had to release the darts at the skirt and the princess seams to make it fit.
I described the alterations I made to the bodice already here. I fiddled a long time with the sleeves. First, I raised the bottom of the armscye, because when I raised my arms the entire dress would move with my arms. Then I was not happy with the sleeve cap. I thought I could shape the fabric with steaming to decrease the excess fabric but this did not work. In the end I cut off 2 cm of the sleeve cap height (forthe lining I cut off only 1 cm to have a bit more ease for the woven fabric).
I sewed the complete dress on my regular sewing machine. Somehow I did not want to use my serger. Shoulder seams and the seam allowances for the zipper are reinforced with silk organza strips.
All seam allowances are catch stitched down. This was only possible as the fabric is quite thick. Nevertheless I had to make sure to only pick one thread so that the stitches would not show through on the outside.
I put the zipper into the side seam. It was the first time that I did this. It is nice, because the zipper is quite unobstrusive and I can close it by myself, but I find it more difficult to get into the dress. So, not sure if I will do this again or not. First I made a handpicked lapped zipper, but that was just too bulky, so I ripped it out and sewed in an invisible zipper by machine. So much better!
The sleeve lining is cut on the bias to have more give. Obviously when I cut the lining last year I did not have enough fabric because the sleeves were too short. So I had to sew on some fabric scraps. Because of the bias the seams are a bit wonky, but nobody will ever see this.
To add a bit more interest to the dress I added black ribbon at the waist and made a little bow. I copied this idea from one of the dresses in Gerties ultimate dress book. So simple, but makes a plain dress less boring.
There is no question, this dress is really comfy and I can even ride my bicycle without problems. I am not sure, though, if I would like to have it a bit more fitted. Also, for a winter dress, I would have liked to have the back neckline a bit higher. All in all I am just happy to have this long project finished and I am itching to try the bodice for a new dress, maybe with a circle skirt.