Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jamie Dress Sew Along Completed

Things I should have done this weekend: cleaned, read the ridiculously convoluted 700-page book for my book club meeting next week, and done our taxes. But since a friend pointed out that taxes aren't due until the 18th this year I figured I could safely put that last item off until next weekend. Instead, I went ahead and made the dress for Sew Sweetness' Sis Boom Jamie Dress sew along.

The pattern is wonderfully easy to follow with oodles of helpful diagrams and nothing more complicated than sewing a zipper. And even with that their instructions and method make that a piece of cake. The dress is also super cute. The trouble is, it might just be a little too cute for the likes of me. I'm sure I'll wear it but probably more as a special occasion dress, not as an everyday running errands sort of outfit since I'm usually a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. I'm still not sold on the gathered skirt as being suitable for anyone not young enough to shop in the junior's section and I'm not convinced it's flattering on anyone other than a super skinny girl. Heck, upon channel surfing last night and finding myself unable to tear myself away from the last hour of Pride and Prejudice I noted that the costumes were remarkably similar in design to this dress. Even stick thin Keira Knightley looked like she'd been hitting the Oreos a little too hard in the face of so many gathers.

To solve that problem I might dust off my trusty 9th grade math skills and do some geometry to make a pretty half-circle skirt like Kitschy Coo did with her funky zebra print dress. Unfortunately, from a quick glance at the tutorial, this will involve some time to work the numbers and draft the pattern but I think from seeing her results that's the sort of skirt I'd like.

I'm also not pleased with the bra strap situation. When I saw the pattern I was pleased that the straps on the dress are wide enough to cover a bra strap. Which would be the case if the placement of the straps weren't so awkward. After seeing others struggle with this same problem I went out and bought a convertible bra today figuring that one of the five options would work without having to resort to the dreaded strapless bra option. Alas, if I could get the straps hidden in the front that meant that they peeked out in the back, and vice versa. If there were an easy way to fix that I'd try that next time around.

I also had a small snafu when trying to thread the strap into the bodice when one of my seams connecting the bodice outer to the lining burst at the edge. I probably wasn't being as gentle as I should but next time I'll probably reinforce that seam and skip cutting the seam allowance as it's only a 1/4" seam, which shouldn't add too much bulk. To properly fix it would have meant taking apart the entire bodice so instead I went the lazy route and did some top stitching that I hope isn't too noticeable.

Per Sara's recommendation I did size up and cut the bodice and waistband out in large, which turns out to have been unnecessary for me. Considering that I put on my most padded bra and still was on the low end of the medium measurements I sort of figured I'd wind up taking it in but am glad I erred on the side of caution. Her other recommendation to try it on frequently during the process was a great one. I tried on the dress after I'd pinned the skirt to the bodice and decided to cut 10.5 inches of fabric off from each skirt piece, reducing some of the bulk of the gathers.

I also continued the waistband around the back of the dress, again based on dresses I'd seen others make. I figured because I was using a contrasting fabric for that part it would look more complete with that change. If you're interested in trying out this pattern for yourself I recommend you visit the Flickr group for the sew along and see what everyone else has come up with.

I do plan to make this pattern at least once more since I have a second batch of fabrics waiting in the wings. I'm also intrigued by what Kim at My Go-Go Life did when she found she wasn't pleased with the skirt either. She took out the gathers and lopped off some of the length to turn it into a cute tunic. I can see myself wearing this as a top layered under a cardigan more than I'll wear it as a dress so that's a much more practical version for me.

All in all I'm pleased with the dress, am glad I finally got my feet wet by making my very first dress, and couldn't love the fabric any more than I do. I'm glad I splurged and bought some of the gorgeous Aviary 2 fabric for this project. It helps that I already had the perfect comfy sandals to match!

Try to ignore the scary guy lurking behind me. Our house is so full of Halloween decorations all year round that it's almost impossible to not catch something creepy in the background of every picture.



Kim @ craftyNHmom said...

Now I know (aside from your smashing fabric choice) why I love your dress so much. I should have cut some of the fullness out of my skirt, less gathers is the way to go. I'm also thinking of trying the circle skirt on my next version. Very nice dress!! Thanks for sharing the details.

Kim said...

Thank you! I also hacked off some of the width of the skirt fabric before I even added it. If you do make the tunic cut the width of the skirt fabric almost in half. I held it up to myself a few times before committing. I love the circle skirt version and I may try that too :o) Your fabric choices are stunning!

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

lol, I didn't even notice the scary guy until you mentioned it! I love your dress...the damask print is really stunning, and I think it was a great choice to go with the contrasting waistband. I laughed out loud about your Keira Knightly comment, haha. :-)

I know you don't like the gathers, but you don't look anything but incredibly skinny in your pictures as far as I can see! I would be interested in seeing it if you try the circled skirt though!

I totally agree with what you said about being more into jeans and t-shirts...I know I made several dresses already, but they are still hanging on the hanger, I haven't worn them yet besides to take the photos of them. I told my husband that when it gets warmer it will force me to wear a dress instead of my usual uniform of jeans and a (usually) black t-shirt, lol. :-)

Meredith said...

Great job! Your fabrics are perfect together! I love the difference in the scale and the colors are really unexpected.

I agree with you about the skirt feeling a bit too full-- when I made the dress, that was my experience too. I'm interested to see how the adapted skirt works.

You look great with the full skirt though-- not at all like you've been munching too many oreos! ;)

Bree said...

I love it! I can't wait to see the second one you make as well.

From the pictures I've seen of other completed dresses, I was wondering if that bra strap doo-hicky (sorry, can't remember the name right now, but it'll come to me) would work. In Sara's pictures, it looks like her straps weren't a problem in the front & it comes up enough in the back that if the straps are connected in the middle it might work out. Maybe. Or at least that's my hope when I get to that point.

I remember Dana at Made had a circle skirt tutorial a while back that did all the math for you. I have a link to it in one of my project to-do lists, or else she probably has it on her tutorial page. I know it's not the half-circle, but it might help.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Love LOVE your dress!! The middle band is so fun!

Mim Smith Faro said...

I love the fabric and liked the tunic version you linked too.

I have to admit I didn't even notice the scary guy until I accidently clicked on the picture and it got bigger. Then the guy scared the crap out of me!

Rachel said...

SO, so beautiful! I love this dress and it looks lovely on you! Definitely no trace of Oreo-indulging as far as I can tell ;-) And the fabric is so pretty, too! I just love it!

Rachel @ Maybe Matilda