Last March, when I made my very first dress, I was absolutely thrilled with it. I thought that it was pretty much the most beautiful, best-fitting garment anyone had ever made.
Before long, I started to see its many faults, and decided to take it in a little, hoping that that would fix the problems. It helped with the fit, but the overall design was still the epitome of impracticality. The underneath panel was always shorter than the outer wrap skirt, the dress stuck to itself whenever I would stand up from sitting, and it was pretty uncomfortable in general!
Someday happened much sooner than I thought! Several weeks back I was between projects and decided that it was time to start remaking the dress.
I had quite a bit of fabric leftover to work with, besides the parts of the dress itself that I would not use. I started out with the plan of making a simple square-necked bodice. I always loved Stephanie's remake of her wrap dress, so I thought a square neck would be perfect. I used the "fall dress bodice," as I did with my pleated 1950s dress, but cut the neck to be square. I sewed it all together, basted in the sleeves and tried it on. Oh, the horror! The neckline gaped like crazy! I was SO frustrated. I looked up fixes for gaping necklines, and all I could find was either remaking the bodice, putting in little darts, or boning. Well, thank you, but I don't want boning in my dress' neckline!
I was pretty disgusted at that point! Determined not to let this dress get the better of me, I started cutting out yet another front bodice. This time I used the same bodice pattern, but used the neckline of Simplicity 2154. I made the collar slightly bigger to acommodate the way I had already sewn the keyhole, and made the bow and "knot" slightly narrower.
To my great happiness and delight, the end result of the bodice was great. It fit perfectly, and seemed to be the perfect style for the fabric!
Although the skirt of the walk-away dress is a full circle, the waistline of it is cut a little bit wonky to fit the back-to-front-wrapping design. I was a little afraid of how it was going to hang because of that fact, but it worked out perfectly! It is actually slightly fuller in some places than others because of the strange cut, but it isn't noticeable, thankfully.
I am thrilled to be able to finally use my reddish belt buckle! I bought it ages ago at an antique store, and it never seemed to match anything. It's a darker red, so it always looked dull and boring with my brighter red fabrics. To my immense satisfaction, however, it matches this fabric just right!
One thing that is perhaps slightly irregular is the way I had to hem the dress. That has to be one of the more narrow hems I've ever done! I never make very deep hems, mostly because I already have to lengthen everything I make, so there's not usually enough fabric left for huge hems. The length of this skirt ended up being just long enough to cover the petticoat, so a very narrow hem was in order.
I hesitate to point it out, but I did make one rather annoying foible on this dress. See the flowers on the skirt aiming upward? Then look at the bodice front - they're all aiming downward! For some ridiculous reason, I never even thought to check if the fabric was a one-way design or not, but by the time I discovered that it was, I had already cut out the pieces. Fortunately, it's a busy enough print that it's not really noticeable. It was a bit of a lesson in paying attention though!
I am absolutely thrilled with my "new" dress! It is very comfortable, thrilling to twirl in, and surprisingly practical (except on windy days...). I'm so thankful for the way it turned out!
Oh, and it matches my shoes(!).
• Photography by my mom •