For some time now I have been pondering what to wear to my 20 year school reunion. Does it matter? I'm not sure, so I have been seeking counsel. One of my closest friends says that it is important to "look hot". I can see her point, but I don't really do "hot". Another friend said to be modest. Now where is the fun in making a modest dress? Another friend said she just wanted to be skinnier than all the girls who teased her at school. Personally, I can take or leave skinny.
Now, acknowledging that most people are too busy thinking about themselves to notice or remember what anybody else wears, I realise that this dress is really just for me. To be the person I wanted to be after 20 years, stylewise at least. I think that this is it. Gorgeous fabric. Beautiful colours. Simple, chic style that doesn't need fussing with. And this morning I bought a pair of shoes to match (just a shame they aren't a smidge more comfy!)
Pattern: Vogue 8529. When I bought this pattern, I was looking for styles that I could use as a starting point for some Marni garments that I had been drooling over (Oh I wish Vogue would do a collaboration with Marni). I did not realise that this was a knock-off of a Michelle Obama dress until I read the reviews on PR. Mine looks nothing like Mrs Obama's dress, largely because of my fabric choice.
The front of the dress has sleeves cut in one with a a yoke. The yoke has a cowl neckline. The pattern has princess seams below the yoke. I eliminated the princess seams, added some extra width and put in a centre front pleat. I find that pleats or gathers in the bust allow the extra width I need at the hips without distorting the side seams.
The back has raglan sleeves and princess seams. I kept the princess seams at the back,. I would have liked to have added more width across the back hips but I was short of fabric. Consequently, my side seams swing to the back a little, but only a sewer would notice.
The fabric: a silk jersey with a lot of drape. More drape than I have sewn with before. I had already shortened the pattern my 10 cm, but I had to cut a chunk more off because the weight of the fabric pulled it much lower. This has dragged the front yoke lower, especially at the centre front where the pleat is. The pattern actually has a straight yoke, but mine appears curved. I don't mind this effect. The dragging down at the back has led to not such a great fit, but I did not think I could do much about this. If I had more experience with this fabric, I guess I could have modified the pattern in advance.
To sew the fabric, I had it sitting in a puddle just to the left of my machine, just feeding a short length through at a time, to stop the fabric dragging down at the front of the machine.
I did have a hard time picking a thread colour to match. In the end, I used black on some seams, white on others, and on the hem I used 4 different threads (black, off-white, olive and fuschia). At one point I thought about shortening the dress by another inch, but realised that I did not have the patience to change thread colours 4X again.