Sunday, February 9, 2014


First thing—thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post. It was incredible to receive such thoughtful comments from people around the world. It helped a lot.

Now... I've been promising this post for too long. What better time to deliver than while procrastinating doing my workout.

New Year's 2013 Dress

I can't even review this dress like I normally would because it doesn't resemble the pattern envelope in the slightest for many reasons: 

1. Fabric choice. 
I picked out this brocade with the help of Tanit-Isis  who just happens to work at Fabricland. Brocade is not a recommended fabric for this pattern. I thought that I might be able to make it work since this particular brocade seemed to have a less-stiff drape, but it turned out that I didn't have enough for the fuller skirt anyway (more about that later). Taran and I went through the whole store and I kept coming back to this super shiny, bright turquoise fabric. I must have been a crow in another life.

2. Not enough fabric.
Taran suggested that I do a straight skirt instead once she saw that I wanted to use the brocade. In my head I poo-pooed the idea only because I wanted it to be comfortable, and straight skirts to me look like torture devices—turns out the dress was actually pretty comfortable. I had Simplicity 5259 in my stash and I liked the side front slit–gave sort of an asian-vibe that went with the fabric I thought. The patterns matched up pretty well with small adjustments (kept both front seams instead of making one a dart to match the lines of the top).

3. This mess (ie: fitting gong-show): 

My strategy was to fit the lining pieces and then transfer the sba I had to do to the outer pattern pieces. Not so much. WAY TO COMPLICATED FOR ME. I'd still like to give this a go as drafted, but maybe in a simpler fabric. I had three muslins for this, and even after the third one fit pretty perfectly, once made up in the brocade, I had to take it out to the limit of my seam allowance around my rib cage and bust to make it fit. Not sure what happened there. My muslin fabric wasn't stretchy, but it was a cotton twill, so there must have been more give than my polyester brocade. obviously.
Long story short, I used the lining pattern for the top portion. 

4. And of course, I burned a hole in it. 
As per the usual turn of events, I melted a hole in the bottom of the skirt which resulted in the addition of the bottom band. I call it a design element. 

It's fully lined and I used a couple of tutorials and made at least three attempts at the lined front vent. Don't ask me how I did it because I couldn't tell you. A friend suggested sewing a reinforcement bar at the top of the slit. I would recommend this tip to everyone. It definitely helped with the strain from sitting. 

If I had to do it again, I'd but in a lapped zipper or move the invisible zip to the side – mostly because of this at the back waist: 
That zip shows much worse when it's on me. 
And here are a few pics of me actually wearing the dress (in all their blurry glory): 

I found the most perfect jewelry and wore my orange wedding shoes. The fabric did get pretty creased from sitting but it's to be expected. Anyway, it was a hit at the event and I'm pretty happy with it.


  1. That is gorgeous! Cynthia Rowley would be knocked out by your version.

    1. Thank you so much! A cyber-hug for you!

  2. What gorgeous fabric, especially paired with red shoes! The fit you achieved is fantastic, so all the pattern manipulation certainly paid off. Good save on the burnt bit too!

  3. Lovely! I have this pattern in my stash (the Cynthia Rowley) and you have motivated me to find a fabric to use with it. I love your creativity of using another skirt pattern. The front slit is great addition. Well done.

  4. Gorgeous dress! Love the combination of the two patterns and the use of brocade.

  5. WOOHOO! You look GORGEOUS---obviously those three muslins did the trick! (I will now nod smugly at having been right about the straight skirt, yo.) ;)

    Also, doing an SBA amidst all those bodice pieces sounds terrifying to me... good job! So awesome!

  6. You should be pretty happy with this dress. Gorgeous... you and the dress and you in the dress.