Wednesday, August 8, 2012

summery green dress


Butterick 4443 in cotton twill
First sewing post - yay!

I live in the hot and humid South, and it is especially hot and humid right now.  I wanted to make something that would be cool and comfortable for work and also transition well into fall.  This dress fit the bill.  I made it up in a bluegrass-green cotton twill with a geometric print that I got on sale at JoAnn's about a month ago.  It feels heavenly on a hot day like today.

The pattern is Butterick 4443.


I wanted an A-line dress with a simple style, and I liked the lined, princess-seamed bodice and the somewhat retro feel.  I made View C without the self-fabric tie.  I wasn't sold on the high bateau neckline, so I lowered and narrowed it.  I also shortened it at the hem a tiny bit.

When they say "easy", they mean it.  This is a great pattern for beginners like me.  The only tricky part was attaching the lining to the bodice at the shoulder.  I know there are tutorials out there with much better ways to do this, but I had never lined a bodice and thought I would try it according to the instructions.  Yeah, next time I'm going for the tutorials.  I don't mind the hand sewing, but I didn't think I would ever get the shoulder seam to lie flat long enough to stitch it.

Here's a shot of the "innards":





I'm pretty proud of my lined bodice.  The lining is bleached muslin - so soft and comfy.

And here is the zipper, another point of pride for me on this dress (the pic might come out wonky - I had some trouble uploading it):




This is only my second zipper, and I think it turned out great!  I love the method of zipper installation in the pattern instructions.  First you line it up and baste it to the right seam allowance.  Then you lay the dress flat and baste all around the zipper on both sides.  This helped me get it lined up perfectly.

I put a lot of hand stitching into this dress.  The lining is slipstitched to the zipper and all around the waistline seam per the instructions, and of course the hem is hand sewn.  But being the crazy hand stitcher that I am, I went a little further. I understitched the lining by hand using a short backstitch.  And as usual, I hand overcast all of the seams to finish them.  Yes, I know I am a nutcase.  I love to sew by hand.  It's a zen thing for me.

hand understitching at the neckline and armholes

hand overcasting at seams and hem
This is the first time I've worn a dress with a zipper in maybe 15 years.  I am short and chunky AND short-waisted, so I gave up on finding ready-to-wear fitted dresses in woven fabrics years ago.  Any time I've bought a dress, it has always been either knit or loose or two-piece.  Learning to sew has opened up this whole new world of possibility for me.  I love my knit dresses, but there's nothing like slipping into a full-skirted, zip-up dress to make you feel like a lady.


I even kind of look like a lady - ha!  :)

23 comments:

  1. Nice dress. I also had not worn woven dresses in years until I started sewing again. It took me a while to figure out that my fitting issues were due to me being shortwaisted - what a revelation. Another thing...no waist gathers for me.

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  2. Thank you! This was my first Butterick pattern, and it seemed to be shorter in the waist than other patterns I've tried (McCall's, Simplicity, New Look). Contrary to what I've always believed, a well-fitting woven dress can actually be more comfortable than a knit dress. I could live in this one!

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  3. Love, love, love this. The fabric couldn't be prettier! I like the lack of gathers at the waist, as well! I may have to abandon the 50's dresses and go for this one next.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and saying hi! The lack of waist gathers is one of the things that sold me on this pattern. I think I'm developing a slight obsession with the color green....

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  4. Wow! Your dress looks GREAT! My mom used to sew everything when I was a kid but I would run when she would try to teach me to sew. I wish I learned to sew. It would save me so much money in tailoring! LOL

    Thank you for stopping by my blog & commenting. I really appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you! I am just now learning. I couldn't thread a machine 7 months ago. So I'm thrilled when I produce a piece that's "wearable".

      I just found your blog and have enjoyed perusing it!

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  5. You have a beautiful blog. Love the green print dress!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm just getting started with both sewing and blogging. Hopefully there will be more to see soon.

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  6. Hurrah for you learning to sew and making exactly what you want and what suits you and fits you. Keep it up! Remember, sewing is just a step-by-step process, and when you break it down, no step is really all that hard. Love all your hand sewing. I like doing it, too.

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    1. I have totally fallen in love with sewing! It really gives me a sense of pride when I conquer a new skill. Thank you for the words of encouragement!

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  7. Hand overcasting?! You are a saint! a saint with skills!

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    1. LOL!... more likely I am just hopelessly nuts. (Also, I have no serger and a piece of crap machine with a messed up zig-zag stitch.)

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  8. Hey Bex,
    Beautiful job on your dress is looks amazing!! Green definitely suits you. Are you going to add a followers tab on your blog so we can keep up to date with all you sewing accomplishments? Look forward to seeing more.
    Erin :)

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    1. Thank you! Hmmm... I am just starting out, and I'm not quite sure how to add the shiny stuff to my layout. I would gratefully welcome pointers!

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  9. Hi Bex,

    For some reason, I wasn't following your blog. THAT HAS BEEN FIXED!

    I adore adore ADORE your dress! You got such a fantastic fit, the zipper is perfect, and the inside look as gorgeous as the outside! That print is great too. I'm jealous, I want this dress. :D

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    1. YAY, I have my first follower! I swear there will be more content one of these days. I actually finished a denim skirt and have been too lazy to take pictures. How pathetic is that?

      And thank you! It was worth learning to sew just for this one dress. I haven't had a dress that fit through the torso in years and years. I'm afraid I might have launched an addiction for sewing dresses....

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  10. Totally gorgeous. You look great in green!!

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    1. Thanks so much! It's so comfy, too. I have worn it countless times already!

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  11. Stumpled across your blog (like you do!) Thought Id comment on how nice that dress looks, it suits you.
    louise

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    1. Thank you so much for dropping me a line!

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  12. You look fantastic in that beautiful dress! I popped to this page by accident but had to leave a comment.

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