The Birthday Dress

Thursday, September 19, 2013

So I knew that I wanted to make myself a bright, loud, fun, tropical print dress as my first big project.  I picked out this lovely hibiscus tropical shirting at Joanns:
um, yes please. source
You should know that hibiscus is my absolute favoritest flower ever ever ever.  I would wear tropical hibiscus print all year if I could.

When looking for a pattern I knew I wanted it simple enough to look doable for me, but I also wanted a nice full skirt.  I finally landed on this one:
Butterick B5748.  This dress features a low scoop back, side zip, and full circle skirt.  I did view B, which is the dress without the notches and bows.  However I did alter the neckline to be a V neck instead of scoop.  V necklines just flatter me better.  I actually really like the low scoop back feature of this dress, which I did not expect.  Once I finally bought my fabric, I brought it home to pre-treat.  After washing it Lily promptly found it a great place to nap.
Well, whatever.  All my clothes are covered in animal fur anyway.

I made a muslin of the bodice to make sure it was everything I wanted (and more!) and made the alterations I wanted.  Mostly the ones as expected.  Widened the waist, shortened the straps, changed the neckline.

There were some challenges while making this dress.  The biggest one was that I could not for the life of me figure out understitching, so my lining isn't sewn down.  Then when I put it on, I realized I needed to shorten the bodice.  A lot.  Also, since I was planning on wearing a slip with this dress, I didn't fully line the skirt according to the instructions.  So I kind of winged it.  It worked fine, except where it came to the zipper.  I had trouble getting all nice and neat and where everything was supposed to be.  Eventually I made it work.  Also since I didn't line the dress according to the instructions, my lining was free flowing.  I decided to just hem it and tack it in place at the seams.  When I've worn the dress I haven't had any issues with it, so that method worked just fine for me.  Finally when it came to hemming the dress, I wasn't sure how to best hem a circle skirt.  My friend came over and helped me measure the hem from the floor up.  Google gave me a few different options so I decided to use a bias binding and hand sew the hem.  This worked perfectly.  It took me a couple nights in front of the TV to finish, and Lily kept trying to climb into my lap full of fabric, pins and a sharp needle.  But we made it work.  Here is the finished dress with my hand made crinoline underneath:
Plus a bonus shot of the back.  Pardon the crappy pictures.
It's not perfect but I certainly love it.  If I made this again I would add stay tape to the neckline to stabilize it, I think it has already stretched out a bit.  I meant to add lingerie guards to the straps but I never got around to it.  (I love dresses with lingerie guards.)  I also meant to add pockets to the side seams but I never did that either.  Now it is Fall and there are other things to sew!

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