I'm super proud of this make and I LOVE it! It's hanging on a hook in my room and I go in all the time to look at it and feel the fabric. Is that weird? After having so many sewing misses it really feels great to make something entirely on my own, that a) fits OK b) was fairly easy to sew and c) that I'd wear out of the house! I cannot recommend this pattern more highly for new sewists.
It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops though. Once I'd stitched the dress together enough to try on I popped it on and the underarms were WAY too big. It's becoming obvious that my bust is a size smaller than my waist/hips. I'm really chuffed that my husband was able to pin the dress whilst it was on me and we took in the underarms by 2.5cm on each side. I tapered it down so that the dress was still the original size at the waist.
The dress fits much better under the arms now, but it's not perfect. I always seem to find armholes really tight (especially under my right arm as I have shoulder 'issues') even when the armhole isn't tight at all.
If I knew how I'd also put a couple of darts in the back of the bodice as it's a bit...bunchy, but sadly that is beyond my skill level. The bodice is also quite "roomy" at the side, but if I took it in anymore I'd probably not be able to wriggle into it (it has no zipper or other opening, so you just slip it in over your head). I've also made this dress out of quilting cotton and I can see what people people when the say this type of fabric is quite stiff. The skirt does stick out quite a lot, but I can live with it as I think it looks cute.
The neck and arm holes are finished with bias binding. I love this - it's so easy and looks so tidy. I have bought myself a bias binding maker and at some stage I'll make my own bias binding...though it does look really REALLY labour intensive!
As well as the bias binding the pattern called for a french seam for the shoulders. I'm pleased to say that I accomplished this will no drama at all *fist pump*! I'm pretty pleased with how the inside of this dress looks. Everything is very neat and tidy, and although I don't yet have an overlocker I think the zigzag on the seams looks pretty tidy and it certainly does the job to stop the edges fraying.
Now onto the hem...talk about STRESSFUL! The pattern called for a hem that was folded over twice and then stitched. I tried this, but could not get the hem the same width the whole way round so I had to think of something else (I had the same trouble with my Laurel). My machine has a rolled-hem foot so I decided to give that a whirl. I thought it would be super quick and easy. FAIL! I don't even want to talk about how messy and awkward this was for me (and how much unpicking I had to do).
In the end I decided just to use bias binding to finish the hem and I have to say that, although it took 4 meters of binding, it was super easy and so tidy. I LOVE bias binding. I'm not sure why I'd ever not use this method for a hem?
Something I do need to fix next time around is the hem length. Because I didn't want the skirt to be "high-low" and reveal my pudgy knees too much I just sewed together two of the back pattern pieces. This is fine BUT the dress still scoops up at the sides made it look a bit wonky. The dress is 23" in the middle and then only 19" at the sides....something I didn't even think about as being an issue until I put it on. Derp.