I chose a poly cotton gingham because, although I love the look of this in silk, this was my first attempt at making something from a pattern in quite a long time and I wasn't really keen on using something more expensive in case it went horribly wrong! I'm also a big fan of easy care clothing - I don't really do dry clean if possible. Making it out of something I can just bung in the washing machine is much more in line with my aesthetic. It also meant it was eminently more wearable than something in a 'fancier' fabric because the cotton lends an element of casualness. When I press it I tend to let the steam 'flop' the frills a little, just so that they don't stand up loads but that's an entirely personal choice.
The pattern itself went together fairly well, considering it's the first I've done in a long time. I was a bit worried about a couple of aspects but once I started to actually try the different steps, they tended to come together quite logically.
I did have to look up how to do an invisible zip because it was the first I've ever done. I found this blog post really helpful and only got it on back to front once! It was in all honesty supposed to be a black zip but when I came to sew it, I realised I only had a white one. There's nowhere local to just nip out and get one so I went with what I had. It really is invisible for the most part - the most noticeable bit is where the waistband is as the thickness of the fabric there forces it apart a little but not enough to bother me.
There were a few alterations I made to the pattern - I took in both the bodice and the skirt a little as it was too baggy for my liking - I know the style is 'paper bag' but I found that it just wasn't suited to me so just pinned and stitched where I felt it looked better.
I also omitted the pockets, partly because I was pretty sure I was going to have to take it in at the sides anyway so that, combined with the side zip was just a bit too daunting for my first delve back in. I don't tend to put stuff in my pockets anyway so it was no great loss. I'm not a big fan of adding extra width to my hips anyway!
The skirt length was from the shortest view, rather than the one that went with this bodice. I held up the pattern against me initially and it just didn't look a flattering length on me so I chose this length instead.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the dress turned out. If I made another, I'd likely raise the neckline just a tad. It's fine as a 'standing up' dress but once you're sitting or leaning, you're likely to show off a little more than you aimed. I just solve this by popping a slip underneath - a cami would do the same job. It only shows a little but clings so bending is no longer an issue!
Just an aside, if you're a fan of making garments similar to those in films, etc, having watched 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' the other day, it struck me that the purple silk dress the main character wears for her first television appearance has definite similarities with this pattern!
I've got a huge list of things I want to make - all of them next so it's a case of picking one! If anyone follows my other blog (www.scribblermaxi.blogspot.com) you'll know that I'm madly writing and working on several writing competitions, but I'm hoping to get time to create something else soon. Now I've made this dress, it's really got me enthused to get back to it and do more.
Thanks for reading and I hope I have something new to show you very soon! Until then, Happy Sewing!