This is a copy of an H&M knit dress that I've been wearing for the past few years. I finished it just in time for Thanksgiving dinner!
Although a simple dress to sew, the pattern drafting and fitting wasn't so easy!
Using my seam ripper, I tore the dress apart and then made my first pass at sewing the bodice, cutting straight into my fashion fabric--a Derek Lam ponte knit from Mood. Unfortunately, two things led to my first attempt becoming a de-facto muslin. 1) My iron spewed gunk onto the bodice and I couldn't get it out. Now, I have a new iron! 2) I discovered that the bodice was actually too large on the right side of my body. Sharon, my new sewing instructor, explained to me that the existing pattern (the H&M dress) had clearly stretched from use on the right side. This makes sense, since I am right handed and favor my right side for activity. Thus, the right side was no longer the mirror image of the left side. The stretching of the fabric in the H&M dress was also evident in the waist. On my muslin, the waistband was about 2 inches wider than the bodice. The larger waistband size turned out to be more comfortable, so we added 2 inches to the sides of the bodice pieces.
With Sharon's help, I converted the changes in the muslin to wax paper and then to butcher paper. Now, I was ready to try again! Muslin #2 didn't fit either--the neckline wouldn't lay flat and I needed to take close to 4 inches out of each shoulder seam.
The finished dress still needs some tweaking, but it is wearable! For the next iteration, I plan to take out about 1/2 an inch on the sides of the bodice so that it fits a bit more snug around my torso and deal with the gaping at the neckline.
Don't you love the trim? I picked up this crochet and velvet trim from M&J!