Thursday, December 18, 2014

Little Black Knit Dress

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! 

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