Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Dress for Mommy

I made little girl dresses for the first time around Easter 2009.  Now two years later, I finally decided it was time to attempt sewing a grown-up dress.  I’m still trying to decide what I think of the finished result, but since I’ve mentioned this project a couple of times to my sisters and mom I thought I would go ahead and post pictures of how it turned out.  

I learned a lot of things about sewing adult clothing doing this little experiment.  On the one hand, I was actually surprised to find how much easier it can be to work on full-size garments.  Setting in an adult sleeve is delightfully less difficult than manipulating teeny tiny little three-inch-diameter toddler sleeves.  On the other hand, just trying to fit a pattern may be enough to create all sorts of body image issues!  The measurement chart on the envelope expected an eight inch difference between bust and waist, and then another ten inch swell out to the hips.  Even before having three children I never had a figure like that!  To make things still more complicated, the size I needed to match my funny tummy isn’t even in the same envelope as what I needed to match everything else.  Because the upper part of the dress is so fitted, I ended up playing around a little and ultimately drafting new pattern pieces to try and keep it from feeling like a tent on top while still being able to get it to zip up around the waist.   I actually really love how the top turned out.

I’m less excited about the skirt part.  A complete sucker for seersucker, when I saw this bolt I thought it would make a great summertime dress.  I probably should have paid more attention to the fact that it wasn’t one of the recommended fabrics for the pattern.  Instead of draping gracefully down, the skirt initially poofed straight out.  Washing helped, as did sewing down the pleats, but it’s still a little funny.  It’s also a little short.  That may be the real deal-breaker.  Because of the width of the skirt there wasn’t a good way to lengthen it, and although it technically reaches to the mid-knee I feel awfully aware of how bare my legs are below it.

Even if this dress doesn’t make it into the Sunday rotation as often as I’d originally hoped, it’s really comfortable and the fabric is wonderfully lightweight, so it may at least become a favorite for warm Sunday afternoons around the house.



  1. Oh I LOVE it! I especially love the top and the collar (isn't it called a Peter pan collar, or am I delusional? probably). :) I would have probably picked the exact same fabric because it is adorable. I think it turned out great, but I know what you mean about past the knee--I am super picky about the length of my skirts too. But I still think it's adorable. Good job!

  2. I think it is cute! Maybe it is one of those dresses that looks better in a picture than in real life, but it looks very good! Making adult clothes just depresses me. lol. Nothing ever fits how the model on the front looks. Love your blog, I just read over a few older posts. I heard about the New York Flower show and wished we lived closer to go, so I love that you went! Fun!

  3. It turned very very nice! Good job :-). I used to like to sew for myself. Not so much anymore! I'm really impressed!

  4. we should find a fitting class at OCCC (or whatever the local community college is) or somehwere and take it together. Once upon time I was VERY good at fitting clothes for me, but that was for my long-forgotten 17-year-old body. :)