A couple of months ago a friend asked me if I could help her make a dress for an upcoming wedding. I’ve never been a good teacher but figured why not, I love sewing – so having a sewing buddy will be great! I’m not sure how much Ashley actually learned, BUT she did see all the ‘gotchas’ of sewing!
We went over a TON patterns and decided on The Sweetheart Sundress from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing. Looking back I should have picked a pattern that I’ve made before, then it would be easier to teach! Oh well, live and learn!
warning: a novel and then picture heavy
On the day Ashley was coming over I quickly made a muslin of the bodice – and boy am I glad I did, it ended up being about 100 sizes too big! My measurements are 34-28-36. According to Gertie’s sizing that meant I’d be size 4 top, size 6 waist and size 2 hips. I traced out sizes 4 and 6. The only pattern pieces that come with this dress are the ones for the bodice, the dirndl skirt you make on your own. I wish I would have taken a picture of the first muslin, I basically needed to have Dolly Parton’s breasts to fit in it! The bottom part around my waist fit just fine but wow at the top. In the end I would guess my bust top size was more of a -4 or -2 according to Gertie’s sizing chart! I don’t understand though, I made her The Portrait Blouse in a size 4 and it fit very snug. Either way, lots of altering went into the bodice, I felt like the world’s dumbest teacher but at least Ashley got to learn first hand how much of a pain in the ass fitting can be.
Onto the skirt… that was a bit easier. Looking at the finished product I could have used less fabric for it, but either way it ended up looking cute. I made a rectangle 40″ wide by 26″ long (Ashley’s was 40″ wide by 24″ long) because we wanted it to hit just around the knee. I did end up cutting 5 inches off of mine, but only because it ended up looking homely. Ashley kept her length long and it looked great, not homely at all. We both used a 1 inch hem and put horsehair inside to make it a bit fuller. On mine I used less horsehair so I could get a more bubbly look with the hem.
Overall, I’d say the pattern isn’t great for a brand new sewist. It isn’t difficult by any means but there were a few gotcha moments. We did make sure to have wine and cookies after a few sewing sessions! I think our dresses turned out very pretty and look really nice. Ashley wore hers to the wedding and had many compliments.
One issue I forgot to mention is the bias band. Make sure when you overlap them they come out even with the ruching at the center of the sweetheart neckline. We noticed ours was off center but only after we had sewn it on, but we were too lazy to unpick and try again. I left mine uneven (which means part of the neckline puckers weird) but for Ashley’s we added a bow. Looking back, we should have fixed this but it would have been a lot more work.
I like this dress and would recommend it, but I’m just confused about the bodice and sizing. Ashley even had to take hers in a bit and when we were all finished we both took it in at the sides a bit more. I’ve had this same bodice issue with a 1940′s pattern and a Vogue pattern but haven’t had many issues with Butterick.
Okay, enough of the novel – onto the pictures!
Me (and Guinness photobombing):
Bonus Picture – it’s National Dog Day! Go give your doggie kisses!