Slithering in late to the party…

I love  Jungle January! I stalk Pretty Grievances all January to see the jungle-inspired creations of other sewing bloggers. Last year I was a tad late. This year, I’m even later…

Everything about this make is late. I purchased the fabric at Joann’s last January and intended to make a top out of it.

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Life got in the way and I changed my mind about the top. I went with a classic wrap dress instead. There are a lot of wrap dress patterns out there and I have become obsessed with trying to score one of the original 1970s Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress patterns. For now, Butterick 5454 does the job.

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It’s tough to tell on the pattern envelope, but the dress has some tuck detailing at the shoulders and the hips on both the front and back of the dress. I really like the hip tucks because they provide some ease for those of us with curves. The only modification I made was to the sleeve length. I made up view B and extended the sleeves to make long sleeves rather than elbow length.

Here it is…

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I was home visiting my parents this weekend and my mom snapped these before my fiance and I headed out to dinner with some friends. She’s not the best with the iPhone camera and I’m not the best model, so this is as good as it gets.

Side view:

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Back view:

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The knit was really easy to sew. I LOVE sewing with knits. They are so forgiving. I used my walking foot and fusible knit tape on all the hems.

Based on my measurements, I should have made up the 14. It looked about right on my cutting mat, but once I basted everything together, it was massive- we’re talking tent-like ginormous proportions. I ended up cutting the entire dress down to about a size 10. Maybe a less stretchy knit would require a bigger size, but in this material, my suggested size was really off.

After a night of decadent food and drinks, the dress was still comfortable. It passed the out-on-the-town test. Now, I’m debating it’s work appropriateness. I was just offered a job (very excited!) and I’d love to wear it to work in the near future. The fabric has a bit of sparkle to it, but maybe with black tights I can pull it off.

I will definitely make another. There is some black jersey in my stash and a blue and white knit that I think will end up as wrap dresses. Next time, I’ll cut the smaller size. I think I may try different sleeve variations, too. I’m not a fan of the bell sleeves, but the flutter sleeves might be nice. I also think I’ll add an extra inch or two at the neck so I don’t have to wear a cami under the dress. It’s fine for winter, but in warmer months, the less layers, the better.

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I made a dress!

I love green and navy prints. Here’s one from Banana Republic’s current Mad Men collection I think is fabulous:

Banana Republic's Mad Men dress

Banana Republic’s Mad Men dress

When shopping I tend to seek  out navy and green prints, so as I was picking fabric to make my own dress, a green and navy print was the obvious choice. I picked up  this geometric cotton sateen at Joann’s a few weeks ago. It’s part of their Hampton Collection and has been on sale, 30% off, for a while now. I think it cost me about $10 a yard.

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I used New Look 0126 and made a muslin.

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…And then made and remade the muslin. Several versions later, I decided I needed one size up top and  a different one on the bottom.I ended up cutting a 10 on top and a 12 on the bottom. I was a bit freaked out by having to merge two different sizes but it wasn’t a big deal as I just blended them at the waist.

Here’s the final result without a belt:

IMG_0665I think I’m a bit too curvy for a sheath without waist darts. It’s comfortable but looks a little sloppy.  I like it much better with a belt:

IMG_0666Since it’s chilly here today, I styled it with a sweater for my school visits.

IMG_0669The hardest part of putting this all together was the back zipper. It came out okay, but there are a few minor imperfections. I’m probably the only one who will ever notice, but…

Also, the back neckline gapes a wee bit. It’s fine with the sweater over it and I’m hoping it’s due to the interfacing needing to soften up a bit in the wash. I bought what the pattern recommended, but it seems overly stiff.

Hands down, my favorite part of the dress is the invisible hem. I did a slip stitch by hand and it really is invisible!

See? No threads!

See? No threads!

Overall, I’m pleased with how my first dress turned out. I wore it to dinner with friends this evening and they asked where I bought my dress. Their reactions were pretty humorous when I told them I’d made it!

This weekend, I was at Joann’s (if I’m not careful, they are going to start charging me rent) and I took advantage of their 5 for $5 Butterick patterns promotion.

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Hmmm… which should I make next?