Practice Dress

10:29 AM

Months ago, my local JoAnns was relocating across town, and getting rid of all their inventory.  They were selling their Vogue sewing patterns for only $2.00, the cheapest I've ever seen other than that occasion they're $4.00. So I got a few, one of which was this light dress, {Vogue 1086}.

I was pregnant at the time, but looking forward to this spring to get a chance to make it.  Later I read on Noodlehead how Anna made a blouse with cotton lawn and loved the lightweight, cotton fabric that had great drape.  I'd never heard of cotton lawn, and started browsing and bought some.
So for a few months I've had the fabric and pattern, just waiting for this spring.  But before I cut the more expensive cotton lawn, I wanted to try the pattern with cheap fabric before I ruin the nicer fabric.

So I made the "practice dress" using the pattern with a black/ ivory print I bought at the thrift store.  About 4 yards were taped in a roll for only $2.00.  It actually pretty nice for being $0.50 a yard.

I was making quite a few modifications to the pattern, so it seemed worth it to me to try it all out first.
The dress has a thick midriff band, with gathered bodice front and back.  The skirt is a slight a-line with gathers in the center front and back panels.  The pattern is sleeveless, so I added sleeves.

One thing I was excited about, was the fact the black piping I added to the midriff actually lined up when I installed the side zipper.  Also, it was my first time sewing in an invisible zipper.  I thought I may make a whole dress and not have to call my mom, but when I got to the invisible zipper, I realized I didn't have an invisible presser foot and called my mom to find out what to do without one.

The pattern also has a low neckline, like plunging cleavage.  So I raised that up quite a bit.

The back of the dress with the gathers and v-neckline.

It had issues with the fit, and so I'm really glad I made this practice version so I know how to adjust it for my precious cotton lawn.  The sizing of the bodice I want to change, and the weird neckline.
But the biggest issue I found after making it was the bodice length.  The midriff seemed too high for me.  I have a really short torso--I only have about the width of two fingers between my bottom rib and the top of my hip, so virtually no waist.  So I thought this very unflattering band laying the majority on my ribs might work better lower to try to give an illusion of a waist.  Also the chest gathers and neck look weird and I wanted to try to fix that.
I think everything looks better on a size 0 dress form. 
So hopefully the "real" dress will be able to fix all these issues so I'll love it, or it may just be an unflattering dress for my shape, but worth a try I guess.  I'm sure I'll still wear this practice dress though--despite the imperfections.

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  1. i think it looks really good, especially for for a first run!! you definitely have a waist! good job!

  2. oh it is adorable!!!!!! She look amazing!! I can't believe you just had a baby! Good work!! LOVE IT!

  3. haha... I mean *you* look amazing. I was talking to my husband at the same time I was typing.. forgive the prego brain!

  4. Can I just say that my favorite part about this whole post is when you said you had to call your mom... that rings so true to me :)

  5. Looks great. The problem with the higher midriff is that all patterns are made for an A cup. Those who are better endowed need to add about an inch to the bottom to bring the live back to where is should be. Then if you need to add length, add to that first inch. It is usually only the front of the bodice that needs the inch.
    Can't wait to see the lawn dress.

  6. I have great love for people who show the good and the need to be adjusted, projects! It helps me feel less daunted by trying new stuff! You rock!

  7. I think this dress looks great! I really love the piping and the style of the skirt. I can't wait to see the next one!

  8. Wow that dress is amazing! I really like the fabric and all your alterations. You just astound me.I am sooo glad you posted this today, you have no idea. I just bought a pattern and I was contemplating using some old fabric to make the dress first like you did. I think I will go ahead and do that because I know that I am going to have some issues along the way. Thank you thank you

  9. I think it looks pretty great! I felt like I was reading one of my posts, a call to my mom (just this morning actually after putting up a fight with the serger... serger won) The "no waist issue" I usually find that making the band narrower works pretty well to make me look like I have more of a waist/longer torso. And I always find things look better on my dress form then they do on me, the joys of sewing... is it any wonder I just make my daughter all the clothes I would like to wear but can't...

  10. i think the dress looks awesome! I know what you mean though about everything looking better on the dress form. I have the same problem!

  11. Wow, great job on a complicated garment. I don't think I would try it. I like the little sleeves you've added but not fussed on the higher neckline, I think the original v-shape is quite flattering and slimming for larger busts and it didn't look like it was too plunging. I also have a short waist so feel your pain in that regard. Would narrowing the waistband from the top instead of lowering the whole thing work because I think you've got the right idea about it needing to sit up on your narrowest part which on me is above my belly button.

  12. I think your dress looks nice. I use cheap fabric too when I want to test a pattern before using my good stuff. I uses to buy it a Walmart for $1 to $2 a yard before they closed the sewing my store.


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