So here is the latest little number, straight off the sewing machine: Vogue 8615. This is a very retro-feeling dress, and the full skirt is meant to be worn with a petticoat, but to be honest with you all, I'm not really a petticoat kinda gal (ha! can you imagine me trying to ride my bike with all that tulle flip-flopping around?) so I decided to randomly gather up the skirt in a haphazard fashion to create my own version of fullness.
Not to blow my own horn, but gosh darn, it looks spiffy! I think this is my favourite dress so far this year! And to top off my joy, my invisible zip in the back is perfect! I invented a little trick to make the zip go in easier: firstly I sewed one side of the zip in, and then I did the zip up and basted the other side of the zip in where the waistband seams met, so that they lined up correctly. Then I sewed the other side of the zip in. Easy peasy - I'll be doing all my zips in this fashion from now on.
But here, old buddies old pals, is where the joy ends. This pattern, I hate to say, is not well drafted. The sleeve in particular is a complete joke. The sleeve cap simply did not fit correctly into the armhole. The amount of ease was ridiculous. I sat there for a full 40 minutes, trying desperately to fit the cap into the arm hole, but it was far too large. In the end I gathered the sleeve cap, and sewed it in that way, so I have a slight puff sleeve cap, which looks fine, but isn't how the pattern ought to be. That was quite disappointing.
Despite all that room in the sleeve cap, the actual cap height (the distance from the biceps to the top of the sleeve cap, running straight along the grain line) is bizarrely tight feeling. Gah! Stupid, stupid sleeve! If I had any spare fabric I think I would have drafted up my own pattern piece and cut a new sleeve out - one that actually fit and was comfortable to wear.
Another change I made was to ignore the bodice seam line. Seriously - who wants a seam running straight down their front? From a fitting point of view it wouldn't make any difference for a small busted girl like myself, so I cut the bodice on the fold, taking off the 1.5cm seam allowance. It looks much, much better that way, and I have no dissection line running down my sagittal plane.
Also, since I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make my skirt crazily gathered, I omitted putting the pockets in, since I didn't know exactly where I would put the gathers until I was standing in the dress figuring it out whilst looking in the mirror, and I suspected that the pocket holes might sit oddly. So I left them out. As somebody noted to me, I could hide my lunch in all the folds and gathers, and nobody would be any the wiser, so who needs pockets, eh?
So, to conclude: After making my changes I am happy with the dress, but it's not a pattern that I would recommend in a hurry.
Pattern: Vogue 8615
Fabric: 3.6m Imazu Spotted - Night Japanese cotton from Tessuti Fabrics (you can see a navy version here), and 50cm silk/cotton voile for lining
Notions: 40cm invisible zip