Normally when I make up a pattern which I haven't used before, the first thing I do is make my standard fitting alterations. For this one though, the first thing I had to do was find a suitable pattern with set-in sleeves. I used New Look 6912 for both the sleeve and the armscye, as it was a slightly different shape from the sleeveless 6184.
|The sleeve was taken from view C
I thought that I had bought enough material to make up view E, with some extra for the sleeves. However either I had decided to cover all options when I bought the fabric, or I have a seriously skewed idea of just how long my arms are; I had enough to make the full-skirted version at a length somewhere between the two on offer, plus the sleeves.
It turned out that the full-skirted version is very full indeed. I thought that skirt consisted of a front panel, two narrow back panels, and two sides. In fact there are four side panels; something which came back to haunt me later on!
|Half of the side panels
I do like to tweak patterns a bit, but while writing this post I've discovered that I've achieved a first for me; the 'unintentional tweak' (a.k.a. 'not reading the instructions properly'). The first step is to construct the front neckline pleats. I thought that the instructions were to fold the pleats, matching the dots, and then baste around the neckline. This didn't seem enough to keep them stable, so my pleats ended up with two rows of pins and two rows of basting.
|These pleats aren't going anywhere
Turns out that I should have folded the pleats, matching the dots, and then stitched them down. Oops.
From there it was all straightforward (she says, quickly reading through the instructions to check if there have been any more 'creative moments'). Make up front and back skirts, attach to bodice pieces, sew shoulder seams, add facing, attach sleeves, sew sleeve and side seams, put in zip. Then make up and attach the lining.
Obviously the lining doesn't need pleats in the front, so for the bodice I went back to my old favourite, New Look 6000.
|New Look 6000 used yet again
The lining skirt side panels were cut slightly narrower than the skirt itself, as I felt that otherwise the end result would stick out too much.
I usually have problems attaching the lining to a dress; I struggle to align the two properly. This time I hit upon the obvious solution of putting the dress onto Nancy inside out, then the lining over the top and pinning it in place around the zip and the neckline. This would have worked even better if I'd thought to take Nancy's knitted cover off first, so that I couldn't pin through it! Sigh.
|Attaching the lining (to the dress, and to Nancy)
Then 'all' that was left was the hem. This was where I discovered just how full that skirt is! It took forever to mark the hem, and forever and a day to sew it. The lining, unsurprisingly, was machine-hemmed.
Then the finished dress went back onto Nancy, the right way out this time, to be photographed. And I got a proper look at it. And. . . I wasn't thrilled.
There was nothing actually wrong with it. It's a perfectly serviceable dress. The fabric is pretty, and hangs well. The lining fills the skirt out nicely, and gives the 'creative' bodice pleating some much-needed structure. But it all looked a little bit boring.
So it was back to the drawing board, or more accurately the fabric shop, to buy some black not-too-shiny silky satin. I made up the belt from view E, and I think that gives the dress the 'pop' it needs.
All that measuring an hemming was worth it as well, because the full skirt swishes very nicely when worn. But you'd need a picture of me wearing it to see the effect. And that, as you should know by now, isn't going to happen!