I think I finished this dress, which I had been working on sporadically for about a year, back in February. I started out with a free PDF pattern from Crafterhours. I don’t remember what the black ponte de roma was made out of.
I used the pattern and followed its instructions to make a muslin out of muslin. (I should have used a knit fabric similar to the final fabric, but that’s what I had. I liked the way the muslin fit, though that did not transfer to the final dress.) I adjusted the muslin on my body and tried to transfer the changes to the pattern. Along with making those adjustments, I also split the bodice back in half. It had originally been one piece, where you lined the center up with the fold, but instead, I added a seam allowance and cut two pieces. That way, I could add a zipper in the back.
I also added pockets to the dress using this process. I made a second muslin using the adjusted pattern. Instead of inserting a zipper in the back, I sewed lines where the zipper would go and pinned the back opening, with help from my mother. I got confused while putting the fabric together and sewed one of the pockets inside out at this point. I made a mental note to put the pockets in properly for the actual dress.
I found that I did not have quite enough fabric to make the dress, even if I arranged the pattern pieces in the most economical manner. I only had one yard. So I made the skirt a few inches shorter (it ended up knee length when I had meant for it to end right below the knee). A tiny bit of a corner of the top of the bodice pattern was left hanging off the fabric, but I figured it was okay because it was a very small portion of the seam allowance.
I made the dress following the instructions that came with the pattern for the most part, adding in the pockets made of the same fabric. When sewing the back seam, I didn’t sew the bodice or the top part of the skirt in order to leave room for the invisible zipper. I didn’t realize that I would need to leave the neckline raw in order to fold the top over the zipper tape. I had already folded it over and hemmed it according to the pattern instructions. In order to add the zipper, I unpicked that part of the seam and re-sewed it afterwards.
Result and Reflections
I already said that there was a difference between the woven muslin fabric I used and the knit fabric I used to make the final dress. I think I actually would have liked the dress better in a woven fabric similar to the muslin, if I could get it to fit right. I tried on the dress, and the fit wasn’t perfect, but at that point I wanted to be done.
After I was almost finished with the dress, I realized that the wrong side of the fabric was on the outside. Which I’m confused about, because I thought it was a ponte de roma which is the same on both sides? The sides on my fabric look similar, but there is a slight difference. I don’t know. I finished making the dress because it’s not too noticeable.
I made my pockets just the right size, but when I placed them on the actual dress, I put them too low (I thought I had marked the spot correctly :./ ). The invisible zipper is the first one I’ve put in. As you may be able to see in the photo below, the zipper puckers on the fabric. I think it has something to do with the fabric being a knit, but I don’t know what I could do to avoid this.
I have worn the dress twice. The fabric is kind of soft but it seems to pick up dust really easily. It’s not the nice dress I had imagined (I even got the invisible zipper!), and with the fitting issues, puckering zipper, and the fabric itself, it’s super casual. Worse than casual. There’s a pucker in the back.
When I fit the muslin, I didn’t have any technique to it. I just tried what I thought might work. I would like to learn about pattern making and fitting. I got some of the books that Maddie of Madalynne recommended. I am planning to spend more time on some of the technical posts on Madalynne. While I was making the dress, I noticed how the bodice front and bodice back wouldn’t line up around the neck hole and armholes. I would like to know how to make those fixes, as well as draft a well-fitting bodice sloper.