Look! I made something and it’s not a t-shirt! To be really honest with you, a lot of the t-shirts were procrastination sewing because as much as I wanted to make this dress I wasn’t really excited about the prospect of doing muslins and fitting adjustments.
This is the Phoebe dress from Colette Patterns. When the pattern was released I really didn’t have strong feelings about it. Then I saw this post on Colette’s blog and I was super taken by the version of Phoebe that Taylor made. It was the first time I saw the dress layered over a button up shirt and I loved the look. I started dreaming of the dress in corduory and found this super fun Lotta Jansdotter star print corduroy on sale in the Imagine Gnats shop. (She is out of the gray, but still has some of the yellow in stock on super sale!)
There is a sewalong for this dress here. It’s recommended that you use your high bust measurement to choose your bust size if you span more than 2 sizes from bust to hips. I tried this initially and cut a size 10 in the bust graded to a 14 at the hips. I knew I would need to do a small bust adjustment but when I tried on my first muslin it was way too big, even with the SBA pinned out. I had a huge amount of gaping all around the arm holes and the back neckline was creeping up my neck.
My starting point was to re-cut the bodice at a size 8 and take out 1/2″ from the side seam of each piece graded to nothing at the waist. I also did my standard forward shoulder adjustment of 3/4″. The second muslin was much better, especially when I tried it on over my button up shirt. The shoulder seams were sticking up a little bit from my shoulders so I added a 3/8″ sloping shoulder adjustment and then cut into my corduroy.
The construction of the dress is really simple and went without a hitch until I got to the zipper. I tried 3 times to get the zipper installed but the fabric kept bubbling and shifting and I kept having to rip out the stitching. (My son used up all of our glue sticks on his homework or I would have tried gluing the zipper to the fabric to avoid shifting.) I decided it was a great time to learn how to hand pick a zipper. I used this tutorial from Sewaholic and watched this little video to learn how to do a pick stitch. I really liked sewing it in by hand! It looks perfect and took less time than my three failed machine attempts.
After I did the hand picked zipper I decided I should sew the hem by hand, too. I wish I would have looked at the hem allowance before I cut the dress. It’s a shallow 3/8″ hem and I would have liked it to be at least an inch. I lined the bodice with this fantastic Anna Maria Horner voile, which I want to get more of because it deserves to be on the outside of something I’m wearing!
I should have given myself a teensy bit more room through the bodice to account for the bulk of the shirt underneath. It fits great without the shirt, but I have a bit of gaping on the back shoulder area without the shirt. If I make this dress again I need to figure out how to address that, but I’ll just layer a cardigan over this one if I want to wear it without a shirt underneath. The fit of the dress is way better than any RTW sheath dress I’ve ever owned and I feel great in it. I am really glad I finally stopped procrastinating and got this dress made!