i had just read through the palmer/pletch "fit for real people" and one very good point of advice they give is to pick your bodice size based on your upper bust measurement, then adjust as necessary to fit your waist. in retrospect, i should have been able to figure this out myself. i quite often stared and stared at those bodice cutting lines because my bust lands me a much smaller size than my waist. then, even though i'm 5'8", i usually need to do a petite adjustment (taken out above the bust) then add the removed length back in under the bust. then for your lower half you should pick a size based on your hip measurement and adjust the waist to fit. totally obvious, but still a lightbulb moment for me.
i love my plaid fabric, and a darted bodice is really nice for not disrupting the pattern as much as a princess seamed bodice would. however, if you're working with a stripe or plaid, the waist dart can make the lines go all jagged in a soul-crushing sort of way. OCD much? guilty. but not to despair... there is a super easy way to fix this.
draw a line through the middle of your dart. then, pivot the dart as necessary to make the center line run parallel to CF. now when you stitch your dart, the plaid/checks/stripes will match up and chevron at the dart seam. genius, i know. now, if your skirt has a match point that is supposed to line up with the dart (pleats or front darts), keep in mind you'll have to adjust that as well.
|on the left: original dart placement|
on the right: dart pivoted so the center is parallel to CF
because i was using this squishy, comfy, cozy flannel, i chose to leave the bodice unlined. which is ironic because i usually end up adding linings to dresses and then griping about the fact that the pattern doesn't include lining instructions. if you've never lined a dress before and/or fear the very idea of lining a dress, rest assuraed. this pattern has directions for a FULL lining. even the sleeves. which seems kinda weird, but there you have it. this flannel has a sort of natural stretch and it's quite thick. all in all, it feels really nice against my skin and has enough movement to be super comfortable. the only reason why i lined the skirt was so i could wear tights. this is obviously a winter dress and tights are a must. i used a bemberg rayon and it's perfectly slidable. no crazy ride ups!
since i didn't line the bodice i drafted a facing. i know some people avoid facings like the plague but i happen think they're great for a clean neckline finish. since this fabric has a tendency to stretch funny and get all bent out of shape (it has a twill weave) it also helps to stabilize the neckline and keep it in check.
the only place that really gave me nightmares was the zipper install. an invisible zip was not an option given the thickness of the fabric so i got a standard zip and had intended to do a standard zip install. so you're supposed to baste the opening closed, topstitch around the zipper, then remove the basting. so i basted, pinned the zip in then went to topstitch. but... see that high, narrow neckline? nope. can't get it through a sewing machine when everything is closed up. i tried to go in from the skirt side, but that was so awful and wonky i quit after a couple inches. as usual, i made this far more complicated than necessary, and ended up going for a lapped zip.
i had only done a lapped zip once before and it seemed really hard and didn't work out. i think i did the zip three times only to eventually rip it out and hand pick it months later. so i never tried it again. but for this dress, a lapped zip was the only remaining option. i ripped out all the stitching i had attempted, un-basted the seam, added some fusible to stabilize the edges, and lapped that zip. and it went in perfect with my first try. go figure.
i don't often do a narrow skirt but thought it would be a nice departure from my more pouffy gathered dresses. the skirt is slightly off in fit, i could use another inch of ease in the backside. but who's counting? i already let out the side and back seams as much as i possibly could. rookie mistake... i didn't check the pattern's finished hip measurement. oops. i think i've determined though, that my hips aren't that wide, just le booty. things you don't learn from making gathered skirts, huh.
|i think i need to raise the back neckline|
and/or add a back neck dart to fix the gaping.
that would be my "not impressed" face
so there's my long-winded final analysis of this dress. my only real gripe is that for this large scale plaid i should have gone with a pattern without a waist seam; unless i'm wearing a belt it just looks funny. that and i could totally stand narrowing the sleeves a touch, they're slightly boxy but... next time, right?