When this Chado Ralph Rucci designer pattern first came out in 2012, I snapped it up faster then lightning. Interesting seam lines and loads of topstitching? It practically had my name written on it. Of course it had to marinate in my stash for a few years while I mulled over the changes I wanted to make.
The first two givens were to eliminate the front ties and raise the neckline slit. I don't find extra bulk around my waist to be flattering. Also I wanted to carve out the neckline a bit because of my phobia of feeling choked. I'm not a pockets-in-the-dress lover so I left those off. I lengthened the bodice 1 3/8" for a long torso adjustment. (Can that be a thing, like the FBA? If I start typing LTA, will y'all know what I'm talking about?) Because of the added length at the waist, I didn't have to lengthen the bottom at all.
I liked the length of the sleeves on the designer example but I noticed that other people who made this pattern had sleeves a little above their wrists. I cut my sleeves 2.5" shorter and used the sleeve facings from a bigger size. The fabric is a beefy wool knit I've had in my stash for years. I actually used a bit of it for this colorblocked dress I made 3 years ago, so was on fabric fumes for this dress. (I got rid of that dress years ago during a closet purge. It was too short and always made me feel self conscious.)
I cut the size 10 for the bodice, tapered out to a 12 at the waist and hips, and got a very nice fit. This is my usual Vogue sizing, but I did use a knit. The fabric suggestions for this dress are doubleknit and synthetic suede. I don't know how much arm mobility you would have with a woven fabric, but you'd definitely need to go up a size.
When I got the top finished and tried it on my dressform, it was really roomy under the bust and around the front waist seaming. On the original, the ties pull this area in for a snugger fit. As I had left the ties off my dress, I chose to add darts. I didn't have enough fabric to re-cut the front waist inset to make it smaller, so I put a seam down the center. It's not topstitched and blends in pretty well. I also had to add a seam down the center front of the underskirt, which you can't see from the outside. The center front skirt was trimmed on the sides. Each dart eliminated 3/4" of fabric, so I took a total 1.5" off the dress diameter.
I love how the sleeves turned out! The fabric has striations in it, which meet in in Vs along the outer seams.
This design has a TON of topstitching. The seams have a double line and all the openings have triple. I used heavy duty thread and a longer stitch length to make them really pop.
Another thing I loved about this pattern was all the facings included. However, since I had such limited fabric, I was forced to use a different fabric for them. I chose a black ponte knit to match the black topstitching. I think it looks awesome peeking out at the sleeve slits that flip up a little when it's being worn, and at the hemline when I'm walking. I trimmed each facing close to the 3rd line of topstitching.
I had a lot of fun making this garment, but I did get really tired of topstitching towards the end. I have decided I love Chado Ralph Rucci and have been scouring Ebay and Etsy for some of his discontinued patterns. They are mostly all challenging with interesting design details. (Some of his shapes are a little beyond my comfort zone though, like that new coat that everyone on the internet went gaga for.) I adore his newest pattern with the complicated jacket design. Who knows when I'll get around to it though.