It only took an entire month for me to make but I finally have a new dress! This Pamella Roland pattern, Vogue 1265, came out in 2011 and I just loved it. It's such a fun design - all business in the front and party in the back. There are hardly any reviews for it on patternreview.com and it's now out of print. (Anyone else feel sorry for these types of designer patterns that are lovely but largely ignored?) The envelope gives it an average skill rating and it's not a really difficult thing to make, but there is a ton of fabric in the skirt and that part gets attached early. It's a lot to keep up with and work around.
I made a muslin of the body and front skirt, but not of the back flared skirt. Based on that I cut a size 10 in the front from the arms down, tapering out to a 12 through the waist. For the back I cut a 12 from the shoulders to the waist, and a 10 from the waist to the hips. The front darts had to be pulled in a bit as there wasn't much bust shaping underneath them. I shortened the front slit at least 2 inches for personal preference. It's really just a design element as you don't need it to be able to walk well. The fabric at the shoulders extended out a little too far, and I do not have narrow shoulders. I cut 1/2 inch from that area, tapering to nothing at the sleeve sides.
I bought the fabric online somewhere several years ago. It's a nice weight wool crepe, which is always a well behaved fabric to work with. It drapes and presses well. The lining is Ambiance purchased locally.
This back skirt was quite a bit of work. The instructions have you pin it to another piece of fabric and let the bias parts stretch for 24 hours. I then basted it the the back pieces, pinned it to my dressform, and marked the hemline as straight as I could. After I trimmed away the uneven bits of the crepe, I lined it up with the lining and trimmed the lining as needed. There is a double pleat at the center back and two pleats at either side back seam, making for an extremely full skirt. Because the lining is sewn to the bottom of the skirt, there is no hem to turn up and sew invisibly, THANK GOODNESS.
One thing the instructions call for is interfacing all of the dress body except for the back skirt and the sleeves. I was unsure of what this would look like and didn't want a really stiff dress. However, I went ahead and interfaced everything with a nice weight woven fusable and the result is a dress that holds its shape but is not stiff.
Obligatory twirling picture:
(The lighting in my room is mostly indirect this time of year and this fabric really soaked it up. I had to use a flash and lighten these pictures up quite a bit. I'm sorry if they're hard to see.)
There is an invisible zipper down the left side, which I ordered in a matching maroon from NYC. You can see the slight color difference in the crepe and the lining. I really like when the lining peeks out at the hemline when I'm walking or sitting. It's subtle but adds interest to a solid colored garment.
Here you can see the front lining. I really like how the front facing extend down to the slit area along the hemline.
There was a bit of handstitching involved. Here I have sewn the back body lining down invisibly to the top of the back skirt lining.
I changed the sleeve insertion slightly. I won't go into a lot of detail but I ended up using bias tape to finish off the armhole and then stitched it invisibly by hand to the dress lining. I did a similar finish to the sleeves on this dress, oddly enough another Pamela Roland design. You can read about it on that post if you want.
I adore my new fall wardrobe addition. It has that heavy weighted feeling of an expensive garment, if you know what I mean. I have plans to make some sort of sequined or beaded top to wear underneath. Now, on to something that doesn't involve miles of fabric or tedious fitting tweaks!