Sunday, August 24, 2014

The book club dress

In true 50's fashion, I was a member of a "book club" for several years with a group of my friends in Indianapolis.  I put book club in quotations because there was very little about that group that was related to reading books.  I like to imagine it was like the "bridge club" or "jr. league" from years ago, in that it was mostly bored housewives looking for a good excuse to have a night without our kids and with a few cocktails.  Over the years I became quite fond of my monthly "book club" meetings, so much so that I still made an effort to attend after moving to Chicago.  I'm slightly further away now, so this dress was technically to be my farewell-to-book-club dress.

I regularly attack calmly assess and acquire new patterns during the Joann's pattern sales.  You only make the mistake of paying full price for a pattern once before you would rather plot the schematics of a year's worth of $1 sales (using graphs and probability statistics) (or just the Joann's app that you regularly check) to stock up on all the patterns you want.  I keep a running list in my phone, and knock them out one by one.  I went with a great Retro Butterick 5748 from the early 60's that I had in my stash.
This is a fairly simple scoop neck tank with a circle skirt and side zip.  The bodice is lined, and has two variations.  I made the notched neck/back line with a bow.
 I suffer from a condition known as resting bitch face.  No, I'm not mad.  I also have a portion of my bra showing most of the time.  When you have giant boobs, you also have giant bras.  Sometimes they make an appearance.

I really, REALLY love this dress.  I like the way it shapes me.  I used a sort of eyelet-y looking fabric.  It was a navy cotton with little circular holes surrounded by what appeared to be embroidery, but I later surmised was some sort of raised applied material.  It felt like the non-skid stuff on the bottom of slipper socks or kid jammies.  I don't know what it is, but I liked the look of the fabric.  Because it was full of holes, I had to fully line the skirt in addition to the bodice.  Although I made two bows for the front and the back notch, I ended up just attaching the front bow.  
This pattern was a rather simple FBA, with both waist and side darts.  I really only had a little trouble with attaching the bodice lining at the end.  Because this was a circle skirt, there was very little room for easing the lining into place.  I machine stitched-in-the-ditch on the first pass, but about half the lining wasn't caught and was still flapping open.  I ended up hand-stitching the remainder of the lining down over the skirt seam.  I think if I make this again I will either interface the notched parts for reinforcement, or more likely, make the other bodice version of just a straight scoop-neck.  I will probably also raise the back neckline by an inch or so to ensure that it covers my bra hooks. And finally, I would choose a fabric with a little more give or add a little room in the waist.  You know how you look so great while standing, and then you sit and suddenly your waistline looks like the letter B?  Well, I'm not trying to teach my 2 y.o. his ABC's with my belly fat, so yeah, a little more room in the waist.

If you are on the fence about this pattern, I would say definitely make it.  I think the shape is pretty universally flattering, and its basic enough that you can make fitting adjustments easily.  And its perfect for pretending to be a bibliophile while bitching about your husband with a cocktail in your hand. (Just kidding, honey!  I've never spoken a foul word about you!) Happy sewing!

1 comment:

  1. I love it, too. All of it. Style, color, neckline, and even resting bitch face. Reminds me of my daughter, though I much prefers hers in the "resting" mode. Sounds like you are spot on re the back neckline. .. about an inch and then taper to nothing at shoulder seam? Sounds perfect. You lost me on the lining issue. Whaa? Did you construct dress and lining separately, attach, and then stitch in the ditch at bodice/skirt seam or did you underline? Perfect length on you and I want those shoes! Donna