Tuesday, June 23, 2015


If you're like me, you probably own a gagillion patterns.  Every season I buy 5-10 more patterns at the dollar sales at Joann's.  This means I acquire around 20 patterns per year.  That's bananas.  Last month I came home with 5 new patterns only to discover I had already purchased 2 of them previously.  This told me 1. My style is consistent (yay me!!)  2. I need to organize this nightmare and 3. I should probably refrain from buying any more patterns until I work through making the ones I already have.  After cleaning out my pattern stash of the outdated, useless, or sizes my kids grew out of, I am still left with over 100 patterns, 3 pattern books, and a sense of over-ambitious delusion that I will make them. 

This month's blog post is from a dress pattern I made from the book (I already own) Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Gretchen Hirsch (aka "Gertie") as I have mentioned her before.  I realize some home sewists may be on the fence about her, but reading her blog is a big reason I started sewing again.  I take a lot of inspiration from her.

This pattern is called the Sweetheart Sundress.

With these patterns, there are many "draft-your-own" skirts, collars, etc, which can be a fun way to customize if you're comfortable doing that.  If you're not, this book may be a frustrating and defeating pipe dream. For me, skirt-drafting is no big deal, and I did draft my own 3/4 circle skirt for this dress.  She calls for a dirndl skirt (rectangle with gathers at the waist), but I always find circles more flattering on me.

I made my version out of a navy gingham. It is lined with a sheer cotton batiste, and the collar and straps are white cotton poplin.  I did make a muslin of this bodice because a full bust adjustment for this type of neckline was totally new to me and a little tricky.  I still slashed and spread like you would for a darted FBA, but then I slashed again to close the dart on one side and add the fullness back to the front where the gathers are.  Then I had to move the apex of the bust down... like a couple inches... because these girls just ain't where they used to be.  The result was a WHOLE TON of gathers.  I can't even show you the inside of this dress... Trust.  For a well-illustrated guide on moving/converting darts, you can check out this craftsy tutorial.
But here you can get an idea of the gathery-gatheredness it required to cover me.  The result was quite pretty and fit so nicely.  If I did it again, I think I would interface those straps, but I think thats the only change I would make. I honestly never thought I'd be able to own or wear a dress like this.  If sewing has done anything, it's helping make my fashion dreams come true!  Well, sewing and the purchase of some interesting undergarments. God bless the internet and all its giant demi-bras... Amen.