It's like magic, but it's actually Victory Patterns' Hazel dress in a rayon challis. And isn't it sooo lovely?
When this pattern first came out, I immediately loved it, but I was so scared to sew anything in a fabric more delicate than stable woven cotton, so I shied away, thinking it would be too hard for me. Then I won 2nd place in this year's Shorts on the Line (with my cool nani IRO playset--and really, I have Naomi Ito to thank for that win) and got a whole bunch of gift certificates to amazing online sewing shops, including Fancy Tiger Crafts and Imagine Gnats. When I saw the rayon challis in the Imagine Gnats shop and the Hazel pattern at Fancy Tiger I knew I had to at least give it a shot!
This pattern is nicely drafted--all the bits and bobs line up--and I love the design. The instructions were a little weird. They all made sense and were easily followed, but like, there's no finishing techniques even suggested for the sleeve seams and then you are supposed to hand sew the cuffs? I would think that you would either go raw edges only OR super finished insides but generally not a mix of both. YMMV, but you may want to deviate from suggested construction techniques. Also, I have never heard of a dress in which only the skirt is lined, and this seems super weird to me! The top as written is finished with a neck facing. But my cream rayon challis was a bit sheer, and you could have totally seen a facing under there, and also, ugh, facings!, so I totally did my own thing, ignored the rules, and lined the top but not the skirt. I'll wear a half slip. I do what I want!
(The way to do it, really, is to tape the top and skirt portions together at the sewing line (there's no shaping there) and make that your lining piece, but maybe Victory wanted to minimize pattern pieces and didn't want to make people do anything crazy like taping two pieces together to make a lining piece? I don't know. In the future, I will either make it fully lined following the above method or just leave it unlined and french seam the whole thing (and wear a slip).)
This is a straight size 4. I thought it was going to be on the large size while tracing but then panicked during sewing thinking it would be too small! In the end, I think it fits fairly well. I feel like it's a little tight across the back, I don't have "doing your hair" range of motion (always a good test), but it isn't anything seriously encumbering.
I really like bow-neck (or pussy bow) blouses, and so I'd like to make this again. I would really like to make it all in one color, splicing the pattern pieces together to ditch the color blocking. I'd also be interested in making it top-length, and lengthening the sleeves to basically make a version of the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse. I don't think it would be too too tricky. (Or I could just pony up the $10.)
I'm also interested in ditching those darts. This dress would be about 500 times better if it didn't have bust darts, in my opinion (because I am lazy). I'm thinking about sizing up and doing an SBA to ditch them. Bad idea? Do you have better suggestions? I could also rotate them into the shoulder seam and ease them in, maybe, but I've never done that before. Perhaps it is time for this experiment!
I think I have turned a corner in my sewing where I want to try a lot of things I was scared of before and gain some more skills. I already tackled knits for my Coco, now I have used a lovely silky fabric, and coming up, tailoring a jacket and a coat and making a proper collar and stand. I have plans, I have fabric, and I have motivation. Let's do this!
ps: when i saw this pattern, i totally assumed that you couldn't really make this in a cotton, but in my researches i discovered i was totally wrong, as evidenced by this great chambray version by Sew Charleston!