Oh, let’s open with a picture of the only crepe paper flower I’ve managed to make this summer. It’s so pretty!
And on to one of the most interesting projects I’ve undertaken lately – Marcy Tilton’s French Apron Dress. I bought the pattern when it came out and have kind of ignored it ever since – because I knew in my heart that any attempt would require a lot of tweaking and fitting.
So right. I’ve put about 20 hours into this, it’s finished, and I mean it’s finished!! But it has some good parts. As we go forward, please know that this is a muslin. I used scrap fabrics (but all are poly ITY jersey), and tried to keep the color and print palette within reason.
The drafting on this is really nice, better, IMHO, than on Tilton’s French House Dress (my version here, and another use of the over-sized drooped pocket). I think the pockets are fun, and they drape really nicely in the ITY knit. Also, the upper front insert (dots fabric) is very believable, not cutesy.
I was a little concerned about how well the upper front would support the weight of the attached middle front (striped fabric). I didn’t want a big dip! So I stabilized it with a strip of knit fusible. In fact, I did the same for many areas that might otherwise sag: top edges of pocket pieces, necklines, and the pivot corner that supports the pocket and middle front.
I also underlined the upper front and upper back to add stability. Not wanting to add weight, I used a very light burnout jersey. An added benefit – it has only 2-way stretch (horizontal), which counteracts the 4-way stretch of the dotted ITY.
- I sewed the size Large, but should have used the Medium. I bought the pattern before my breast surgery last year, and I’m lots smaller now – went from a C cup to an A. The pattern sizing is XS-M and L-XXL – I had to pick one.
- The pattern has a shoulder tab, from which the front and back are suspended. It’s kind of like an epaulet, and I left it off completely. Thank you, Fabric Princess, for this idea, which lifts the armhole and makes it work for a sleeveless dress.
- It also has huge facings for the armholes and back neckline. Not. I just used binding on the neckline and armholes.
- Sort of true to the ‘apron’ name, the front and back middle pieces are pleated into the upper pieces. A totally lost design element. I just gathered mine.
- This dress is crazy voluminous below the waistline. I removed quite a bit from the lower back side seam:
- My view of the multi-piece/contrast lower front is that it’s just too much going on…I drafted it as one piece.
- I also evened out the back hem, so it doesn’t look like a mistake.
- I made my dress to be midi-length, because I wanted to be able to play around with it. I’m not fond of my midi length, but a maxi might look good. In fact, I like the look on the envelope, with leggings and a tee (both patterns are included, a nice touch). It would be cute with high-shaft boots, a turtleneck, a scarf. But this is Florida!!