Frankie Dress. The Denver Sewing Collective Challenge.

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The Denver Sewing Collective is starting to put out monthly challenges. October’s challenge was to use that fabric you’ve been holding onto in your stash out of fear to use it or just because you didn’t know what to do with it. I had 4 yards of this large print in my stash as a hand me down. I just let it sit there because it’s not my color and big florals aren’t me either.

So I was feeling up to a challenge after visiting the DSC Meetup in September. After a lot of looking through my Pinterest boards for dress ideas and through my own pattern stash I thought I’d work up Simplicity 2886. The pattern envelope is no help for view A but I found better pics on Craftsy the other day.

One of my goals was to minimize seams to prevent breaking up the print. Here’s where Frankie starts to earn her name after Frankenstein’s monster. I redrafted the bodice to eliminate the midriff piece and eliminated the back center seam. This worked pretty well but made attaching the bodice lining a bit time intensive. The box pleated skirt was pretty easy to put together too.

Here’s the result (with unfinished hem).

In proess

Something about the darts on the bodice just looked strange to me and man is this an unflattering cut for me. Thanks to some input from Pam, Jill, and Jamie at the DSC October Meetup I came home with a plan to make Frankie a bit more of a mishmash and make those darts look better and to make the dress look a little less juvenile on me. To make the silhouette a better fit for my body shape I came away with the idea to redo the skirt to be more the shape of a shift dress and to add darts to the skirt to line up with those on the bodice.

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I traced off the bottom skirt part of Vogue 1809 DKNY (oop) as a guide and added a bit to the center front to account for the darts I was going to add. Mashing up the two patterns worked really well. The final silhouette is much more flattering and extending the line of the bodice darts down into the skirt looks better too. Too bad I didn’t just start with a shift dress pattern so there wouldn’t be the seam at the waistline. Oh well.

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Lessons learned:

1. The waistline of a dress needs to fall at my natural waist, not higher. This is going to be very helpful as I work on my Core Wardrobe.

2. Oh how valuable it is to have a kind fellow sewists to point out where you’ve messed up and how to fix it.

3. It is possible to line a bodice after the front and back are pieced together, but so time intensive it may be worth the back center seam.

4. Box pleats may work for me in a drapier fabric.

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If you were to work up this dress it would take you about 3 hours. I probably spent another 3 hours redrafting, making muslins, and redoing the skirt.

2 thoughts on “Frankie Dress. The Denver Sewing Collective Challenge.

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