Sunday, April 6, 2014

Winter Street Dress Blog Tour

If you've popped over here for the blog tour, hello! I usually sew for my kids, but I have made it a goal to sew for myself some this year. So when Deepika was looking for ladies to test a dress, I thought it would be the perfect motivation for me. This is the Winter Street Dress, designed by Deepika, the found of and drafted by Maria Denmark.

I actually made two versions. My first try was in a ponte knit, and while it's an appropriate fabric for the dress (see Detective Houndstooth's gorgeous version using ponte), it didn't work for my figure. The structure of a stable knit highlighted my curves in a very unflattering way.

I wrote Deepika, feeling very discouraged and thinking this silhouette just would not work for me. She suggested that maybe it would work in a drapier knit. There are inverted pleats that offer a little tummy camouflage if needed, without extra fullness if you're slim. The skirt has a tulip shape and the pattern is drafted for a C cup and an above the knee hem. So, in theory, it should have worked for me. She didn't pressure me to re-do it, but I decided to try again and I am so glad I did!!

The neckline--the part that I need the most practice with when sewing with knits--has a wonderful method of construction which leads to a nice-looking, no gape neckband. Deepika includes a link to a video showing the method, or you can also read about it in her tip on Pattern Review: Narrow Binding on necklines and armholes for knits

I did make some slight fit tweaks. The dress actually turned out pretty good in the size made by using the measurement chart (L top, blended to an XL waist, with an XL skirt), but since my first attempt was so horrible I thought I should use it as a muslin and learn a bit about fit in the process. I have an ample bum, so I increased the width of the back skirt by 3/4" (on the fold) in order to make deeper pleats in the back. In the ponte they looked like they were straining, but the increased depth of the pleat and the drapier knit make them behave much nicer.

I also made a swayback adjustment, though I imagine the bunching I get at often get in the small of my back is due to my bum curve and not necessarily a sway back. Deepika sent me this swayback alteration for knits to check out. I traced the size I needed for the back and then marked a dot 1/2" up from the bottom on the center fold line. I used a ruler and drew a line from that dot over to the bottom corner of the outer edge. I did something similar for the skirt, removing a wedge that was a 1/2" deep in the center back, tapered to nothing on the outer edge. The result was great! I have some store bought knit dresses I like to wear with a belt, but they always bunch up--you can see this doesn't. The only issue I had was that I used the same pattern piece to cut out the front skirt and accidentally made a sway-front adjustment, oops!

So I have to wear the belt with this version, but the dress looks super cute without it--check out Sew Crafty Chemist's version.

A few other adjustments I made--I added 1/2" (on the fold) to the back bodice as a cheater broad back adjustment. I don't know if I actually needed this. Trumbelina's post on her dress has great details and illustrations on how to do one properly and is another super-cute, non-belted version.  I also added 1/2" width to both sides of the sleeves, as my arms often feel like sausages in RTW clothes. I probably didn't need that extra room but it's so nice not to have snug sleeves! I took a smidge off the sleeve cap to account for the extra length of the armscye from my width adjustment--the sleeve should fit in the armscye without gathers.

I also made 3/4 length sleeves by adding some length to the cut line for the flounce. We're entering spring here in the South but our office is air-conditioned, so these will be perfect. 

I did not change the hem length and found in my first version that I would not need to change the hem length of the long-sleeves either. I did not change the bodice length either. I'm only 5' 2", so keep that in mind if you are not so short! It looks high in the front in the next picture, but it hangs straight in real life.

I do not love the side view quite so much, but that is not the fault of the pattern--this is actually the most flattering dress I've worn since having kids! My mummy-tummy combined with a once-petite, now-full hourglass shape can be difficult to dress in one-piece garments. I thought that I could only wear dresses that were super full on the bottom or were empire-waisted. This dress has a seam at the natural waist and the fullness is due to the inverted pleats, proving me wrong. I already plan to make another version of this dress!

Thank you, Deepika, for your help and encouragement in making this dress. And thank you for understanding that women want to feel nice in their clothes, even if they are not in perfect shape :)

Be sure to catch all the version of this great dress on the blog tour. Here's the whole schedule:

Sew Crafty Chemist 4/2/2014
Detective Houndstooth 4/3/2014
How Good Is That? 4/4/2014
Trumbelina Sews 4/5/2014
danikate Designs  4/6/2014
Sherril's Sewing Saga 4/7/2014
Sharon Sews 4/8/2014
Stitchin' in My Kitchen 4/9/2014
sewing forward 4/10/2014
Hellou's Handmades 4/11/2014
Crafted By Carrie 4/12/2014
Greetings from Beyond the Basic Block 4/13/2014
JanMade 4/14/2014
Julia Bobbin 4/15/2014

**A note--My dress seems to be fuller in the front and fit differently from some of the other versions (and the line drawing). I did select the XL waist and XL skirt sizes based on my measurements and using the chart in the pattern. The tutorial has you use clear elastic at the waist seam to stabilize it. I don't believe I stretched the knit to make it look gathered, though that is possible. Rather, I think it's just the way my weight is distributed and the way the knit hangs. I assembled the back skirt the same as the front and you can see that looks a lot smoother. Regardless of the reason, I'm glad for the way the dress hangs in the front on me!


  1. This is so pretty on you! I love the print and the fitting adjustments you made are spot on. It is very flattering!

  2. Angie, this looks great on you! I'm so glad to see you sewing for yourself :)
    It is very flattering on you

  3. This is a really cute style for you! Great fabric too!

  4. I am so glad you made it again. The print is lovely and the shape is super flattering on you.

  5. Your dress turned out beautiful. I love the fabric. The print looks great on you and the drape is gorgeous.

  6. It turned out beautifully! I'm so glad you didn't give up after sewing it in the Ponte knit! I also wasn't as pleased with my first version when I sewed it in the more staple knit. This one is lovely and I bet you wear it often. Just be prepared for the compliments!

  7. Thank you all so much! It was really nice to sew for myself for a change and custom-sized clothes are SO comfortable. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...