Well the first part of the title is pretty self-explanatory – the fabric pattern reminds me of watermelon slices, hence the Dirty Dancing reference. The second part has to do with my renewed love of Little House on the Prairie – summer holidays allow plenty of time to watch classic shows! I’m pretty sure that if Laura Ingalls were looking for dress fabric these days, she would choose something similar to this.
About the fabric – it was one of my awesome finds from the Birmingham swap. As soon as I picked it up I knew I wanted to do something with the direction of the stripes and I had this pattern (Simplicity 2177) in my stash, which leant itself nicely to that. Although I did struggle a bit as the pesky stripes seem to gently curve in some places with no regard for pattern placement! Tusk tusk.
As far as construction went, this dress was a bit of a nightmare – mostly because I tried to be clever – always a risk. I tried to make a lining for the bodice rather than sticking to the given facing pattern pieces. I’m not a fan of facings and I wanted to line the bodice to hide all of the seams inside. For some unknown reason I tried to make a standard bodice block instead of sticking to the same shape as the pattern. The lining fit me perfectly, but it didn’t really match up to the bodice. I tried pinning them together, but it just wasn’t working so I darted the centre front of the bodice. I actually quite like the effect it makes – it looks more like a burst of all the lines.
Unfortunately the alterations of the outer fabric have made the front ripple-ey. I’ve pressed and pressed, but with no luck. The front neckline also rolls away from the body. Is this because these pieces were cut on the bias? Any ideas how I can fix this if I make this dress again? I’m not sure whether it’s all down to the fact that the bodice and the lining don’t match. I have a feeling that that construction choice will keep coming back to haunt me! However, I don’t think it’s too noticeable from the front so I’ll live with it for now.
The other faux pas was to use a zip that only reaches to the waist i.e. the narrowest part of the dress – meaning that I have to pretty much dislocate my shoulders in order to get it on properly.
If I ever make this pattern again (I’m inspired to try again when I see Andrea of Four Square Walls’ versions here and here. It was also while re-reading her posts that I noticed she has coincidentally mentioned Little House on the Prairie too. It must be something in the pattern!) I’ll taper in or dart the bodice back, bring in the shoulders on the bodice front and probably grade the pattern from a size 10 bust to size 8 or 6 waist. There is a LOT of ease in this bodice! I’d also think about making a more gathered skirt. I like the narrower skirt, but I also like to have more movement and ‘swishyness’ in general.
Overall (and despite the many errors) I do like this dress. I love the colour and the fabric is really light and airy. Plus it’s all finished neatly with my overlocker and for once I remembered to overlock the pocket pieces before sewing them all together!
I think my favourite thing about this dress is the way it can be dressed for different occasions. I like it with heels for the evening, but I love it more casually with a bright cardigan. How would you style this bad boy? Ha ha ha – that phrase isn’t one that naturally rolls off my tongue! :-)