Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fifth Avenue - Sew Chic

I love this photo. Too dark, but that's the color. Mysterious! All other photos will be overexposed to show what the thing really looks like.
I have been jonesin' for this pattern since I saw it when it came out.

I picked a copy up from Laura Nash in person at SewExpo in Puyallup a month ago. Pondered it for awhile, tried different layouts on the cutting board, then jumped in with both feet and some leg as well.

I've not made a Sew Chic pattern before, and the question on a fitted pattern is always: does the fit match the measurements given for the size I'm choosing?

So before I start cutting the lining (to test fit the bodice), I get the newest sloper I've made and contrast and compare.

Obviously, things do not match up exactly.  There's styling differences in shoulder and dart placement, as well as wearing ease. The sloper is FITTED. This dress will have a side zip and will need some wiggle room to get arms through sleeves over my head. Wearing ease must be added.

The edge of the ruler is where a 1/2" seam allowance would end on an exact fit. Allowing for wearing ease of an inch on each side seam (2inches total), I'm going to be a 12. I have  36" bust, pattern says 36" - I think I can move ahead with confidence.

And indeed I can. I make up the bodice in the lining fabric, because if I have any tweaks I need to make, I can do them with that and keep moving forward with the dress.

I am a scant A cup on a good day, so I won't need a FBA with this pattern (the 'cupping' at the center bust seam is my level of shallow) but you may.

There are a lot of sizes on a pattern piece.
I needed to mark the seam line for my size so I would not miss mine when they cross.

I know, this is where the train goes into the tunnel and suddenly we are almost done when it comes back out.
Notes about the pattern are at the end of this post.

left to right: skirt front, skirt back, bodice/collar/sleeves sewn together. All side seams left open.

I am at the top of my weight cycle, and will be getting smaller again, so I broke the pieces into sections for final construction. Sewed collar and bodice sections together, added sleeves, made up skirt front and skirt back pieces with the lining serged to them at the edges. 

This modular construction will come in handy to edit this dress later on.

Is there a camera setting that doesn't make things look really wrinkled? Cause it's not.

It is a lovely dress. It's possibly idiot proof.  The collar is wide and an untamed beast I may shrink. I added a second skirt drape in the back to appease my need for consistency. I took six inches off the hem and widened the skirt here. I left off the side poof; I'm wide enough. I need to add ornaments as in the original, but suddenly other large personal issues are taking precedence.
I will return to this dress. 

Laura, you are a genius!

It needs a hat. But not much else. it's a gorgeous thing.

On the down side, the instructions assume a level of sewing and construction expertise and leave out steps. How that bodice goes together is yours to figure out.  The pattern tells you to interface the bodice pieces to support the collar, and you will have to. I've left that afternoon out here. The sleeves have an enormous pouf at the top; I took out an inch  of head height and still have quite the crown at the top. The print quality of the instructions made it impossible to read the layout diagrams. Mark the pieces 'face up for fabric/face down for lining' as all the front bodice pieces are singular cuts. The lining is the reverse of the fashion fabric, so it needs to be backwards/inside out. Yes, I always forget. That's another afternoon I've left out.

I don't care. It's a great dress. I'm a box, and I think it's flattering, even in these crummy selfies. This is the mother of the bride dress for sure!

I need to narrow the skirt. I left a LOT of room on the sides. Trust the pattern measurements on the envelope; they are correct!

Hm. Needs a hat.


  1. This is wonderful! I have always wondered why there are not more versions of this design out there - hopefully your dress will convince others to make their own. I know I am seriously considering it!

    1. I cannot say enough good things about this dress. It is a solid hit, worth all the extra effort you'd want to put into a formal dress. I plan on making a less formal version in novelty cotton this fall. And it will work, because this dress is just that solid a design.


Thanks for reading! I love your comments, I love your ideas, I love your recipes, but if you post links to advertising, I will delete your comment.