As is the case with Katherine Tilton, Butterick 5881, Take 2.
Take 1 was here - not too much of a deviation from the original pattern; just a few alterations and embellishments along the way - enough to know that the pattern had loads of creative possibilities!
Originally, I bought 3 linen fabrics that I thought would be perfect for this pattern. This was a deviation from my norm right off the bat. Buy a pattern, and then fabric specifically for that pattern? Seriously, this is SO not my MO! I buy a pattern because I love something about it, and have some vague image of what I can do with it. I buy fabric because it feels fabulous on my skin, or the print just wows me, or (in a fit of practical groundedness) I think it will go well with something I have in mind, or will fill a hole in my stash. I bring it home and wash it and stash it and let it simmer and at some point it jumps up and says "Me! I'm ready! Use Me now!"
Did I use the 3 linens I bought for this pattern? No. And I probably won't. I'll just have to wait for them to jump out at me some time in the future. Hopefully. Maybe.
Instead I found fabric in stash for Version #1. I LOVE shopping my stash! I love HAVing a stash to shop in! I love finding little scraps that are the perfect print to match something and JUST big enough to fill a hole in a color-blocked item - you simply can't find that sort of magic in the overwhelming stacks of a fabric store. :)
For this version I also used stash fabrics. I had found several rayon prints in the closeout bin at Piedmont Fabrics a couple of years ago - SO cheap I bought them all! Combined with a cotton scrap, and a bit of leftover linen from the previous dress, I had some matches I liked :) I wanted to try a maxi-dress, and there was plenty of fabric, so I lengthened the underdress by 15". I kept the lower circumference the same, so I lengthened it somewhere below the hip, and adjusted the side seams accordingly. I also lengthened the overdress skirt by about 3", in the same way.
I was really hoping that the drapey rayon would give a sleeker look but it's having a hint of the muu-muu here...
Side View: Not awful, but not so flattering, really....
Note: The side seams had not been sewn up yet (because I wanted to insert pockets),
and I realized that a bit of a side slit might be fun :)
So I thought I would try giving it some shaping around the midriff with some darts. This involved matching up the 2 layers (underdress and overdress) exactly...not such an easy task! But I played with it a bit, basting in some darts, an at one point I tried it on inside out....
...and realized that, with a bit of unpicking on the side seams to finish them differently, I could actually have a reversible dress!
I finished the side seams and hems with a narrow hem, topstitched down. I also went ahead with the midriff darts, but I only put them in on the "underdress", which is now the reverse side.
Serged side seam:
Turned under and top stitched:
I installed side seam pockets in the same way I did on the original dress, by attaching the opening to the front of the overdress skirt, and patching the other sides of the pocket onto the reverse dress. This means that the stitching of the pocket shows when the dress is worn reversed, but being black....well, there are advantages to black thread on black fabric...
Then it was a matter of deciding whether to put on the faux placket (again, the stitching would show on the reverse side). I did it anyway.
And whether or not to put buttons on. I wanted to use some cute vintage cut buttons, but was concerned that they might bother my skin when it was reversed. They didn't, so I put them on.
And then it was a matter of installing the neck binding so that it would look good on both sides! Binding, stitching in the ditch, and having the fold of the fabric precise so that the top stitched side looks perfect is so NOT in my realm of perfection! Yet. And of course, I wanted to use black thread on a tan fabric. (see me rolling my eyes?) I ended up topstitching the outside, and hoping that the stitching would be buried in the black fabric on the reverse. It almost worked. I could have unpicked the offending stitches - I still could, I suppose.
But I didn't.
And I probably won't. :D
In my usual meandering way, finally reached the finishing point! And I have a dress that is really quite versatile :)
The Casual Look:
Dressed up a bit:
Reversed and belted, for a completely different look.
This was a 4-hour project that took me 4 days, but I'm happy with the results :-)
I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, maxi-dresses rock! I remember wearing them a lot when I lived in Hawaii - maybe we'll have some lovely weather this summer and fall, and I'll be able to get a lot of use out of this dress. Perhaps even another one?
Are you a maxi-dress lover? Do you dress yours up and/or down? Wear them all year, or only in the warmth?