Two of my dear friends got married on Saturday! It was a lovely gorgeous day, and the perfect opportunity to wear the first version of my April Rhodes Party Dress. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself at 1pm as I frantically flipped through the pages of my serger manual for the first time ever. We needed to leave the house at 3pm. “If I don’t finish in 45 minutes, I’ll just wear something else!” I shouted to Nik through my studio door with teeth clenched, sweaty bangs falling in my eyes. (That, of course, was a ruse, I was going to finish and wear the dress, cause that’s how I craft.)
And I did! Somehow I figured out the serger, pressed the dress, brushed my hair and put on lipstick in time to stroll in on Nik’s arm saying, “Oh, this? Just finished it up this morning!” (And, yes, if you’re wondering, Nik is a saint.)
I loved this pattern from the moment I saw it. With no zippers or buttons and the subtlest of high-low hems, it’s the casually elegant type of thing I want to wear everyday. I did make some significant alterations along the way, but they were based on my own fit preferences. The pattern itself was very easy to follow with so many clear and helpful pictures. I altered the neckline, because I’m not as much of leg or cleavage-showing kinda gal as much as I love an exposed upper back.
I did this after I had sewn most of the dress and just had some finishing to do (after the last picture). This emphasized the looseness in the bodice, and instead of draping casually, it gaped under my arms. To correct this, I took in the sides, effectively making the small I had cut into an XS, as drafted.
It’s also a little shorter than intended, because first I serged the hem with the intention of making a narrow hem, but honestly, I’m kind of terrible at hems so far, so after a couple dissatisfied attempts, I cut off the serging, consulting the manual and figured out how to make a rolled hem with the serger, which I’m pretty smitten with.
The bodice fabric is the Creative Mint La Venta voile, left over from the kitchen curtains, and the skirt is an inexpensive cotton broadcloth I had ordered on a whim when shopping for something else. I’m really pleased with how they worked together and that the skirt is barely wrinkled, considering I sat in a car and in the summer sun for a couple hours before the picture was taken.
I’m working on another version of the dress now that I’m hoping to finish by the end of the week. Making a muslin really helps, even if you are determined to make it a wearable one. Who knew? (everyone who’s ever sewn anything, that’s who.) I’m going to cut the extra-small to start and use the same altered neckline, but I’m going to add a lining to the skirt this time.