May 27, 2015

ESP Picnic Dress (B&W Collection Dress 1)

This is a picture heavy post and I'll keep the comments to a minimum.   This is the first dress is what I'm calling the B&W Collection - a collection of 4 dresses all from black and white prints there were started to making packing and dressing on vacation easier - but I didn't get them finished.   

This is my newest ESP Dress - the picnic dress - now with lowered neckline

This dress is comfortable and easy to wear

I think - slowly - my photos are getting better

I really like my first ESP dresses and they have been in heavy rotation since finishing them.  But I found the neckline a bit too high.  So - I reached out to Decades of Style and asked how to lower the neckline.  I lowered the neckline on this dress 2" and it's just about perfect for me.  Other alterations:  placed center front bodice slightly off center and narrowed the sleeve width by 1.5"

The back fits better than this - but I was moving.
Also - in all honestly -  I could make the bodice a size smaller.

You can kind of see it in the photos above, but this dress has a 2" hem and then I added wide hem lace. 

Decades of Style, graciously, gave me permission to share the information.
That's amazing customer service - at least in my book.

Without further ado - here are the screen shots and instructions from Decades of Style.  (I was not compensated - just a very happy customer!)

First, here are your Front Bodice and Sleeve pieces as is in the pattern

Step 1. Line up the pieces at the front neck corner lining up the seam lines as best you can

Step 2. Extend the line from the top of the sleeve down into the Front Bodice as shown in pink

Step 3. Decide how much you want to lower the neck line and draw it from the center front over to meet the line extended from the Sleeve

Step 4. Draw from the new neck corner down to the Sleeve notch

Step 5. Cut along the newly drawn lines separating into 2 pieces as shown in pink

Step 6. Move the piece from the Bodice sleeve seam over to the Sleeve piece and attach

I hope you find this helpful!  I have to admit - it was a bit scary doing this alteration, but it worked!  And it was fairly easy given the instructions and screen shots.  Now - my neckline really looks square - where in the first version, not so much.  

What's the scariest alteration you've ever attempted?  And did it work?

May 20, 2015

French Floral ESP Dress

I made this dress way back in March at Sewing Retreat.  On day one of retreat - I tag teamed 2 blue ESP dresses.  So far there are only photos of one. 

As is my habit, I traced all the pattern pieces.  Also habit is to take 1.5" out of the back length - I'm very short from my neck to waist in the back.  Finally - the last thing I do routinely is to add length to the skirt.   I made one muslin of the bodice only before cutting out 'real' fabric.  

The muslin showed that I needed to move the side darts down slightly, move the shoulder darts forward and - I felt - the sleeves were too full.  You can see from the photos that my sleeves are very wrinkled from being stuffed in a cardigan.  ( I forgot to modify the facings to match the fact that I moved the shoulder darts forward, but nobody knows!)

This dress is very easy to wear.  Even though the skirt is quite full, it doesn't feel horribly full and I think that could be based on the thinness of the cotton fabric.  And yet, it feels full, feminine and flirty.  Those are important qualities in a dress for me.  

I swear the hem hangs even, regardless of the fact that it doesn't look like it does in the side view.  Remember how I mentioned that I added length to the skirt?  Well - I added as much as my fabric would allow, which on this version was 4", then I took a 2" hem all around.  I don't recall  how large of a hem the pattern calls for - but I think adding length was a good idea.

On me, I feel like the neckline is quite high.  I reached out to the Decades of Style team and honestly - they were prompt and incredibly helpful.  I'm so very pleased with the customer service.  I have another version cut and mostly sewn up - but vacation got in the way.  Speaking of vacation - I wore this dress to Gibraltar and the Statue of Liberty and she did very well.

Verdict - I will make more versions of this dress.  What's your favorite style of dress to make over and over?

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