Choosing a dress based on fit

Butterick B5676 line artTime to choose a new project!  While my red polka dot dress is waiting for its fitting session (for which I’ve successfully recruited a friend!), I’ve been thinking about what to tackle next… taking into account a few lessons learned from my first dress.  While I love the look of the red polka dot dress (Butterick B5676, line drawing shown above), I’ve learned through actually making it that it incorporates very little fitting, hence the need for a friend to pinch in all the excess for me.  Now I can see the lack of darts in the line drawing – hindsight is 20/20, right?  There is a slight curve in at the waist, but a well-fitted dress really needs shaping in the front and back, not just along the sides.  Also, bust darts are a must.  Even for small boobs like mine!  So, with these newly-acquired bits of knowledge in mind, I’ve come up with a handful of prospects.

Butterick B4443Butterick B4443.  Slightly flared skirt with seemingly-adequate (???) shaping in the front and back bodice.  Includes directions for a lining for the bodice (and I’ve been itching to try a lined dress), and I would probably line the skirt as well.  I really like the look of this dress, particularly because I could easily wear it to work and wear it with tights and a cardigan in the fall.  However, as you’ll see below, it’s the only pattern I picked out with any flare in the skirt.  Maybe I’m also itching for a more fitted skirt?  Hmm…

Butterick B5752Butterick B5752.  Kind of a va-va-voom high-waisted dress that makes me want to immediately lose 10 pounds.  : )  I love love love the design of this dress, but I’m not sure how practical it would be.  It also comes with instructions for a partial lining, and its shaping lines are similar to the dress above.  I’m thinking that any excess could be taken in right along the shaping lines, no?  My biggest concern is the wrap-like detail on the top.  I look awful in wrapped tops due to my big shoulders and small chest, and I’m wondering how “wrappy” this detail really is.

Butterick B5602Butterick B5602.  Extremely similar in shape/design to my red polka dot dress, with the addition of the much-needed bust darts and front and back shaping.  Now this is what I’m talking about.  Built-in shaping, plus I can take in any excess right along the shaping lines.  The pattern includes instructions for a full lining (awesome), not to mention the faux-pocket cuffs that I think are adorable.  Really, I don’t have anything negative to say about this one other than the fact that it’s so similar to my last dress.  Will I get bored?

Butterick B5554Butterick B5554.  Cute design with moderate (but inadequate, particularly in the skirt?) shaping.  No lining (boo), for double knit fabrics only (boo, I’m not ready for knits yet).  I guess this one doesn’t stand much of a chance, but it goes along with my “sleeveless fitted dress” theme (with the exception of the yellow one at the top).  Oh well, moving right along!

Butterick B4386Butterick B4386.  Another sleeveless fitted dress, with all the glorious shaping lines and darts as in Butterick B5602.  Longer length with a slit in the back (very sexy!), and options for long sleeves, which I think would be nice for the fall.  Plus, I could always cut it shorter if I wanted.  The only negative thing about this one is that there are no lining instructions, and I am really itching to try a lined dress.  Argh! So close.

So, with all of that said, what do you think?  Which one is the perfect combination of the style that I’m looking for, the skills that I’d like to develop, and the shaping that I’ve been lacking?  I think I’m deciding between Butterick B4443 (the yellow one with the flared skirt) and Butterick B5602 (the lined red polka dot dress look-alike).  Actually, I just noticed that the yellow dress doesn’t actually have bust darts in the bodice… so does that mean the bodice is flat, even with the shaping lines?  Hard to tell!  This is where my lack of knowledge about garment construction really shows.  It all depends on how that curved piece is cut… but then again, I could always add bust darts if needed.  Decisions, decisions!

Or should I just screw it and go for the va-va-voom?  : )

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