Ta-dah!!! My finished black and white dress (Butterick 5602)! : ) Not bad for my second garment from a commercial pattern! Although there are a ton of little imperfections in this dress and I think I cut it a size too big (especially above the waist), overall I’m happy with the finished product. It’s a tailored, classy dress for work or a nice dinner out. Read on for close-ups of the neckline and zipper… and (gasp) a photo with my head in it. : )
Click any of the photos to make them bigger.
I’m satisfied with the views from the side and back, although I do think this dress is just a tad bit frumpy (maybe because I cut it too big). It doesn’t exactly have the sexy va-va-voom look that I was imagining in my head, but I do think it looks very sophisticated. A suppose a touch of sophistication in my wardrobe isn’t a bad thing, especially considering the usual grad-student-chic (aka sloppy) outfits I usually wear to work, haha. So I guess I am classing myself up here!
I had thought about taking in the front and back darts a bit to make it a little more tight-fitting, but the upper bodice isn’t fixable unless I completely redo the armholes and size seams, and that was just NOT going to happen! So, I left the darts alone so that the dress wouldn’t be half tight and half loose. Next time I’ll just go down a size.
I tried the dress on without the sash, and it definitely looks like it’s missing something. It kind of looks like it’s hanging off me here… so I’m glad I made the sash!
My favorite part about this dress is that the inside is fully lined. All the seams are either permanently enclosed or sandwiched in between the fabric and the lining, and it definitely feels luxurious to wear. I’ve made a mental note to myself to always buy/make lined garments from now on. If only well-made clothes weren’t so expensive!
Ok, now for a bunch of close-ups of the details of this dress. Disclaimer: you’ll be able to spot imperfections/wonkiness in pretty much all of these photos, but who cares! It’s my second dress, and I’m learning as I go. Most of the wonkiness isn’t very noticeable to the casual observer (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). : )
First up – the center front neckband. There is a little puckering at the bottom, but not bad overall. I do like how there’s no visible stitching and that the neckband is pretty solid due to the interfacing on the wrong side.
Here’s the back, where I hand stitched the neckband facing to the lining. You can see my little black stitches along the bottom edge. Again, a little puckering at the bottom of the V, but whatever! It’s the inside, people!
The top of the zipper came out ok. I don’t have the hook and eye closed in this photo, but the black bands do touch at the top when it’s fully closed. Getting this area to look neat was such a challenge! I feel like there are so many layers of fabric wrapped up underneath the neckband, and it was hard to smoosh them all in. This is definitely an area for me to work on as I move forward with garment construction.
It doesn’t look bad from the inside at all, especially now that I’ve closed the hook and eye (sorry, it’s hard to see with black on black). Again, this was really hard to finish neatly. Any tricks on how to make this area more polished?
I followed the pattern instructions on how to insert the invisible zipper, and it came out pretty nicely! I basted the center back seam, sewed in the zipper, and then removed the basting… which leaves these two little “flaps” that neatly enclose the zipper. I’ve later learned that you can iron the zipper teeth flat to sew even closer to them, eliminating the flaps all together. I’ll have to try this next time.
Oops! The bottom of the zipper looks like crap! Somehow I wound up with more fabric on the left side than on the right, which resulted in a pouf of lining fabric at the bottom. Argh!!! I’m choosing to just let this one go, especially because no one will ever see it on the inside of the dress. Problem solved. : )
Another bonus in lining the dress is that the interior of the hem looks great. So neat! The lining hem is about a half-inch shorter than the fabric hem. One day I’ll have to learn how to make those little strings that attach the lining to the fabric at the bottom of the hem – I see those all the time on purchased skirts and dresses.
One significant mistake in this dress is the interior of the armholes – ugh. See that weirdness? I had top stitched the armholes before sewing the side seams and didn’t realize what would happen until it was too late. Again, I chose to let it go because it’s not noticeable on the outside of the dress, but this is one of those mistakes that you only make once. I’m learning!
Well there you have it! This dress was very simple in terms of construction and resulted in a pretty classy piece. It’s ironic that I chose this pattern based on fit and it wound up being a little big, but I’m thinking about trying it again in a smaller size. We’ll see. I learned so much on this project and feel like I’m starting to “get” a few things about garment sewing and construction, and more importantly, I’m having so much fun with it. So all in all, I’m calling it a success!
Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoyed all the photos!