A few months ago, I saw this dress in the Boden catalog.
I really liked the style and the combination of the large and small print and set out to make my own version. I initially purchased New Look 6867 and figured I would alter the midriff band to be straighter and narrower and make it go around the back, but then I saw Butterick 5212. It already had those issues taken care of, so I bought it.
On a trip to Fabricland I found coordinating prints that I liked and I was so eager to get this dress put together that I didn't trace the pattern or make any sort of muslin - both things I do very regularly. After checking the finished garment measurements, I cut a 12 with no changes. Since I have a hard time being totally reckless (with fabric anyway) I did baste the lining together first to check the fit. I was so pleased when it fit well and didn't make any changes when sewing it, either.
I think the final result is dressier than my inspiration above and actually looks more like the Sophia dress from JCrew.
The back, in particular, is more like the JCrew version than the Boden one. It's hard to see in my photo, but the back overlaps just like the front. I like how it looks, but it is quite a bit more flesh than I usually have on display.
The fabric is a cotton/poly blend with some texture. I like the print and its hand, but I'm not sure if the wrinkled thing is working for me. The Preacher had to ask if it was supposed to be that way and when I told him it was, he insisted that he liked it. That's really the only thing about the dress that I'm not sure about, so I'm not going to over-think it.
The zipper in this dress is under the arm in the side seam. I did a great job putting in an invisible zipper, but after about the third time trying it on, the zipper broke. I used to be a big fan of invisible zippers, but since buying them at Fabricland, I've had a lot of problems with them. I don't think I am doing anything different, but the Fabricland zippers don't seem particularly low-quality either. Anyway, I think I'm falling out of love with invisible zippers. After I took out the broken zipper, I tried my first hand-picked zipper.
It was remarkably easy and feels very sturdy. I tend to be more skeptical about the strength of hand stitches than I ought to be. Threads magazine has good instructions, available here.
The entire dress is lined with cotton batiste. The pattern only calls for lining the bodice, but since my fabric was a little sheer, I did the skirt too. Having both layers be lightweight keeps the dress feeling summery. I usually avoid bias-cut skirts and dresses because they don't do my hips/saddlebags any favors, but the batiste lining helps this skirt skim rather than cling and I'm happy with the result.
This was the first thing I sewed for myself since February. It felt really good. Don't I look pleased with myself?