New dress and new shoes

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday (31!) and I decided to make a Darling Ranges Dress as a present to myself.  I also got myself some new shoes :)

The pattern is pricey, but it is so cute that I couldn’t resist!  It is really pretty simple in terms of construction.  It’s got a v-neck and full button closure down the front, long sleeves and deep pockets in a gathered skirt.  I used black and white chambray (though it totally looks blue) that I got using my winnings from the PR&P sew-along 2 seasons ago (yay for free fabric)!

I made the dress in size large and it fits well.  The main adjustment I had to make was the bust darts.  The original pattern was waaaaay off for me.  Of course, everyone’s body is very different, so you can’t expect it to fit you perfectly, but I was hopeful since my bust measurement is the same as what they listed on the pattern and my cup size is the same as the one they use to make the pattern (according to Megan Nielsen’s blog).  So I did not make a muslin and went ahead and cut and sewed the pattern only to realize that it was way off.  I had to make it work because I didn’t have any extra fabric.  And since I don’t know anything about bust adjustments, I just fudged my way through it.  Though it looks OK, it certainly is not great.  The bust darts are super long and still a little off.  Moral of the story?  MUSLIN.  Make one.  Don’t ever skip this step.  I gave the same advice when I made the Washi in Blue, but of course, didn’t bother following it! :(

(Ok, stop staring at my boobs)

Besides that adjustment, I used bias on the sleeve cuffs instead of elastic and also added pintucks to the bottom hem.

I also decided to use a different fabric for the inside of the button placket/bias for the neckline, just for fun.  You don’t see it when it’s being worn, so it’s really just for me.

The pattern is high quality – well written, great diagrams, easy to follow.  The only thing I thought was strange was that one of the directions said to sew up to the marks on the pattern but I could not find the marks anywhere!  Maybe they were left off?  Maybe I’m totally blind/crazy?

And these are my new fall/birthday shoes!  I love them.  They are by Madden Girl and called Dontee.  I think they’d be cute with some skinny pants folded at the ankle, but I don’t know if I can pull that look off :)

Sewing for myself is getting to be pretty fun, though I obviously still have a lot to learn.  I’ve been dying to make myself a Washi tunic FOREVER, but it keeps getting pushed back on my to do list.  I’m starting to look at women’s clothes and think, “I can make that” the same way I used to look at children’s clothes.  Justine over at Sew Country Chick is hosting a pattern making draft-along for women’s clothing in November.  So if you’re interested in learning more about sewing for women, you should check that out!

In other news, fall is in full swing and some days are starting to feel an awful lot like winter.  Where does the time go??

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29 thoughts on “New dress and new shoes

  1. Haha, I was totally looking at your boobs after all that dart talk. Then you straightened me out :)

    It’s really so cute on you, I love the pleats you added at the bottom. And I love hearing you say that you look at women’s clothes the way you used to look at kids clothes. I want to get there soon, just need to start by making SOMETHING for me. ANYTHING!

  2. WAY cute. Love it. I was actually just wondering the other day when you’d get around to posting this, ha! The darling ranges pattern is officially on my birthday wishlist (and I’m also addicted to chambray because of you)!!

    • Oh girl, my “to post” list is almost as long as my “to do” list. Still have to post the top I made for Yuki’s birthday and I WAS going to post about Hideko’s party, but those were both back in September so . . . maybe in January!??!

      So who do you send your birthday wishlist to? What else is on it? Glad I could turn you on to chambray – funny too, because I think Gail is the one who got me into it :)

  3. cute! I love chambray. Patterns with v necks always catch my eye, but I still haven’t gotten up the gumption to get one and make myself something. That print you used on the inside is awesome too. It’s the same one I used in August to make birthday crowns for Violet’s birthday ^_^

    • So cool! I know it’s not a v-neck, but if you want to try sew yourself something, I highly recommend starting with the Washi. It’s just such a great confidence building project and you can adjust the pattern to go in so many directions, even a v-neck if you wanted to!

  4. Beautiful! I love the special fabric details in the trimmings. It’s always cheering to have something that only you can see just before and after wearing a garment I find – like a little secret. Lovely colourful pattern! Happy birthday :)

  5. 1. stop being so cute
    2. great shoes!
    3. those growth pleats make the dress – nice idea!
    4. thanks for turning 31 before me. I’m not psyched about this one. Been having too much fun telling everyone I’m 30 :)
    5. Happy bday!!

  6. happy Birthday Cherie!!! You look FANTASTIC! I love that dress, and yes – I was staring at your books after you were talking about darts. Which made me lol when I read your (stop looking) comment. Love it! (The dress, not the boobs)

  7. this dress is too cute, and so are you! I’ve been looking at that style of shoes. I never really considered them until I tried a few pairs on and now I’m on the search!

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