Somehow this dress makes me feel as if it really wants to be pictured by a pool, while I am holding a fruity cocktail and the sky is as blue as the flowers on the fabric. What you actually get is my back garden (again), but I have made a bit of effort on the ‘styling’ and added – sunglasses!
I don’t think the pictures really capture the intense shades of the colours on this print, the blues are incredibly bright against the white background. There is nothing subtle about this print – and to me it just screams summer?This is the Marbella dress from Itch to Stitch Designs. It was released last year and I saw a few posts about it – including this one from Diary of a Chainstitcher. To be honest I thought it looked a bit more fitted than I usually wear and possibly a bit complicated! Then I received this pattern from Pearl Red Moon in the Monthly Stitch PDF pattern swap and I looked at it again! I really like that this pattern has been made by people of all shapes and sizes and it seems to have worked well for everyone.
The design of the pattern is a bit different to the usual fitted sheath dress as the bodice has a wide yoke back and front and princess seams. The skirt has two box pleats at the front and is fitted with darts at the back.
As the pattern was new to me I made a complete muslin first and I was cautious about sizing. My measurements were all over the sizing chart – my bust is a size 6, my waist between 8 and 10 and my hips between 12 and 14. The PDF has a very cool feature to allow you to only print the sizes you need so I printed sizes 6 through 14. You can also select cup sizes so I went with a B. I initially cut an 8 through the shoulder and bust grading out to a 10 at the waist and out to a 14 at the hip. The first muslin ended up with the front only slightly too loose but there was quite a lot of excess fabric at the waist at the back.I recut the front pieces a size smaller. For the back pieces I needed more of a dart shape at the lower back so I took a wedge from the centre back princess seam (folding back about an inch) and a smaller fold from the side back piece. I reduced the size of the back skirt pieces at the waist and increased the dart intake to match the princess seam changes on the bodice piece. I also had to add a bit more width to the back pieces at the hip (so the pattern pieces now look weirdly curved – because my curves are weird!). Finally I lengthened the skirt by two inches.The fabric is a stretch cotton print from Minerva Crafts – using the IPM discount code! It is available in red and orange as well as the blue and purple. It is quite a thick cotton with 3% spandex. Because of the thickness of the cotton I decided to skip the pockets and I lined the bodice with a lightweight white cotton with a tiny amount of stretch rather than self lining. I didn’t line the skirt – the fabric isn’t at all transparent and I don’t think I will be worrying about wearing it in winter with tights because this dress is entirely for summer!
I didn’t attempt any pattern matching as there are so many pieces across the bodice that I didn’t have the energy but I do think there are areas where it looks as if I cut the fabric upside down because the tulips go in both directions in some parts of the print. It’s possible I have actually cut the whole thing upside down but I am going to ignore that possibility…The instructions are incredibly detailed – there are over 60 steps in total with lots of diagrams and really helpful instructions for under-stitching all the seams – including the zip – which was really useful. My fabric really needed the under-stitching to hold all the lining seams in place neatly as it is quite thick. The pattern drafting is excellent – all the yoke pieces fit together neatly and all the darts and seams lined up perfectly (even after my random fit adjustments). I love the way the bodice lining is finished at the zip without any hand sewing and the insides turned out pretty neat!I think that as I was using a stretch fabric I could have taken the sizing down a little further. I have a small amount of gape at the centre front and the back yoke is slightly loose at the top.Overall though I really like the fit and I am so pleased with how this turned out, it looks quite closely fitted at the back but isn’t tight anywhere.
I feel as if this swap has given me a real challenge and pushed me out of my comfort zone – thanks to Pearl for choosing this pattern for me. I hope everyone else enjoyed the swap just as much.
Now all I need is that cocktail!