Finally

Guess what?  I finally got around to taking pictures of my Peony!

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So.  I’m not sure where to start.  I keep going back and forth on this dress.  One minute, I’m quite satisfied.  The next, all I see are its issues. Also, yes, I know I should have steamed it a little before taking the pictures…

The good:

  • I love my fabric choices.  I used wool suiting for the exterior and the belt and Bemberg rayon for the lining.  The rayon is so silky soft next to the skin and the wool was a dream to work with.  I actually hand washed everything before sewing because I never have anything dry cleaned.  Except maybe coats.  But ha!  Wanna know what I did?  I through a piece of the wool in the washer.  On hot.  With a cold rinse.  Wanna know what happened?  Exactly nothing!  No felting whatsoever.  Not even a little bit.
  • Pockets!  Which also means that I kept sticking my hands in them when taking pictures for maximum fabric distortion.

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  • The skirt portion was perfect as is.
  • I love the belt detail.

The “bad”: I mean, not horrible, but not as good. And it’s all about the fit.

  • When I adjust the dress just so, it looks pretty good.  There’s a little bit of extra fabric under the bust.  I tried scooping out the dart there and it worked to remove the excess fabric but then the dart point would bubble more.  So I went with low bubble but extra fabric underneath.

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  • When I move, the dress moves too and that throws off the fit a little.  If it moves just a bit higher, you can see the shoulder area near the neck isn’t quite snug against my body.  And that neckline is so high!

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  • When I tug the dress back down, I tend to tug it down too much because the neckline is so high.  When that happens, the darts aren’t in the right place anymore and it starts pulling a little in the bust.
  • I removed tons of fabric from the center back but I think maybe I also needed a sway back ajustement? Or something?  There’s still some wrinkling there.

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Overall? I do like it and will wear it but I won’t make another one.  Not just yet at least.  It just took me way too long to get a fit that really isn’t as good as I would like. I would love to have a Peony that fits perfectly with a slightly lowered neckline and short sleeves but I won’t be attempting that on my own, no way.  If I ever get to go to a fitting class though, that’s the pattern I’ll be working on. I have a feeling I would learn so much from having an expert help me with it.  Online tutorials and books can only take you so far, you know?

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Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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Posted in Sewing
6 comments on “Finally
  1. Louisa says:

    What a beautiful dress! I love the neckline!

  2. Charity says:

    I so understand the fitting struggle! But I think it’s really pretty anyway. That wool is gorgeous. And the fit is a great deal better than most dresses I see.
    I’m by no means a fitting expert (um, just a beginner really) so take all this with a grain of salt- but here are a few things I think might help a tiny bit.
    To reduce the point-iness of the front dart while taking out the bubbling, you could add a second dart under the bust -OR, you might be able to transfer some of the dart shaping from the main under-bust dart to the side bust dart.
    The back… I’m guessing you don’t actually need a swayback adjustment. It looks more to me like an erect back/full derriere combination? You could try just pinching the extra out (or maybe begging your husband/friend/relative to help, since that would be difficult to reach alone) and transferring the pinch to the pattern. You’ll probably end up with a curved center back seam or side seam, but it should be easy enough to smooth out.
    At least lowering the neckline is easy! And I would take a pinch out of the shoulder seam at the neckline too- it looks like it’s lifting up from your shoulders a bit.
    Sorry for the essay, especially since you aren’t planning on making another one of these soon…. 😉

    • The essay is fine! What I did for the back was have my husband pinch to remove the excess fabric from the center. I had him pin and draw the line. Then, when I sewed the zipper on, I followed the line he’d drawn. I think maybe those wrinkles are just due to not doing a perfect job of it since it was the first time for both of us. I remember he had a tendency to pull the back so tightly together that he was creating tightness in front.

      Yeah, the shoulders aren’t quite snug like they should be. I think I tried pinching out the extra in one of my muslins but it made a mess elsewhere. Probably because I can’t actually do it on myself and the husband pulled it up too much.

      Thank you for your thoughts on the darts. I actually would love to make another of this dress in a summery fabric but I just won’t touch it until I can get a fitting expert to look at it and help me get it right. Having my husband help me is like the blind leading the blind…

  3. […] such a lightbulb moment!  I frequently have issues with too much fabric at the upper chest (see Peony, Mesa, even my latest Mingo and Grace dress though that one isn’t as bad and probably […]

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