I used Simplicity 3503, which was 2009 best pattern on PR, and it's well deserved. There's many great versions of it here. I chose to make view E, which has good coverage in the back.
Pattern: Simplicity 3503 View E
Fabric: from the stash - Robert Kauffman knit from Hancock Fabric and nylon tricot from fabric.com
I had a lot of firsts with this dress. I've listed them out below.
- I traced a Big 4 pattern. I usually just cut-out the tissue, but I need to grade down in size so I felt safer tracing the pattern. Also, I felt like I would reuse this pattern in the future and didn't want to ruin the original tissue pattern.
- I graded a size down. I bought this pattern awhile back... before my weight loss, and didn't have the size I needed. I was really nervous about this, but it turned out pretty well. This dress was still a tad bit big, but I didn't mind. Since it was a knit, it was probably more forgiving of any mistakes that I made.
- I hand slip stitched the facings and linings. I didn't like the idea of hand sewing because I thought it was too time consuming, but it was actually therapeutic. The initial stitches weren't done correctly, but I eventually got the hang of it, and now I actually like to hand-sew! I never thought that I'd enjoy that process.
1. Do not iron nylon tricot! See this big hole (look below)?? I forgot that it was made out of nylon and put the hot iron directly on top of it... bad idea. Luckily it is on the inside and it isn't TOO big.
2. Instead of using tricot, I should've used the fashion fabric. I little bit of the tricot can be seen on the outside, but you have to look closely.
3. I would use a contrasting band like Eugenia's version. I think that the band blends in too much with the dress... especially on the right side.
Overall, I learned a great deal in making this dress. I surprised myself in finishing it, too, since I traced, graded down, cut-out, and sewed the dress all in less than 24 hours... I also got 7 hours of sleep. I would definitely make this dress again, and I would recommend it to anyone that hasn't already made one. ^___^
I think I have a new perspective on sewing, too. In the past I just wanted to finish an item and didn't really ENJOY the process of making it. Hehe... I don't really know how to explain it... for example, I didn't like cutting out a pattern much less think about tracing a pattern. But much to my surprise, I liked every step in making this dress, and I think it's due to all the great sewing blogs I've been reading. They're so encouraging and helpful! Thanks! Hopefully, this is the beginning of getting back to sewing.