Last week I made a dress each for my daughters. I used McCall's 5039. This is one of those really annoying patterns that seems to take up an unreasonably large proportion of the McCall's and Simplicity pattern books -"Available in U.S.A. and Canada only". To be fair, these are generally licensed patterns - Hillary McDuff and the like, and this particular one is a Laura Ashley branded pattern. I believe I bought it simply because I could not purchase it locally - and very kind Karla Kizer on pattern review not only offered to send me a Pantone shopping guide after I whined about local unavailability (another company that will only ship to the U.S.A and Canada - nasty North America commercial exclusiveness!) but to visit a Jo Anne's pattern sale on my behalf so as to be economical with shipping (good excuse hey!)(lovely North American kindness)
I am not terribly excited about this exclusive pattern. Frankly it was almost unbearably boring to sew. However, it was super easy, and I managed 2 versions during a work busy work week. The girls each had a new dress to wear on a visit to Noosaville.
The ease was excessive. My daughter's measurements indicate a size 8 on top (both) and a size 10 at the hips (daughter the 2nd) or a size 12 at the hips (daughter the first). Fortunately the finished garment measurements are published on the back of the envelope. Ease for size 8 is 27cm(9.5 inches) at the bust and 17cm (nearly 7 inches)at the hips. I looked at the 13 reviews of this dress on pattern review. 2 reviewers mention that the dress runs large, and one reviewer mentions that the dress has plenty of ease at the hips. None of the photographs looked as if the wearer were swimming in the dress.
Daughter the second (above) is wearing a size 6 version of the dress, one size smaller at the bust, 2 sizes smaller at the hips than the pattern envelope body measurements indicate. I think it is still a fairly loose fit. I did not put in the zip, as she can pull the dress on over her head without difficulty. The fabric is quilting cotton ($22 per m) The trim is offray double sided poly ribbon.
The only other change I made to the pattern was at the neckline casing. This is simply folded over from the front. To give a more even appearance to the gathering, and to prevent rolling to the inside, I topstitch the upper edge of this sort of casing before inserting the elastic. I also fit the elastic to my daughter - I used 10cm less than the pattern called for.
I had pleasant thoughts about making the same size dress for daughter the first - communual tracing! However, when she tried on her sister's dress, it was too short in the bodice. I found this surprizing, as her bust size does not even scare the alphabet at this stage, and in Burda and New Look patterns I make a petite adjustment above the bust for her. However, she required a 1cm increase in the bodice length, so while I was changing things I traced out a straight size 8 for her with this small length change. Her dress is made from 2007 Spotlight light weight cotton,(about $10 per metre) trimmed with polyester offray ribbon, with a machine embroidery stitch added to the ribbon. She did not need the zipper either.
Addition: Gail asked me about boning the BWOF 12-2008-102 dress. I did not look for a tutorial, as following the BWOF instructions to make a bias binding casing then sew the casing to the side seam allowances seemed to work nicely for me (I used bra wire channelling as an end cap). However, Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics posted about boning in her bustier recently, and the Nov 2009 Threads magazine and Australian Stitches (Belville Sassoon dress pattern review) about 2 issues ago both have detailed articles about making a boned foundation to wear under a chiffon evening dress. I read these articles before making my evening dress.