It is very pleasing for a seamstress to finish off the year with a resounding success. I had been wanting to try this Tracy Reese Vogue American designer dress for some time, and despite some seriously fussy sewing, I am very pleased with it.
Most of the fussiness was self inflicted. I chose to use a silk cotton batiste that I have been patting in my stash since October 08 (Greenfields, Sydney). It is an unbelievably soft and lustrous fabric, in one of my favourite colours, but terribly slippery and ravelling to sew. I used a number 60 sharp needle, and lots of handbasting in order to manage my fabric, but it was worthwhile.
I was quite nervous about using this precious fabric for an untried pattern, but felt there was not much point in making a toile for the pattern, as it calls for a lightweight fabric, - crepe de chine, batiste or charmeuse, and I had nothing on hand of a similar weight that I was willing to sacrifice. I did a lot of pattern piece measuring before starting to sew, and read all the 16 odd reviews at pattern review.
Reassuringly, most reviewers felt this pattern was quite easy. The common fitting issues were with the plunging neckline, low armholes and loose top. Mindful of these findings, I cut out a size smaller for the top and waist (10) and did not bother with a FBA. I raised the neckline at the front by 7cm, and the armholes by 3cm.
I made a very slight square shoulder adjustment, of 5mm, but no other fitting adjustments. The gathers over the bust, back and both front and back skirt make the fitting fairly forgiving in these areas. Initially I found the neckline gaped at the front, but with lingerie straps acting as a stay at the shoulders, a wider neckline is not only more flattering on me, but prevents gaposis and underwear display.
I made a few construction changes, due to fully lining the dress. I did not need to use the facings, or zipper bindings, as I was able to construct the bodice inside out, then topstitch the neckline and armscye edges, and to hand sew the skirt lining to the zipper tapes.
I love this dress. It is very comfortable to wear, and the fabric is quite beautiful in real life.