In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

That’s what this dress makes me think of, anyway. After a couple of months of not getting much done, and just wanting a project I could sit down and sew while hanging out with my boyfriend (i.e. not the jeans muslin, with all of the fitting involved), I knocked this one out in about 3 days– I cut it out on Wednesday, assembled most of the bodice on Thursday, and sewed like a crazy woman until about 11:30 on Friday night to get this one done. I was originally thinking of wearing this for my Saturday day trip to Washington, D.C, which is why I rushed through the end just a bit (don’t look too closely at the lining hem, k?). But then I ended up not wearing it. Which is probably good, because I would have blended in too much with the bamboo and such that was scattered around the National Zoo (where we spent most of the day). So here’s the review…

Pattern: Butterick 5642

Pattern Description: Lined to edge A-line dress has fitted bodice, empire waistline and double fold bias tape finish.

Pattern Sizing: 8-14. I made the 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought they were pretty simple. It probably helps that, for once in my life, I didn’t overly complicate things by deviating from the pattern and think I could construct it better.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the style of it–the slimmer-cut skirt meant that I was able to (barely) squeeze a maxi-dress out of limited fabric. I had just under 3 yards of the batik, and all that was left was a few scraps large enough to cut some quilt blocks out of. (So I gave those to my mom, since she’ll have a better chance of actually being able to use those.) And though it has a deep v, the inset is a good length and kept it from being too low-cut for my comfort. I do personally wish that the skirt was just a teensy bit fuller around the hem, but I take big steps when I walk so this probably wouldn’t be an issue for most women. I do also wish it had pockets, and I probably could have added them if I’d wanted to take the time to do so, but I didn’t.

Fabric Used: A cotton batik that’s been in my stash for a long time–I think my mom passed it to me as a possibility for this quilt, since I’d been planning that for years before I actually made it, but it didn’t quite work with the colors I was planning my room around. I lined it with a cotton sateen.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Rather than take the time to make a muslin–I wanted a quick project, remember?–I fit as I went. I cut the size 10 because the finished measurements indicated that there was a lot of ease in the bust, and I didn’t want this hanging off of me. I’m glad I did, because if I’d cut even one size larger, I would not have had enough fabric to do this! But I did make some tweaks:

  1. I sewed the bodice to the skirt in a 1/4″ seam instead of the called-for 5/8″ as a cheater FBA, which worked beautifully. I also didn’t gather that bit quite as much as it called for.
  2. Since I therefore needed a little more room in the front, I sewed the side seams in a 1/4″ seam, and let 1/4″ out of the inner pleats in the front.
  3. After that, I had a little too much fabric in the back, so I added a second dart, about 3/4″ away from the first one and towards the center.
  4. I also sewed the zipper in a 1/2″ seam, I probably should have curved it in just a bit at the top, because it does gap away a little, but it’s not terrible.

So that pretty much covers that. I still might go back sometime and add a slit to the back or a side for ease of movement, but aside from that, it’s very comfortable and I think I did pretty well with the fit! 

Also, check out the bottom of that zipper in the back seam. See a bump? Yeah, me either. So I think I can say I’ve finally gotten the invisible zipper down–check!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? If I do sew it again, it won’t be for a long time. I did a quick check in my closet this morning, and seeing as how I have about a full week’s worth of dresses that I didn’t get to during MMM, plus a couple that were thrifted or otherwise purchased, I don’t really need more dresses at this time. Truth be told, I have very few pieces of fabric left in the stash that have the yardage to make a dress, anyway. But this fulfilled my long-standing goal to make myself a maxi-dress. So I think I’m going to allow myself 2 or 3 more dresses to stay in the queue (the Butterick pattern I want to revisit from MMM, my SSS project for this year, and perhaps one more), and otherwise focus on sewing up jeans and pants and knit tops and layering pieces, since that’s what I actually need. 

That being said, I would recommend this pattern. It was just the thing to make me feel better about sewing again!

And now, for the next thing…

Thank you Ali, Alessa and Sarah for rethinking this in such a way that I can actually participate without feeling too overwhelmed!  One project sounds totally doable. As I mentioned above, I am going to allow myself to make one more dress for this sew-along, and the winner is the Lonsdale dress. I’ve had the fabric paired with this pattern ever since it came out last year, and I think this one would be a great opportunity to try one of the techniques on my list that might otherwise not get tackled–I’d like to try adding some boning (and other support) to the bodice and turn it into a regular halter top dress. I saw a nice version of that here, so I know it’s doable. I cut out a muslin of the bodice this afternoon, just to check the fit there, and then we’ll see how this goes!

5 thoughts on “In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

  1. What a nice dress, I like the batik fabric and the maxi length looks great on you! Yay for joining the Summer Sparks Sew-along! 🙂 The Lonsdale dress sounds like a great choice, it's been on my to-sew list for quite a while, too!


  2. This is so pretty. Looks very comfortable for summer. I have something similar in the queue – in a different green, but I'll have to see if I have enough fabric to make it maxi length.


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