Gathered Sundress Gone Maxi

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While admiring the knit maxis of Ginger Makes and  A Good Wardrobe, I lamented the ability of knits to cling to my midsection in an unflattering manner, to which Ginger suggested making a maxi using any woven dress pattern I liked and just lengthen it!  Genius, duh!  I first used Pattern Runway’s Gathered Sundress pattern about a year ago, with satisfactory results.  It seemed like the perfect pattern to lengthen for a maxi dress.  My previous dress fit pretty well, so I forewent the muslin despite a couple seemingly minor adjustments I wanted to make.

I shortened the bodice by an inch, and I spliced a small tuck out of the neckline for a snug fit.  Everything seemed fine, and I repeatedly tried on the dress during construction to admire it and check the fit.  It looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to finish!

Inserting the zipper is the second to last step (before hemming), so I was sooo close to finishing when I got the zipper in and finally got to see the real fit of the bodice.  It was nearing midnight, and this was the point at which I determined I really need to get a dress form.   The back bodice was an awful mess :(  All those times I tried the dress on and attempted to hold the back closed to check the fit were useless.  Ugh.

I put the project down for the night, resolved to fix it the following day after work.  After much seam ripping, I corrected a mistake in the waist band and then reinserted the zipper, taking in some of the gaping neckline.  The fit was improved, but the neckline still gaped in back, so I added darts on either side of the zipper, extending from the neckline to pull it in tighter.
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As you can see, I am wearing the dress, but there is still an awful lot of extra fabric bunching up my back.  Insert cardigan, and I LOVE my maxi dress :)

I figured I must have distorted the back bodice while cutting out the fabric… or something.  BUT then, last night I was reading Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, and on page 113 Gertie addresses pattern distortion.  I think I distorted the front bodice when I took a tuck out of the front neckline, pulling the shoulder piece inward, which would affect the back bodice as well.  The back looks slightly more racerback style now compared to my previous dress.  So I think that’s what happened, and I feel like I can avoid this mess in the future.  I would probably consider doing a sway back adjustment as well.

Another project complete, and another lesson on fit.
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Check out my front neckline–no gaping there!  Yeah!   ;)

34 comments

  1. Ohh I want your dress! I was trying to make a knit tank dress, but was having issues with the back as well. I might have to try doing one with a waistband and gathered skirt because yours is so cute! But I might try to use a super stretchy knit and omit the zipper to make it easier on myself. Love your fabric too!

  2. I love this! It looks so graceful and elegant (and the print you chose is super cool!)! But gosh, isn’t sewing HARD? Every time I feel like I have something figured out, I realize that I haven’t accounted for something and then my fit is off! Oh well… the dress seriously looks good, though, and I like the semi-racerback look a lot!

    1. Thanks Ginger :) Fit is definitely an ongoing challenge. I think I’m learning a lot though, and I can only hope that one day it won’t seem so difficult anymore. Some people make it look easy… so I have hope ;)

  3. It turned out beautifully! I love the fabric you chose, and I love that you used a pattern that was already in your stash and you liked – what a marvelous idea!

  4. I think the dress looks great on you, despite it fitting errors. You’re so right in your resolve – just put a cardi over it! No seam ripping involved in that correction.

    Isn’t it crazy how one pattern alteration can affect another? Again, you’re right in that it’s just another lesson learned!

  5. Beautiful job! It looks great on and that color is beautiful on you!
    I llove Ginger’s comment – sewing is HARD! There’s always something I didn’t know or didn’t take into account that affects the final product. Someday!

  6. This is such a gorgeous dress! The print is really beautiful and the length is so elegant. And I’m gonna third Ginger’s comment – sewing is hard! Every garment I make is a lesson for the next one. I also like the slight racerback.

  7. This is gorgeous ! Love the fabric colour and design . So talented you are.
    I remember that I tried only once to make a dress for myself many years ago but I found myself not so patient to make it! (^_^)
    It was my first and last fabric work I think!

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