Monday, March 10, 2014

On Shamrocks, nooks, and cleavage...

This is me... pretending not to notice my very handsome photographer.
Earlier today, I was enjoying my newly created "reading nook."  (And by "earlier today" I mean right now, as I'm typing.)  It's just a corner really, but it's amazing what an armchair, an ottoman, and some luxurious layered rugs can do!  (Why yes, I am posing reading the newest issues of Threads!) And you know what makes the perfect outfit for comfortable lounging?  Why a faux-wrap dress in a satiny soft rayon jersey, of course.  As comfortable as pajamas but you can wear it all day at work? Sign me up!

This simple dress was my project this past weekend.  This Butterick pattern by Chetta B has a wrap style top, flared skirt, and a wide obi inspired sash. 

The fabric I chose has a small kelly green clover print on a black background.  The wrong side of the fabric is all black so I was able to use the same fabric to create the bias binding.  The reversible quality of the fabric also helped make the sash look more finished when tied without having to line it. 
I did make a few alterations to the original pattern.  First, I eliminated the zipper.  Honestly, doesn't a zipper sort of defeat the point of an easy-wear jersey dress?  I really do not understand the Big Four pattern companies love of putting zippers in knit dress patterns.  Second, I didn't attach the sash as directed, but simply finished it with the black bias binding and tied it on.  It not only stayed put, but I think it makes the dress more versatile as I could also pair the dress with a purchased belt or wear unbelted for a looser, more casual look (maybe with boots and a long sweater? hmm...)  Finally I added the contrast bias trim to the sleeves as well.  Honestly, I think it creates a cleaner and more finished look, particularly on the short, almost capped, sleeve.
Generally, I found this pattern to be pretty great.  The proportions are good, the skirt was long enough without adding significant extra length (I think I only added about 2 inches, but I don't really know as I eyeballed it),  and the few hours it took to make this dress is completely worth it for a classic dress that can be worn in all seasons. 
That said, it runs BIG.  Right now, my measurements put me anywhere from a 16 to a 22 based on the back of the envelope.  Given that this is a knit and the jersey I chose has considerable stretch, I cut an 18.  Once the body of the dress was assembled, I tried on the whole kit and caboodle and it was, frankly, enormous.  I ended up taking in the side seams at the waist by two inches on each side.  After wearing it today, I'll probably throw it in the wash to make sure there is no additional shrinkage and take in the side seams a bit more, particularly as I think that will make the bust gap open a bit less...
Which brings me to my other criticism of this dress... it is pretty low cut.  Now I have a relatively high tolerance for low cut. I figure that as a busty gal, my bras are almost all "full coverage" so if the entire bra is covered I consider myself work appropriate.  Now this may just be a rationalization to make up for the fact that as one who can manage to have cleavage in a crew neck (this is only a slight exaggeration) the girls are never work appropriate so, well... screw it.  Point being, if you care about silly things like modesty, decency, and the prevention of so-called "wardrobe malfunctions" you may want to either raise the neckline ever so slightly or find yourself a cami. 
Overall though, I have to say I'm pretty pleased.  Plus, now I have something to wear next week for St. Patrick's Day!  Not that I have any plans for March 17th.  While I love any holiday that lends itself to themed dressing, I am getting too old to deal with half dressed, drunken teenagers whose neglectful and delinquent parents I spend the day judging.  You know you are an old lady when a day of harmless debauchery ends with your threatening to call the truant officer.  No, instead I will simply wear this dress (which for one day only shall be dubbed "the shamrock dress") and raise a pint to the holiday... after all, there is a nook with my name on it!


  1. Cute fabric! I used the same for a top which didn't turn out and ended up in the scrap heap. There may be enough to make a tank top though. Like you mentioned, the fabric is so comfy so I hate to see it waste away. Your dress turned out very nice. Great pattern choice for the fabric.

  2. I have the same problem with wrap dresses or tops, but I still wear them because they're so flattering. lol Love how this turned out, it's very pretty on you!