Don't get me wrong: I don't hate it. But I don't love it as much as I was hoping to. Part of this is the color combination - in the end, I think the black of the yoke is just too stark. My yoke fabric was an extremely thin voile. Without interfacing and lining, it matched the black on the stripe fabric quite well. But of course, I couldn't use it all on its own. I'm counting this as a good lesson.
I am happy with my workmanship on this dress. As I said before, I really took my time and concentrated on doing each task well. I stitched the yoke lining and placket facing down by hand, and finished the side seams (the only exposed seams on this garment, which I think is kind of neat) with my new red serger thread.
This fabric looks magenta, but it's really a "shot" chambray: the weft threads are marine blue and the warp is a red very close to that serger thread.
I'd had an idea all along that I'd like to use four buttons on the yoke instead of two. I haven't been able to find many examples of finished projects for this pattern online, but many of those I did find had the buttons off-center. It just kind of bothered me. Since I wasn't 100% sure how it would work, and because I didn't want any of the play that buttonholes would introduce, I skipped them and just sewed my buttons on through both layers of the tabs.
I think it looks really cute, but the reality is that the buttons are too heavy. And that contributed to the major problem with this dress:
Holy Gapeage, Batman!! The yoke stands out about 2 inches from my chest!
Now, I probably should have seen this coming: I've known since reading Fit for Real People last year that I have a "hollow chest." But because of the styles I've been sewing so far, it really hasn't come up as an issue, and I've gotten used to concentrating on my other "problem" areas, namely grading from a size 2 bust to 4 waist to 8 hip. And since this pattern states that it is "free at waist and hips," I thought: "Cool! I don't have to do any adjustments!"
The fix for this is pretty easy, once you know you have to do it. You just take a little tuck out at the neckline until it lays the way you want.
|Before, with buttons removed. Note how the tabs now overlap.|
|After, with a tuck taken out of each side. Problem solved. Almost.|
I do think I would like to make this pattern again, so I'll be transferring this change to my pattern piece. I had to take a tuck about 1/4 inch deep on each side (for a total fabric removal of 1/2 inch each side).
Sadly, the "clean finish" construction of this dress means that the only real way to fix it would be to remove the entire yoke and do it again. I do have enough fabric to do this, but I don't have enough love for the finished product with these fabrics. So I'm thinking of trying to take some mini pintucks in the yoke to match up with those in the bust. I'm going to stew on this for a while - obviously I'm in no great hurry to finish this, as it will be many months before I can even contemplate wearing it!
And now I'm going to really get real - all for the benefit of sewer-kind, because there aren't many reviews of this pattern so I'm trying to record my experience with it. I've read a few comments on Victory Patterns that said the armholes tend to be high. My armpits are high, so I thought, "Great! My bra and my armpit fat won't show!" So, although I edited out all the cleavage shots, I am going to show you that the armholes are indeed high, but not high enough to hid my armpit fat. Wahhhhh! I really hate that fat, especially since I'm pretty slender in general. Maybe it's due to age? I've only really noticed it in the last few years.
As I was taking all the pictures for this post, I kept tugging the dress into place to hide those nasty bulges. It actually mostly looks worse than this, so you should be glad I spared you, relatively speaking. If anybody knows how to get rid of this, please let me in on the secret! Bench presses and chest flies are not doing the trick!
So all in all, a good learning experience - I don't regret one minute of the time I spent on this project. I will wear the dress once it's fixed and the weather warms up. That is, as much as I wear any of my makes, which is not that often! And I would like to try out the blouse version - I'm hoping the sleeves will hide the fat.