This dress was made from a “rub-off” of an Old Navy dress. The dress I used for the pattern has grown-on sleeves, a high neckline, a keyhole back and a cocoon shape. The fabric is a rayon challis from LA Finch Fabrics. It has a gorgeous drape and hand, but unfortunately it snags and runs very easily.
To make the pattern I traced around the seams with the dress folded in half lengthwise using translucent paper and a sharp tracing wheel. I then added a seam allowance as needed and made measurements to cut out a faux cuff piece.
The construction was quite simple and I serged all the inside seams. Just sewed the shoulder seams, the side seams, the CB seam (until I wanted to stop for the keyhole), top-stitched the keyhole, made the cuffs and hemmed it. I used single-fold bias binding to finish the neckline.
As you can see, I applied elastic to keep the dress fitted around the waist. I generally don’t find cocoon shaped dresses too flattering, so this keeps the dress comfortable but still shapely. I also made a tie belt since I don’t like the look of an elasticated waist by itself. The elastic seemed too high once I started wearing the dress, so I ended up unpicking it at the front and restitching it lower by about 2 inches in the center front.
While grown-on sleeves can be awkward and sort of wing-like on me, these actually fit pretty well. I also like the faux cuff but it did take some coaxing with the iron to get them to lay flat. There’s a tiny little rouleau loop to hold the gold button I used on the top of the keyhole. There are two matching gold buttons at the top of each cuff on the shoulder seam.
After wearing this dress for a little bit I have a few adjustments to make to the next one:
- Make the neckline more of a scoop. The high neck is a bit restrictive.
- Add a little more ease to the hip and thigh areas. In a stiffer fabric it would definitely be too tight.
- Add pockets next time! Duh, why didn’t I think to add them to this dress?
- Make a forward shoulder adjustment. The neckline in the front keeps choking me and the back is pulling down, so I think the forward shoulder adjustment should help that. Or maybe I have — say it ain’t so! — a dowager’s hump and need to add fabric to the upper back at the center seam.
Overall, I’d say this is a pretty successful copy of a RTW garment and it’s a totally wearable muslin. Oh — and I totally tried to pattern match but it was a bust. Next time it’ll be perfect! …Probably not, but who’s really looking for that anyway?