The Vivienne Westwood bias plaid dresses that Trumbelina and lsaspacey helpfully linked to are exactly the look I was picturing in my mind, so I think the plaid would (probably) look really good, if I could get over my obsession with exactly matching the stripes at the side seams. However I decided against using the plaid fabric not because I was worried about wasting the fabric if it didn't turn out well, but because it's more of a winter fabric and needs lining since it's a soft brushed cotton (ie a bit clingy). We're heading into summer here and I couldn't bring myself to sweat (literally) over a dress I wouldn't wear for another 6 months.
So then I tried to find a solid in my stash because I agreed with those of you that pointed out that a solid would be the best to show the side gathering detail of the dress. But unbelievably, despite the hugeness of my stash the only solids I really have are either winter weight fabrics or were too stiff for the drapiness required for the cowl. I did have some black ponti in the stash, but I"m trying really hard for colour these days so I passed on that.
Anyway, while I was digging through the stash I came across a cotton sateen buried way in the back, that is a deep pink with a print that looks at first glance to be thimbles and stitches (gotta love a sewing themed fabric!). I don't think I own a dress in a dark pink, in fact I don't think I own many (or any?) clothes in pink, so it is a surprising choice for me but it just seemed right:
And here's my finished version:
I still can't believe that I didn't need to make any changes to the pattern to get this to fit, aside from my usual grading out from one size to another at the hips to fit my pear shape. This fabric has only a slight amount of stretch to it, but enough to make wearing this comfortable enough whilst still fitting remarkably well.
Because the fabric is a non directional print I was going to cut it out following the suggested grain lines of the pattern, but my fabric wasn't wide enough to do that. This fabric is only 90cm wide, so I had to cut it out with the straight grain for the skirt part and the bias grainline for the cowl. But the fabric was soft enough for the cowl to drape much better than the practice version without having to deepen it or change the shape of the cowl. I did wonder if I would need to sew the cowl down to one side, like #117 which is the shortened top version of the dress (as an aside, is there really a need for another pattern when it's just shortened with longer sleeves?), but it seems to sit well enough in this fabric:
The only changes I did make to the pattern were deliberate: I added a vent at the centre back seam for walking ease beause I tend to walk really really fast, even in heels, so I need a bit of space to allow for a good stride. It seemed strange to me that such a fitted dress would not have one, but since it has a centre back seam it wasn't difficult to add one in.
The other change I made was to make a cap sleeve instead of the three quarter sleeves, using the sleeve piece from the dress from September's Burda challenge which just happened to be still on the cutting table (laziness does pay off sometimes!). I do love a three quarter sleeve, I think it looks very graceful and flattering, but again this is a summer dress, and a Sydney summer is usually really hot so a cap sleeve was a more practical choice.
So onwards to the November Burda challenge garment - this might just be the month that I fulfil the part of my challenge where I sew something from the magazine in the month of its issue!