|Isn't it rather cruelt that the dress white uniform includes white shoes with white|
soles?! My poor husband...
The pattern is McCall's 6557 (mostly View C), which, while not a maternity pattern, can be found in the "suitable for maternity" section. Suitable for maternity is definitely an understatement! The skirt flares dramatically -- so much so, in fact, that I actually significantly reduced the flare at the side seams and still have plenty of room. I really think I could wear this gown full term without any difficulty! I'll have to wait to see how it looks "non maternity," but I think it might work equally well. The empire waist is so versatile.
I used Casa Collection Satin in "Bordeaux" from JoAnn Fabrics. Fortunately it wasn't on sale at the time, allowing me to use 50% off coupons for the satin and matching lining and lace. I found a perfectly matching zipper, and then went to look for thread -- ironically, the first spool I picked up was "Barberry Red," the exact shade of the zipper. My search for ribbon (for the sash) was equally successful. Apparently this particular shade of red/burgundy is popular.
|The crossover in the front foiled my desire for a perfectly lined garment, but|
I found some matching lace hem tape in my stash to "finish" the offending
Need you even ask or wonder whether or not there were alterations? I lengthened the skirt a good ten inches for starters. The pattern is not technically "formal," but as with many patterns, the fabric and finishes determine the ultimate look. Foolishly, I did not check the pattern before buying fabric, so I didn't realize at first that the pattern would need to be lengthened. Happily, I made a last minute decision to buy five yards instead of the 4 7/8 listed on the pattern -- those few inches made all the difference when I laid out the pattern. Also happily, the Casa satin does not have a nap, which would have been disastrous with the necessarily creative pattern layout!
|It's remarkably difficult to capture the correct shade in a photograph -- the first|
photo of us together is probably closest to the actual color, versus the dark pink
look in my last post!
I tried to take my time and focus on details, since this is a gown I hope to wear over and over again. And the last thing I wanted was a "formal" that looked homemade. I fully lined the skirt, and even understitched the bodice lining, which is something I'm rarely patient enough to bother with! I added a modesty panel, and had to re-mark the bodice pleats (plus trim a bit off the bottom of the bodice) in order to achieve the right fit. It's nerve-wracking fitting to one's self without assistance, especially with such a fitted garment. Fortunately I've gotten more used to it over the past few years, and it all work out in the end.
I debated about the lace overlay on the bodice, but in the end I'm thrilled with the result. I had intended to extend the shoulder pattern piece to make a cap sleeve, but totally forgot until I had already cut out the shoulder. Too lazy to re-cut the piece, I decided sleeveless was fine. Then inspiration struck, and I drafted a simple cap sleeve on the edge of the lace. I wasn't sure it would work, but it turned out perfectly! I'm actually far happier with this than I would have been with my initial idea.
I reduced the width of the waistband pieces and ommitted the tie pieces in the side seams -- I replaced them with the aforementioned ribbon sash, which is invisibly tacked to the dress at the side seams and center front, and ties in the back. The ribbon actually perfects the fit, giving a little extra definition to the waist so that I actually look pregnant instead of plump. Though really, this dress design downplays the baby bump, probably due to the full skirt.
Hemming took several hours (even though I hemmed the lining by machine), with a total of 240 inches of hem for each layer. Goodness, that was a task! It did end up a bit long, leaving me to wonder whether it's worth re-hemming. We have a formal event coming up next month that will involve more than the one slow dance we shared at the Navy Ball, but perhaps by then a little extra "bump" will solve the length issue!
I was so relieved to finish this in time, and the Navy Ball was actually quite a blast. It was optional-but-highly-encouraged, but I think we enjoyed ourselves enough to make it a yearly event regardless!