A few years ago I was really obsessed with gingham: I had shoes, swimsuits, rings, hair accessories, bags, dresses, everything in gingham. I even made it my avatar on Instagram, Pinterest and co. One of my very first blog posts here was actually about gingham. Yet it had been a few years since I had made something in this pattern, so when I started noticing that gingham was one of the trends for this summer I thought that it was time to get back to my tablecloth-flavored roots.
I’d also had for a while in my to-do list this pattern from the march 2014 number of La Mia Boutique. I had seen it on Paunnet’s blog and I had fallen in love, desperate that I was not able to buy it in France. Since Paunnet is super nice, she offered to buy it and mail it to me! This dress (number 4) is my favorite from the issue but there are also some others that are very nice (number 3, mmmh).
At first I had planned to make it last summer, but I didn’t have time. This year when I started seeing gingham everywhere (I am in love with this Modcloth dress) I bumped this project to the top of my list. I was hoping I could finish it on time to participate in Spring for Cotton, and to wear it at a tweed ride that was happening in my city (it’s a bike ride where people dress all vintagey and classy), but I finished it one day too late and I missed both the deadlines. Too bad, but I still love the dress!
This dress is a sleeveless shirtdress, with princess seams on the front, big darts in the back, a pleated skirts, and self-fabric covered buttons. The armholes are finished with biais binding, also in self-fabric.
I don’t know what the proper name is for this type of collar. It’s constructed like a shawl collar, but pointed. It has an under collar, and the collar itself is in the continuity of the front bodice facing. So it does not have a collar stand, which makes it quite easy to sew.
There weren’t any major technical difficulty with this pattern, except for the fact that it was one of the first times for me sewing a pattern without reading the instructions: this magazine is in italian, and I do not speak a single word of italian! Still it wasn’t a problem for the most part, I just had a few doubts as to what I had to do to get a clean finish on the collar: to keep it flat, I wanted to understitch the seam allowance, but I didn’t really know what to do to avoid the stitch line showing. I tried to google translate the instructions but that didn’t really help (La Mia Boutique’s instructions are very Burda-like).
I ended up understitching the under collar and stopping approximately at the break point, and then understitching the facing on the inside of the bodice. The line sometimes shows depending of how the collar is standing but it’s not a big deal, and it’s much better than not having a flat collar. I wonder if I should have snipped the seam allowance at the point where I switched, maybe it would help the collar fold over?
The pattern was in italian sizes 42 to 48, and the measurement chart was telling me to make a size 40, so I graded one down from the pattern’s smaller size. I also lengthened the bust by 7/8th of an inch so the waistline would be at my natural waist, and I cut the skirt in the bigger size to have it a bit longer and wider.
I think the result is perfect fit-wise, with just enough ease to be comfortable (especially in hot weather). I am also very happy with the pattern matching at the sides and the princess seams. I realize now that I really enjoy sewing with checkered fabric: sure, you spend a lot more time cutting, and it is a bit stressful, but you can’t beat the satisfaction of having all the lines match up by magic as you sew.
Another detail I am very happy about is the fabric-covered buttons. I had made some several times before, but with kits with metal buttons where the top part has little teeth to grab on to the fabric (like you can see on this video) or the plastic ones where the bottom part has teeth, and in both cases you have to run a thread through the fabric to gather it if you want to avoid pleats (like the lady does on this video), and the result wasn’t always perfect. This time I bought a kit that has a plastic mold and a pusher (I bought the Dritz one – see this video for instance) and it went much better, super easy to clip in place and never any pleat.
I am thrilled with the result, and this dress makes me want to have a wardrobe full of shirtdresses. However, I don’t think I’ll make another one using this pattern quite yet: I have a bunch of shirtdresses patterns with all kind of variations that I am dying to try… More about this soon!
La Mia Vichy
La Mia Boutique 03/2014 – Dress 4
Size 40 with modifications
1/4 In. Gingham from Fabric.com