Pattern: Simplicity 3323 ~ From the envelope: "Dress has slightly extended shoulders, bateau neckline, back zipper closing and contrasting bias and bow trim. Version 1 features a full gathered skirt."
Size: Sub Teen Size 12 s (bust 31)
Muslin: car print cotton polyester blend
Garment: embroidered cotton w/ a border print
(both fabrics are from Fabricland)
Comments: I was looking for a simple sun dress to showcase a beautiful border print I found at the local chain fabric store. When working with a border print, I prefer to not have to cut up the border at all, so I wanted a pattern with a dirndl skirt (basically a rectangle that is gathered at the top). When I found this pattern in my vintage stash, I knew it was the one.
I wanted to first make a wearable muslin of the dress before cutting into the good stuff. I'm glad I did. The dress straight from the package was sized for a person with a very short torso - it may be due to the sub-teen sizing on this pattern, although I didn't encounter this problem with other sub-teen patterns I've used in the past. In the end, I added 1.5" to the bodice length. When I make this dress again, I will add another 0.5", to bring the total up to 2" added length.
Flat pattern measuring also suggested that I needed to reduce the size of the two front and two back darts (by 0.5" in each case, to add a total of 2") to accommodate for the larger size of my waist. In the wearable muslin, this worked out beautifully, since the garment sat up above my waist, at the bottom of my ribcage. However, when I lengthened the bodice, I forgot to take into account that my actual waist is smaller than the measurement on my body 2" higher up, so the final dress was roomy in the waist. I removed the skirt and resewed the darts, effectively removing the 2" I had added. I'm pretty good at tweaking patterns to fit me, but every once and a while, I still goof up - ah well, to err is human!
The only other alteration I did was to remove some fabric from the front armscyce (0.25" at the centre, tapering to nothing at the shoulder and underarm seams), as the muslin pulled in this area when I would reach forward. In the next version, I will remove another 0.25" and it should be perfect.
The skirt is a single layer of fabric (too bulky otherwise). However, the bodice was fully underlined with cotton batiste.
Conclusion: The muslin is wearable, although it seems a bit young what with the crazy car print (check it out - it says "vroom!") and the elevated waistline, so it will likely be reserved for weekend wear. The border print version is definitely a winner and will become a regular in my warm weather wardrobe. I actually have another border print fabric that was to become a skirt, but I may end up making this dress again with that fabric.