This dress was no joke. I started it all the way back in April for a wedding coming up next weekend. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to try pattern adjustments and make muslins. I’m glad I had that mindset when starting because M6883 was not a pattern that wanted to fit me out of the envelope!
Below on the left is a straight size 6. I read somewhere that it is better to cut a size based on your shoulders if you have narrow shoulders because it is easier to let the waist out than to take the shoulders in. Clearly there were some other issues aside from narrow shoulders. In the second version, I lengthened the top pattern pieces by 1.25″ and graded the waist to a size 10. In the third version, I did a 1″ forward shoulder adjustment and an SBA – I have to share the tutorial once I remember which one I used as I think it worked well. I also shortened the waist by 1″.
By the time I finished adjusting the bodice, I didn’t feel like dealing with the bottom. I plugged the skirt in pretty much as is. Yes, I look pregnant slash like a stuffed sausage in version 1. Unfortunately, it looked like I had to adjust the skirt too, so I think – I don’t quite remember – I cut a larger skirt size, let out the darts a little in the front, and sewed large concave darts in the back to minimize the sway back. I even lined the bodice so I could get a better picture of what the final dress would look like.
Even though the front of version two had some excess fabric, I was happy with it and thought I was almost done. However, by the time I had finished sewing the bodice in the real fabric (stretch sateen from Hancocks Fabrics), the waist had stretched out so much that it didn’t fit the waist of the skirt. I forced them to line up, sewed the invisible zipper in, and slipstitched the lining close before I realized how ugly it looked. The waist seam looked “puffy”. I unpicked and redid the slipstitching several times, thinking the puffiness was caused by an issue with the lining. Finally, I took apart the skirt as well and acknowledged that the bodice was stretched all out of shape. For the fix, I took a 2 inch wedge out of the center of the bodice as well as took 1″ out of each side seam to make it fit snugly!
The skirt wasn’t looking so good either so I decided to skip the fitted skirt and opt for something with little fitting necessary. I considered doing a gathered skirt or a circle skirt but didn’t have enough fabric. Then I thought the inverted pleats from the Winslow Culottes I made recently would go well with the V of the neckline. I managed to squeeze just enough fabric for the Winslow Culottes skirt hack out of scraps and the skirt that I had taken apart.
Just a note, hacking the Winslow Culottes into a skirt is super easy. Just draw a straight line down from the waist to base of the leg along the inner most curve of the crotch. Basically, this turns the pattern into a rectangle. You could definitely do this without the Winslow Culottes, but since I have the pattern and love how the pleats in it look, I thought I’d save myself some effort. I did adjust the positioning of the pleats a little to match up with the bodice seams though.
With that, after 4 months of putting this off and working on other projects, I finished this dress! It has its flaws with a not-so-invisible invisible zipper and wrinkles here and there, but the verdict is I love it! It’s different from anything else I already have in the closet and I worked so hard to get it this fitted. I would definitely try it again with a less stretchy fabric, or if I find another pretty stretch sateen, I’ll stay stitch the heck out of it.