I finally made a coffee date dress (the pattern is available as a free download here on burda style, or here on the creator, the selfish seamstress's blog. Kathleen from grosgrain has also done an awesome Frock-by-Friday using this pattern, breaking it into manageable bits on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday).
I have to say that although this is a cute pattern, I had troubles with it. And it's not the fault of the pattern, it's the fault of me.
Firstly, I changed the bodice from darts to a princess seam. Because darts and me don't get along - they end up weird and pointy, and most importantly, nowhere near where my nipples are. And, a few of the photos of the dress made up seemed to have this problem. I made a quick shell of the bodice, and it seemed to fit alright around the bust, but because I hadn't added a skirt, I didn't check the fit of the waist. This was my biggest mistake.
So, I made the dress up, changing the centre back zip to a side zip. Which is mostly fine, but means that the dress is almost totally made up before I tried it on. And, for some reason, rather than overlock each of the edges individually as I usually do, I decided to overlock seams together. So, when I tried the dress on and realised that the waist was much too big for me, I not only had to take it in, but also to deal with overlocked-together-seams.
And it looked really bad. Like a 60s shift gone wrong (okay, that's because of the sleeves I put in, the bell shape plus the pleats at the top make it look like that), but not wearable like it was.
Slightly more redeemable with a belt, but did weird puffy things, and I don't really like wearing belts
And, because I had put in the side zip, I couldn't just take in the sides.
So, I cut off the overlocked seams of the skirt front and bodice front, pinned the pieces on me so they fit, and sewed them again.
The waist still sits a bit funny, and I had to add pleats to the skirt, but overall, wearable.
Lastly, (after arguments with my gathering foot) I added the ruffle detail, bound the neck line and the coffee date dress was finished.
So, the lesson in this is go with your tried and true dress if it's just a basic dress with ornamentation. Add the details and you will be fine, and not have to do any of this fussy fitting. Especially when, like me, your measurements aren't all one size.
And I'm going to have to secure that lower ruffle down, becuase the way it sits out from my bust is a little silly looking.
I'm honestly not sure how much wear this dress is going to get. I love the colour, and the concept, I'm just not so thrilled with the outcome. I need to fix the ruffle, beucase it doesn't sit evenly at the centre front (conveniently hidden in the photo by my hair, but I can't really walk around with my hair over my shoulder all the time).
So, this is a dress that, for a little while at least, is going to be relegated to the 'I have to think about it' pile.