First up let me say this post is going to be photo heavy as I wanted to show the dress in it's best and worst light. V8901 is a dress pattern with maxi or knee length options, a lined bodice front and back that overlap around the sides and a pleated skirt. The pattern provides either a centre back zip or long key hole back option. There have been mixed reviews about the fit of this dress and all versions I've seen have had at least some underarm gaping where the bodice overlaps. Perhaps you're thinking how lovely and smooth my dress looks? No gape in sight.
Yeah, right! And then I stand with my usual bad posture and the gape appears. However, it is a thousand times better than what it started out as.
I cut a straight size 12 of version A. There are only a couple of pattern pieces however the bodice pieces are cut twice as it is self-lined. The fabric is a very pretty cotton Lawn from The Cloth Shop. It's very like liberty in its soft feel and ability to take a really crisp press. I adore it!
I made the bodice and tried it on for size. In the below photo the left side has had the excess fabric pinned down around the side overlap. On the right side you can see that the mighty gape is a suitable pocket for keeping your pet (or pincushion) cat. The gape is oh so unflattering, revealing and just plain silly.
I pinned the excess fabric out of the sides which caused the front sides to drop below the waist line by about 3cm. I then basted the bodice pieces together and trimmed the fabric to re-balance the waistline. I had to hack quite a bit of fabric off to make it even and I was concerned about the loss in bodice length. To combat this I cut a waistband to insert between the bodice and skirt and I actually really like the look of it. I tacked the overlapped bodice together just under the arm hole for modesty.
Regarding fitting, I also took 1/2" from the shoulders and fitted the zipper with a 1"S/A at the centre back neckline ease down to the 5/8" allowance. I still have excess gape in my centre back and centre front, but this was the best I could do while keeping this dress wearable.
Fitting aside, the dress was a simple and fast project. The bodice and lining is constructed first with the lining pulled right side out through the bodice shoulders. A self lined bodice looks so neat and may actually be faster than neckline and armhole binding.
The pleats took some time to carefully press and sew, but I have so many gathered skirts that the pleats are a nice change. I sewed a really narrow hem (I'm 5'4). Taller ladies, add length if you want more coverage. The instructions were clear and easy to follow.
I would like to make a fancy maxi version of V8901 but I'd need to smooth out some of the above fitting issues first. Though, I had a lot of fun making this dress. It's far from perfect but I'll definitely get wear out of it over summer.