Popover Dress

I received Gertie’s new book I in the mail at beginning of summer, but only just got to it.

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The cover dress (the Popover dress) is darling, and I am in love, but I don’t think that the red hankie fabric will look as fetching on me as it does on her. And I love hankie fabric!! What to do?

I wanted to try out the pattern, and keep the cost down as much as possible, so I turned to the few 3 + yard fabrics in my stash. And I found a pale blue bandanna fabric wrapped carefully on it’s board that I’d forgotten about!!! Happiness!

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I decided to cut the largest size, even though I measure myself for the next size down, think it might run small. As I traced my pieces, I thought (wrongly) that the line that comes down from piece A2, I could just extend out, continuing a diagonal instead of cutting the entire patter out of tracing paper. I was wrong!

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How the heck was I supposed to know if I had extended the line moving out at the correct angle? There’s really no way to know, but at this point, I’d already cut one of the main dress pieces. Ouch! With the fabric opened out and re-folded the opposite way, it left me with not quite enough fabric to cut the second main piece. I did try to re-re-fold the fabric, back to the original length-wise fold, which made the shortage worse. That seemed odd to me, as the layout in the book has the two main pieces right next to each other, parallel, and I’d started out with a yard over the required fabric to make this dress. I measured, and sure enough, I only had 43” in fabric width, and I found 51” is needed for the pairs of A1 + A2. [¼ of the skirt’s hem equals 35”, and the width of the top, with that little self-facing extension, is about 16”. This width is needed to lay the two main pieces side-by-side, inverted, as the diagram on p. suggests.]

At this point, I decided to just piece the fabric, which made a mess, most of which was my fault. I wanted the dress done quickly, but haste makes waste, and here we are.

 

Recommendations

First: Trace & Cut according to correct bust size. I believe this pattern runs pretty true to finished measurements, and if anything, maybe a little bit big.

Second: Don’t be Lazy! Trace and cut the entire pattern out, and tape the pieces together correctly to avoid mistakes down the road. What are you going to save? 5 minutes and 2 pieces of tracing paper? It’s not worth the hassle in corrections and lost fabric.

Third: for extra, non-lazy bonus points, cut 2 of your main pieces, not just one, so you can lay them out next to each other. This will allow adjustment to some extent, rather than cutting one and realizing there’s no space on the fabric for the second.

Fourth: I ran my center seams both font and back, opposite of the way Gertie tells us to in the book. I wanted the little corner divot out of the way first, so I could run any accumulated ease right out of the hem, instead of any ease getting caught up in the pivot.

Fifth: I pre-marked my armseye facings by edge-stitching, pressing, and rolling up the hem first, then stitching it, then pinning it in, so that I didn’t have to fiddle with trying to get them good-looking while they were already attached to the dress. I tend to do as much as possible on the flat, which is good practice. Then, I tacked them to the main body with hand-stitching.

Sixth: I did as much or all of the front facings on the flat and pre-assembly. I also assembled and attached my pockets before stitching front to back. Flat is so much easier.

Seventh: Purchase a wider fabric if you are making up a larger size. For my second dress, I ordered 56″ Kona cotton.

Hacks:

Pockets: I turned my pockets into an envelope shape on top by squaring and lopping off the angles on the rounded edge. I have enough roundness to deal with in my life. I added little metal buttons to them. Please excuse dark stairwell picture.

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I raised the shoulders, and thus, the entire armscye up to right under my pits because I don’t want my bra showing, but I think I got them a little too high. I also have slopey shoulders so I had to slope the outer edges of the shoulder line down more.

Bows: I lined my bows with interfacing on one side, to make them a little more substantial. I think this was a good choice. I also tied them around my bra straps to keep my bra straps from showing, which is a great feature! The bows can be switched out, or left off so you won’t get weird bumps under your cardi.

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Time to make: 2 weeks of in-between work time. Sometimes I was falling asleep, and I wanted to sew more, but it just wasn’t possible. That’s when mistakes get made. Sadly, mistakes in sewing end up taking even more time to correct.

Where I wore it: I wore my Popover dress muslin to see Queen! At Xfinity Center in Boston with a light, ivory sweater, black sandals and a brown, purchased belt. Please pardon my flat hair;  my hair-do-time was devoted to stitching my facings to my bodice.

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Make Again?: Yes! But probably not in handkerchief fabric. The Popover dress seems to look good on everyone, old, young, thick or thin. Also, that little attached facing is adorable. I’ve never seen that done before. Corset and crinoline recommended for shaping. In the above picture I’m wearing a crinoline, but no corset. The pockets are HUGE! Your could put kittens in there! They tend to hang like a kangaroo pouch which isn’t a particularly good look for me. I don’t think I’d make it with the pockets this way again, I’ll probably hide them in the side seams. But to their credit, in this pic, I’m carrying my cell phone, extra-special, mid-range-supporting ear plugs, my ID, and tissues so that I could cry over Brian May as he starts Now I’m Here. Queen fans, unite!!

“Begin anywhere.” ~ John Cage

With what you have, who you are, where you are. Now. Don’t doubt that it is terrifying, but that is all there is to work with.

In Process Ophelia's Chamber

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