Your sharp eye wanted

Back in February, I enlisted your help as I matched up fabric with patterns. One of the ones I was most suspicious about I noted here (the second one). I got the go-ahead and, since it was a vintage pattern, smartly made a muslin first. Well, kind of a muslin. I made my muslin nice enough to wear as my Easter dress.  Details, details. Well, I’m glad I made a muslin, because I had quite a few problems with fit, and, in the end, I’m not exactly happy with it.

There's me in the background, in pink. See how the dress kind of poofs at my waist? It's not the most flattering fit. As I was talking about the pattern on PatternReview, someone commented that "curved French darts that start low and point upwards toward the bust" do that.

I wore it all day on Easter, and then again to work a few weeks later. I received many compliments on it, so it’s not as horrible as I’m making it out to be. It is quite comfy as well, and coordinates nicely with the pink shrug I knit. But I’m not repeating it.

Can you tell that there's a side dart? I didn't even notice it. I thought that curved line was a crease or fold in the fabric, not a seam. Now I've got my eye out for these kind of details.

[As a sidenote, I’d like to mention that nearly all of my vintage patterns have side darts at the bus instead of underneath the bust. I wonder when, and why, styles changed.]

Well, I’d rather not make another dress with a poofy tummy (and I don’t think it would look all that flattering in the fabric I want to use). So, I went on a quest to find a different pattern (out of all the ones I own, something should work, right?). My guidelines were that the pattern be 1) vintage, 2) a dress, and 3) basic.

Here's what it boiled down to. View E on the right, without the frilly trim. Side darts, yes, but no curved French dart.

It is a little less “basic” than I’d like (the fancy yoke), but I can be OK with that. The only other pattern I came up with had a huge front pleat that I don’t think works, plus it is much less basic than the one above (more unbasic? what’s the opposite of “basic” in this context?). I also toyed briefly with this jumper and this dress. I decided the jumper wasn’t what I wanted (not a dress). The latter one had some nice details, like the gathered yoke, but it’s a maternity pattern. Aren’t I trying to avoid the poofy tummy? Perhaps a maternity pattern is not the best choice.

To refresh your memory, here is the fabric we're talking about. Blue (slightly less purple than the picture implies) with pintucks and decorative stitching. It has a nice drape, is not stiff, and is quite appropriate for work wear.

I’m not opposed to buying a new pattern (or “new to me” one, vintage on Etsy), but I’d have to go look for it, and it seems like I should have the right pattern already in my stash. At a certain point, all the vintage basic shift dress patterns look alike. So, if you don’t think my choice (McCalls above, View E) is right, please do suggest something else. I am committed to making a basic dress out of this fabric. I just have to find the right pattern with which to do so.

[Editor’s note: it will also be sleeveless, since I have an aversion to sleeved dresses. Slightly shorter than knee-length (work appropriate). No collar is preferrable – definitely not the ultra high neckline of the original Simplicity choice. That was awful. I will be doing a muslin again (though I’ll have to figure out what fabric to use so that it, too, is wearable). I also no longer do pockets on dresses, and I don’t wear belts either. The dress has to stand on its own.]