Anyhow, here's the pattern I used, a 1960s mail order pattern. I had been wanting to make a shirtdress, and I liked the collar on this one, and the simple but full skirt.
I made pattern alterations using the bodice pieces of garments I already adjusted in the hope that this would help me get closer to an acceptable fit on the first try. I'd never done a raglan sleeved garment, and my one previous shirtdress was fitted with a lot of alterations to the garment itself, rather than to the pattern, but I did the best I could looking at the bodice length and width and dart placement for the patterns I did have, and it worked out better than expected. The first version is a little loose in the bodice and gappy in the armholes, but not unwearably so, especially given that at work I typically have a cardigan on anyhow.
Like almost everything I make, it's completely lined -- in this case with pale pink cotton/poly batiste. For some reason, the collar came out shorter than the neckline: still haven't figured out how that happened, as I hadn't made any alterations up front that would affect the neck area! After assembling the lining, I saw that I needed to add back neck darts to take care of some gapping, but still the collar wasn't long enough to cover the whole neckline. I think it looks fine that way, though.
The crazy-bright flower fabric was purchased from a Quilt Home online sale earlier this year. I was going to say that I don't usually wear this particular shade of pink, but then I realized that once upon a time my hair was actually dyed this color ... too bad I didn't have this dress back then! This was a three-yard piece, and I used darn near every scrap of it. The belt (not part of the pattern, but I thought it would add something) was pieced together from five or six scraps.
For version two, I used one of the fabrics I bought at High Fashion last weekend. I made some pattern adjustments to take out a little more from the upper bodice, and re-shaped the sleeve a little to make it more of a cap sleeve, which I think looks more current. I think it could take out yet a little more from the bodice next time: it fits my dress form really well, but her chest is bigger than mine! I am actually a B cup, but have a small band size, so flat out removing bodice width is better than a small bust alteration for me.
For number two, the collar fit perfectly with my dart alterations -- go figure, because I never changed the collar piece at all. I used a butter yellow cotton batiste for lining. Both dresses have identical buttons. I had bought an extra card of three for the first dress, because I thought I might rather have four buttons. When they matched my second dress too, I looked no further. If I hadn't had these on hand, I probably would have gone for orange buttons. I made a belt for this one too (again, out of five or six scraps), but I experimented with adding a bias tape edge to give it more definition, and didn't like the result. I wasn't in the mood for ripping seams on four yards of bias tape, so this one will go belt-less. With the improvements to fit, it looks better without anyhow.
These are perfect work dresses and I'm looking forward to wearing them. You know it's a winner when you try it on for fit and don't want to take it off again! I have fabric picked out for one more version, and then I think it's time to set this pattern aside.
With a four-day weekend, I had hoped I could finish one more dress, but it just wasn't happening. I find that I often grossly over-estimate how much sewing I can get done, so I decided to track my work time on the second dress. Wow, that turned out to be an eye-opener: it took just over 14 hours!!!! I was three hours and 40 minutes in before I even touched the sewing machine. I felt like I was working at my normal pace, and all this time was actually working on the project: any breaks I took were off the clock. No wonder I can't meet my pie-in-the-sky sewing goals: I just don't sew all that fast, I guess! I do enjoy the process, so I don't regret how long it turns out it takes. I'll be making more realistic project completion time estimates in the future.