Why make one dress when you can make two at the same time? (I don't know either... I just did it.)
I was able to make some good progress on my Evening Empire Dresses (medium). They are two lonely bodices no longer - they finally have skirts :) I finished one and it only needs a hook and eye:
This is a cotton sateen from Sew Lisette that I picked up at Joann's (with a coupon? But, of course!). I really like these fabrics because they are 100% cotton but they are made for clothing, unlike quilting cottons (which I still use for clothes), which are clearly made for... wait for it... quilting.
I mostly followed the pattern. I left the length of the skirt because despite my stubby legs (or maybe because of them!) I prefer a longer, mid-calf skirt. But I did eliminate about 4" from the skirt width because I know from my hilarious muslin last year that the skirt can be quite full. I also eliminated about 8" from the skirt lining (and about 2.5" from the length), which also cuts down on some bulk. The thing about empire dresses is this - if you're an hour glass figure or at all busty, empire waist dresses are sometimes not the most flattering (a la maternity wear - negativo!). However, they are super comfortable and comfort always wins out for me in the summer! Anyway, all that to say, that this can be on the poofy side and the style but form of the design do not suffer if you make the skirt a skosh smaller, width-wise. (I did this by folding my pattern over about 2" along the side that you place on the fold of your fabric - what will be the center of your empire waist, not at the side seams).
Also, you might add more bulk depending on what you use for lining (if you decide to line). I read a lot of blog posts before starting this time and one person had used a cotton knit and I thought that sounded keen. I thought that another cotton fabric might make the skirt a bit stiff or might stick to the outer fabric, and again, increase the skirt volume. So, I found a very thin cotton/poly knit that is thin enough to breath, is a bit stretchy, and has enough poly so that the outer skirt isn't stuck to the lining all the time. Plus, it's very soft against bare legs! (First I wrote "bear legs" - I can't really vouch for how it would be for bear legs, but for bare human legs, it's the bees knees!)
Dress innards - unpicking my zipper snafu X2
I'm often willing to fudge things (that's why I'm Type B), but the zipper has to match at the top, otherwise everything else is kittywampus. I failed to read in the directions that the dress requires a hook and eye and so I was dismayed when I finished the zipper on the dotty dress to see that the zipper didn't go to the top of the bodice. But then I read the pattern more closely. I think if you're a more capable seamstress, you could work the zipper in and forgo the H&E. On the second dress, I messed up once by twisting the zipper so it didn't come together. I unpicked and tried again. This time, I didn't line the zipper up and it lifted one side of the bodice 1.5"-2" above the other side. And so, I put it to bed and I will deal with it later this evening.
Here's where I straight up TypeB'd it - 1) On both of the dresses, I topstitched the side seams on only one side of the skirt to finish the seam, because I stupidly assumed I'd finish the seams ont he other side the same way. Well the zipper goes in the other side and I wasn't able to topstitch that side. Oh well.
I did not go back and unpick.
2) My overlock foot is broken, so I zigzagged the bottom of the lining rather than folding, pressing, and stitching - it doesn't look all that great. But hey - it's the lining. Who's looking at your lining?!
And here are some nice, headless photos!
Doh! Looks especially maternity if you put your hands like this!
Must avoid this pose...
Not sure that the belt really helps...
There is a leeettle gaping under the arms, but not enough to be too bothersome. My straps aren't crooked, it's just the angle of the photo, but I might set them out a tiny bit more next time. If you're a more skilled seamstress, it would be fun to shorten the side zipper and add pockets, but I'm not sure I'm there yet :) All in all, however, a solid, comfy dress and I'm excited to finish up my second one and take them out for a spin!
(And yes, I've had those quilt blocks behind me finished since... February and they are still not put together... It's on the list!)