I went with a black/white striped cotton sateen from Fabric Mart, an on-line fabrics house. I played with the stripes to create a silhouette that minimizes width up top and adds width on the bottom: a halter-like orientation up top and horizontal stripes on the bottom.
Matching the stripes was challenging but fun. I cut left and right pieces separately: cut one piece, then flipped it over and put it on the fabric, right sides together, matching the stripes and cut the other piece. Cutting thus took more than twice as long as normal.
I started with the two front pieces, matching the stripes at CF, then cut the side pieces (side fronts and skirt side fronts), matching the diagonal stripes to the horizontal stripes where I thought most visually important (top of the side pieces up at the armscye and top of the skirt side front). Then I cut the side back pieces, then the back pieces. All the while I was telling myself, at least it was stripes and not plaid! 🙂
I added white pipings in some seams to play up the shape of the dress and also to visually break up the stripes and also to somewhat camouflage the impossibility of matching diagonal stripes to horizontal stripes. For the piping, I was going to use a bright color like fuchsia or kelly green or goldenrod, but in the end I decided on a more monochrome palette for the dress and went with white piping.
The pattern does not call for a lining, but since the sateen is somewhat light and slightly sheer, I added a lining. I used the same pattern pieces for the dress for the lining.
Construction-wise, the biggest issue I had was the bias binding around the cut-outs at the sides. (The neckline and armhole are also finished with bias binding but that does not present a problem.) The side cut-outs are a problem because they’re a flat two-dimensional oval shape rather than a three-dimensional oval like the neckline and the armholes. I simply could not get the bias binding to lay flat.
It seems to me that a bias binding, folded twice, simply will not lay flat around the perimeter of a flat oval. I suppose there may be some combination of stretching and easing of the binding and/or the dress that can accomplish that. Instead of the bias binding, I opted for a facing. I used the dress’ pattern pieces to draw up a pattern piece for a facing:
I joined the pattern pieces, overlapping seam allowances, then trace a 1 3/4″ wide facing pattern piece.
The construction steps are:
- Construct the dress and the lining in the same way, following the pattern instructions, inserting the hidden zipper in the dress.
- Join dress and lining wrong sides together and basted at the neck line and armholes.
- Apply bias binding at neck line and armholes.
- Slip stitch lining to the zipper tape.
- Stay stitch both dress and lining together around side cut-outs.
Sew facing to cut-out, right side together.
Trim seam allowances, clip, press seam allowances open, turn facing to inside, press again.
- Turn edge of facing under 1/4″ and slip stitch facing to lining.