It's done! This is the dress inspired by a 1950s Ceil Chapman design. I used Vogue 1117, a current Michael Kors offering. I'm totally digging the way this turned out. To think I was originally planning to use this Liberty of London fabric for a simple shirt dress! I think its charms are much better taken advantage of in this draped sheath.
As others have blogged, this pattern is not for the faint of heart. The kind of crazy thing, though, is that what really makes it difficult are the side insets at the upper bodice front and back. Other than that, it's pretty straight forward. Well, besides the lining.
I used a bright white cotton/poly batiste to line with - I thought the white would brighten up the ivory of the fashion fabric a bit, and the cotton would be nice and cool for summer.
I'd like to make this pattern again (I'm thinking red gingham!) but it's going to need some serious simplifications. I'm thinking about re-jiggering the pattern to eliminate the insets on the back, and converting the front insets to simple princess lines. And then eliminating the lining, and just using facings. You have no idea how much faster it would be to sew up that way! I'd like to have another version, but it just seems silly to spend that much time futzing with a simple gingham summer dress, right?
From the back:
You can see the draping better here:
Here was the original inspiration, to refresh your memory:
Also, this is day three of my rag curl set. Crazy staying power, huh? Thank you, LottaBody! I'm sad that I have to wash it out tonight!
Now, for those interested, here are some more details on the tricky insets on this pattern. You have to cut a bias square to use for reinforcement at the pivot points. Erica B. suggested just using fusible squares, but I found I needed the squares as a sort of facing. Here's how it works. You cut a 2" bias square:
Center it over the pivot point on the outside of the dress, and stitch over the pivot point markings.
Slash to the pivot point.
Press the square down on each side.
Now. Here's the bit of info I felt was missing from the instructions. I turned the square to the inside of the fabric, like this.
Here's what the outside looks like.
It's almost like the bias square creates a facing, and it gives you something to grip onto when you're stitching in the inset, if that makes any sense. Anyway, a lot of work for a design detail that doesn't really show up in a print! But it was a learning experience and I'm all about those.
P.S. Thanks again to the Selfish Seamstress for her inspirational post on Ceil Chapman. You rule, lady!