Having worn and loved this dress for two years now, it's time to say something about it. The fabric is Smitten Kitten by Alexander Henry. I wish I could reliably find its equivalent in countless other prints. Strange, lively, impossible to stain.
Being short and fair, I am more and more finding that bold prints overwhelm me, especially when I see myself in photos. So I am thinking of taking a decidedly prim approach to pattern in the future.
But not with this dress!
This Simplicity pattern is part of their B-C-D cup collection, which I greatly love. I believe I cut an 8 in the upper portion of the chest (using the D cup bodice), grading to a 12 below the waist. Having now sewn this pattern three times, I've made a few tweaks here and there (a petite tuck above the waist, a little more slope to the shoulder), but on this first version I played it pretty straight, and I still think the result worked out well. I must make a shirt version of this.
The fantastic ribbon I am wearing as a sash comes from a small cache of treasures preserved from my Great Great Aunt Jenny's long-gone dress shop, Land O' Sky Fashions. A place from the past I so wish I could visit! It had been closed for many years by the time I was born, but the old stock remained on the upper story of an old retail building downtown. That is another post. The point here is, this is 4" wide rayon satin ribbon, and it feels like liquid mercury. It also won't stay tied tightly for more than ten minutes. I keep thinking I need to sew in some little snaps or something. I really don't want to turn it into a more structured belt, say with interfacing or buckles or whatever. That seems disrespectful to the ribbon and its inherent ribbonyness.
This dress accommodates a short waist and a swayback with aplomb! I often wear the dress without a belt as a more casual, dare I say "housedress", approach.