Valentine’s Day Dress: Megan Nielsen Karri

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This dress was originally intended for Valentine’s Day 2017. I ordered the pattern in November 2016 and bought fabric for the project soon after. But, it took me until Valentine’s Day 2018 to finish the dress. Read on to see why…

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I’ll be real here. This dress was a struggle from start to finish, and I don’t love the result. I intended to self-line the dress (it’s been so long since I bought this fabric, that I’m not really sure what it is, but it feels like a lining fabric), so I used the lining as a muslin to test for fit. I made the XS, and the fit out of the envelope was not good. The chest was way too big. I looked it up, and Megan drafts her pattern for a B/C cup, so I was a little confused at this point. Then I realized that the finished bust measurement is 34″. My bust is more like 32″. Frustrated that this was the smallest possible size, the dress sat on my dress form for about 9 months.

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Eventually I built up the bravery to face fit alterations on my lining muslin. I tried on the dress, pinched out the excess fabric at the bust, and resewed the princess seams. I did this 2 or 3 times before I was happy with the fit. I then transferred these changes to the lining and outer pattern pieces and went about my business sewing up the rest of the dress.

Everything came together smoothly, but when I tried on the final dress, it was too small in the bust! I had already clipped the seam allowances, as the pattern instructions very clearly insists on, so it was too late to go back. I had overcompensated in my adjustments, and for the first time in my life, I have a dress that is too small at the bust.

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What I do love about this dress, though, is that it has a lot of seams to allow for customization (it’s hard to see, but I inserted black lace at the shoulders), that it has great in-seam pockets, and that it is fully lined. There are great instructions for creating and attaching that lining. I opted to make my dress sleeveless, though, so the finishing techniques for the lining didn’t work for me. Instead, I followed Colette’s tutorial on lining a sleeveless bodice without any hand stitching. This really is a great tutorial that I refer to often.

After I was pretty sure this dress was a fail, I decided to use it as practice for a new technique: a rolled hem by hand. I found this a lot harder than it looks. I tended to pull the thread too tight (just like I do in knitting), so there is a bit of a ripple effect around the hem rather than a clean finish.

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So, there is my full honest review of this dress, along with some blown out pictures in an attempt to show the reality of how it fits. I don’t think I’ll be making another version. Though, at this point it would probably be pretty easy to tweak the bodice to fit to my liking. You win some, you lose some.

 

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Pattern: Megan Nielsen Karri Dress in size XS
Fabric: unknown, remnant black lace from Joann’s
Notions: Invisible zipper from Joann’s
Cost: unknown
Time: 20 hours

 

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