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This is the Sigma dress by Papercut Patterns. I got this pattern a little while back when they were having a sale. It’s a semi-close-fitting dress with some lovely little details like pockets and gathered skirt.
Last month I quickly made a muslin of this dress. I cut out my size according to the size chart. I lengthened the bodice above the dart using my shoulder to bust point measurement because that’s a standard adjustment for me. Once I’d sewn it up, I realised that I forgot to add seam allowance to the shoulder to bust point measurement, so I moved down the bust darts by 1.5cm using this tutorial, but left the bodice length as-is because the waistline hit where it was supposed to. The other thing I decided to change was the length of the skirt. Not that I didn’t think the short skirt looked cute, but mainly because I couldn’t sit down in it. I have fairly large hips and thighs, so the hem was digging into my legs and riding up in an almost ‘basic instinct’ kind of way.
I kind of thought that this dress would be a super quick project, because I cut out and sewed the muslin in a matter of hours. But muslins are not an indication of how long a project will take by any means! I sewed this dress in short bursts and took about 2 weeks in total sewing an hour at a time here and there. The insides look pretty pristine if I do say so myself. I used a combination of different seam finishes. The side seams are finished with an overlocker, the waist and hems are finished with bias binding, and the back seam is pinked. That being said, I think someone who sews more often would probably have a quicker time with this dress.
I haven’t sewn sleeves in a dress for quite a long time. I figured it was about time I had a dress with sleeves. Looking through my closet, I saw that about 90% of my dresses are sleeveless. The other 10% are long-sleeved winter dresses. I think I only have 2 dresses with short sleeves. So setting in the sleeves were a little bit of a challenge for me. One of them is perfectly smooth, but the other has little puckers at the top. It doesn’t bother me enough to unpick it though.
The other thing I changed was I decided to put in an exposed zipper instead of an invisible zipper. I’m not a big fan of installing invisible zippers. I think mostly because I don’t have a real invisible zipper foot. I have a cheap plastic universal one that sometimes does a good job and sometimes doesn’t. I used this youtube tutorial, which explains it very well, but I kind of messed it up by the zipper stop anyway. It looks ok right now, but I’m not sure how well it’s going to withstand being washed… Stephanie from Love Teach Sew also suggested the tutorial on Megan Nielsen’s blog, so if I do it again I will try this tutorial as well.
The fabric I used is a cotton poplin with navy blue and white zig zags. It looks kind of like a solid from far away. Up close, you can see that I didn’t take the time to match the zig zags, but I’m not torn up about it at all. I guess in that way, it helps that I chose to do an exposed zipper to break up the pattern a bit.
While I’m very happy with how this project turned out, there are a few changes I’d make on the next one. For one, I think I’d use a shorter zipper. I tried to get a 55cm zip, but it was either 50 or 60. I think that might be why it looks a bit funky on the back (but if anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know in the comments). Two, I would make the pockets deeper. They aren’t really useful for, say, an iphone. And three, I’ll have to lengthen the skirt by another 1.5cm if I want to hem it normally, not with bias binding.