The details are a bit fuzzy, but I'll try to piece it all together here, as it was a bit of an adventure. I've had this lightweight, floral pleather in my stash since last April (purchased from Emma One Sock), but didn't really have an idea what I wanted to do with it - I just thought it was really cool. I stumbled upon this suede dress from Free People (probably while traveling down a Pinterest rabbit hole), and thought it would match up nicely! I settled on the Grainline Studio Farrow Dress as a good approximation.
The Messy Middle Bit
I came up with this plan maybe the week before we were planning a mini vacation up to the Finger Lakes to celebrate our anniversary in early October. I figured that it couldn't be that hard, right? Unfortunately, I didn't do a muslin, and things turned out to be a bit trickier than I anticipated.
I definitely had to adjust the pattern to match up better with my inspiration, and that deep v-neck was key. I just eyeballed it and cut the neckline like I wanted, and was happy with how that came out. I decided to do away with the angled seams and pockets for two reasons - first, I only had 1.5 yards of fabric, and didn't want to mess with piecing it all together, and second, I didn't want to interrupt the busy print. To do this, I just taped the top and bottom pieces together and cut them out as one. I didn't want to lose pockets though, so I just drafted up some in-seam pockets to add back into the side seams. The final change I had to make was to draft my own all-in-one facing for the neckline and armscyes.
That was all relatively quick and painless, and I sewed it up, and then tried it on, which was where the issue became evident. It doesn't look so bad on my dress form below, but there are a couple of key differences between us - mainly in the chest area. It was falling off my shoulders and gaping all over the place, so I had to figure out how to take it all in without screwing it up. I think it's just part of being petite, but a frequent adjustment I have to make to patterns is that the shoulders are too wide, even if the rest of it technically fits. I usually fix this by pinching out a bit from the center of the pattern piece, and adding it back into the sides if needed. Unfortunately, it was a little late in the game to do that adjustment, and I really hesitated to add a center seam down the front, given that I intentionally left it as one piece. Taking in the sides would help with some of the fit issues, but the shoulders were still falling off a bit, and I didn't want to mess with the pockets too much.
At this point, I came to the conclusion I wouldn't finish it in time for our vacation, so it sat unfinished for a few more weeks. I ended up adding in a center seam down the back to help fix some of the shoulder width issues, and took in a bit under the arms, tapering out back to the original seams so I didn't have to redo the pockets. I then did a hem, and called it good!
Another thing to note - this fabric was a bit tricky to work with as well, given it's slippery nature. I used a clear plastic foot to sew the whole thing up, and went slow! I also made the mistake of using the same fabric to do the facing, so there wouldn't be any obvious fabric showing if it peeked out, but it means I can definitely not wear it on my bare skin. The V-neck is pretty deep, so I wouldn't anyway, but something to remember next time I work with pleather! You can see my facing (and a bit more of the texture) below:
I ended up finishing this at the end of October, and have worn it a surprising number of times since! I call this my tablecloth dress for multiple reasons - first, floral fabric is a bit intense, and is a little tablecloth-like, but primarily, it's because any of my many food spills can just be wiped right up! There is still a bit too much volume for my taste, and I may at some point take in the sides again, but for now, it works, and I'm pleased with how it came out.
(visible center seam - oops!)