Charm Patterns, Rita Dress

The Rita Blouse – it has sat on the back burner for an absolute age because, as you probably know (if you are following my sewing journey) I just don’t gravitate to separates. And then it hit me – the most obvious answers take me a while – just make it a dress as I have done with several other patterns.

I’ve loved the look of the pattern since it first came out – there’s always something so romantic about a peasant blouse.

To work out the fit, I did make the blouse as a toile. While it fitted ok at the bust (it is easy to get this right as Charm grade to cup sizes), it was fitted closely at the waist and the pattern is designed to have a bit of ease at the waist. The stomach area was also tight so had I been making the blouse it would have necessitated the grading from the under bust, for sure, So, when I cut out the main fabric, I made my usual charm size (according to my upper bust measurement – size 12 in the D/DD cup) and graded it out at the waist to a 14. Going by the toile of the blouse, this was essential.

However, when I actually sewed the dress up (I just cut the blouse pieces off at the waistline, added a seam allowance and attached a gathered skirt), I discovered that the blouse toile was misleading. After taking extra care to insert the side zip, I discovered the dress goes on and off without using the zip.

*cue eye rolling*

Now, I made the toile from cotton and I decided to use some random navy double gauze that was lying discarded in my stash to try this dress hack… so I wondered, could loose weave account for the fact that there’s more room in the dress than I was expecting?

It doesn’t look overly big as the skirt is holding everything down nicely but the fact that the zip is redundant is really annoying me so, to see if the issue was with the fabric or the make itself, I decided to make a cotton version and I had some poplin that had been gifted to me a couple of weeks back by Sew Totally Me which I love would look incredible as a Rita dress so I went back to work.

This time, I decided to stick with the same pattern pieces (i.e. grading out from the under bust 12 to a 14 waist) because that first toile just wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’d ever worn BUT as a means of compromise I increased the side seam allowances… put in the zip only to discover the very same reality. The zip was redundant. So, I guess I have two options:

  1. Don’t bother putting a zip in as it’s easy to get the garment off and on
  2. Toile again

Tell me, is there anything so wrong with how the dresses look that I would need to take route number 2?

I think I’ll just omit the zips.

This is a lovely pattern and a lovely garment to wear and I’m sure you’ll see a few more in my collection with variations on a theme.

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