Pattern Review: BWOF Pleated Front Dress

In general I’m happy with the dress. It’s a little Talbots for me, but I love the eyelet and I love the pleats on the front. But, I think my alterations made it look a little ‘young’. I just want to give another big thanks to Dawn and Debbie who walked me through my sloped shoulder alteration.

I’m going to make up the shirt version this fall. And I definitely want to make this up sleeveless.

A full review is on

** Also, sorry if my photos, etc are not lined up very well. I post at home from a MAC and it looks entirely different on my work PC. Not sure if it’s the difference in computer screens or resolutions.


First I want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments you left about my mom and my family. They are a great bunch and it was a treat for us to all be together to celebrate my mom. Growing up an Army brat made me who I am today. Liberal, outgoing and kind of obnoxious :)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled sewing blog.

Last night I followed the advice of a friend and interfaced the rip, used some fray stop and ‘zig zagged like hell’.

This morning, I put the sleeve in (it’s been years since I did an eased sleeve — not a fan).

Voila! Dawn was right, barely noticeable. The rip seemed enormous when I did it. I guess I overreacted a little. And Tany’s right, the sound of ripping fabric is nauseating.

I also put in the lining. It’s a black poly blend batiste from Joann’s. I just did one large pleat in the front and back rather than all the pleating from the skirt. It’s going to be about 1 inch above the hem when finished.

Next: trim out the lining with lace, stitch it down along the zipper, insert other sleeve.

Oy. Am now running late for work. I cannot sew and blog in the morning!


I think that if buttons are going to be more decorative than functional, because of the 16 inch side zipper, BWOF should tell you so you won’t spend 30 minutes working in slightly crooked buttonholes. I’m just sayin’.

I digress.

I chose the light blue buttons because I thought the dress was kind of boring laying on my sewing table. And Dawn said in yesterday’s comments, pick ‘exciting’ buttons if the dress is plain. Which, I thought it was. But, she is happiest when the buttons are non descript.

Should have listened. Now with the light blue on, I think it looks a little juvenille and the dress isn‘t plain. So, those are going to come off and the navy will go on.

I tried on the BWOF 5-2007-121 dress to check fit and decide if I wanted to make it sleevelss. I think it’s too casual for work sleeveless and I have short sleeves almost ready to go.

At any rate. Note the lovely rip on my front left upper arm bodice. I moved, I heard a rip, my heart sank.

I know better than to clip into seam allowances. I must have just moved wrong and hit a weak spot. The rip is longer than the seam allowance. Erg. I don’t know. I’ve patched it with some interfacing but I’m putting it away for a little bit before I do something more stupid.

Ok. I’m getting a glass of wine. I’m a little mad at myself.

Collars and Buttons

It’s a beautiful day here in Baltimore. I actually started my morning at 7:00 a.m. at the Waverly Farmer’s Market before coming home to sew. Well, I puttered around for a few hours, took a nap and then got up and started sewing.

I love lemonade.

I have pressed the pleats into the BWOF 5-2007-121 skirt, pin basted and have sewn the front and back together. I shortened the skirt by a good six inches. I wanted it to be just above the knee and it was hitting me mid calf in the muslin. Which put the eyelet at medical exam height. Needless to say, I will be lining the skirt.

I finished the pleats in the bodice, have sewn it together at the shoulders and attached the collar. Umm, oops.

It’s hard to explain, but I haven’t done this correctly. The collar does not turn out the way it should. There’s a pleat or wrinkle or something. It’s better on one side than the other. I think I know how to fix it. But, I have to run out to my friend T.’s engagement party. I’ll try to sort it out in the a.m.

Our staff photographer got this shot of me last week in my BWOF Dolman while I was intently reading my Crackberry. The hem looks uneven and I look a little pregnant, but I’m and it’s not. Just very bad posture and late for a meeting.

Shoulder pads + Adjustment = Fit

This is the last of today’s sewing. It’s finally gotten warm in Baltimore so it’s time to put in my four window units. That and there are some disgusting black bug things (aphids?) decimating my chives in the herb garden. So, I’ve got to take care of that.

I’ve reduced the sloped shoulder adjustment to 3/8 inch vs. one inch. That’s this first photo.
Below are photos with a 1/2 inch shoulder pad included. Um, photos are of the left and right individually because I could find only one shoulder pad. Clearly another room that needs some straightening today.

So I think together, that helps the back wrinkles. Next up (with my fellow Blogger guides) is raising the back waistline of the dress.


IYDebbie Cook

Per Debbie Cook’s advice, I went ahead and added the sleeves and made up the skirt for BWOF 5-2007-121 (8 million pleats and all). I think she’s right in that the skirt pulls some of the bagginess out of the bodice.

I think the wrinkles are fitting ease like Christina said. I put the sleeves in flat, so if you see any puckers I wasn’t really trying hard. Again, open to thoughts and suggestions….

Ok. I’m driving down to my parents and better get on the road now. Well, after I pack. That’s my suitcase there on the floor. I got a little distracted with the sewing :)

Oh, I am also open to thoughts on how far down to press the pleats.


Apparently, Cidell is playing the role of the manic blogger today…

Ok. Arms down, second set of photos, the bodice really does not fit well in the back.

What is a good fit?

I didn’t bother with the arms because I did a pin fit and they worked. I’m also skipping doing the skirt muslin even though it’s cut because the waist fits me here too. I have to say that I always think I could use another inch in the waist, but the marked waistline is hitting me at my waistline.

So, to me, the muslin fits. No gapois at the bust, fitting ease to stretch around, smooth through the center back and front. But, now that I see it in photos, I do see some bagginess in places. But, honestly? I kind of think that’s ok. I do think you need some room and I look at the dress on the model and I think it’s far baggier. Also, bear in mind that as this was my muslin, I can’t even testify to it being cut on the grain.

As a fairly lazy sewist, I’m open to second opinions. Does this fit?

Thread Tracing and Pleats

In my effort to take on more challenging projects, I’ve decided I need to be better at marking items. Also, I realize people read my blog and I can’t hide my poor habits forever.

For the BWOF 5-2007-121 dress, I thread traced all the pleat lines, darts, CF, button line, etc during last night’s Veronica Mars. The only thing I didn’t trace was the seam allowance. That’s better left for more talented (and patient) people like Tany.

Here are my attempts at the pleats for the bodice front. The first one did not go well. I either mismarked or got off track in the topstitching.

The second (on the right) far better. Another good reason to make a muslin….

Below, you can see that there are two darts for shaping. I like how they are hidden within the pleats.
Tonight is the season finale of Lost, so, umm. Well, I’m going to be watching that.

No sewing tomorrow either. I’ve got a work function that involves dinner on a ship, Argentinian sailors and wine with every course. I love any invite that says you should wear your “summer whites”. Good. Times.