I had both finished just in time for the wedding yesterday, and the road test went very well. I'm usually cold in spring temperatures unless I wear a sweater and pants or boots, but the coat and dress were warm and cuddly (and unbelievably comfortable; I almost felt like wearing sweats!), and not too warm for dancing either. Hooray for real wool fabrics!
The dress went together well. I had reservations about the cut-on underarm gussets, but I can usually make myself bite the bullet by telling myself "If others have done it, so can I", and it often works! I had the hardest time with the fabric, the green wool knit rolled like crazy along the edges, and the lining was so stretchy it was hard to decide on a cutting line at all. Considering the very imprecise cutting I'm surprised it looks as it does (and should). Maybe knit is just very forgiving.
I cut it out like the pattern said which called for a back zipper (in a woven), not daring to cut the back on the fold. (Would've saved myself a lot of pinning...) When Jenny sent me the link to her gorgeous dress which was also in a knit and cut on the fold it was too late. But I knew it could work in a knit and it wasn't just in my head!
I had to pin like crazy (hand basting would have been better but that's really my last resort), and triple checked for leftover pins before I sewed the hems and closed up the gap between the fabric and the lining... What can I say, at dinner last night I felt something poking me and actually found three more pins (that I had to wrestle through the knitting loops of the lining, in a cramped toilet booth, no less!). Another sewing war story to tell.
I cut the dress one size smaller than usual and adjusted at the side seams for width. I took it in a bit more on the bodice, but the skirt was fine.
Final notes on the lining: I underlined the dress; I think a real/separate lining wouldn't work with the surplice bodice. The inside isn't so pretty now; there's a lot of bulk in the seam allowances as is (with folds and two overlapping front parts), and I didn't want to add to it by binding the seam allowances.
For anyone interested in this pattern who doesn't have the magazine: German Burda has a free download of it this month as The Selfish Seamstress has noted.
Finishing details on the coat: These were the best snaps I could buy, and I decided to use them for the time being. (They were prohibitively expensive, over 5 euros a piece, which was probably more than I spent on the coat fabric, although I don't remember exactly.) Gwen is right that self-fabric covered buttons would look best, but I just didn't have it in me to add another labor-intensive step to this outfit. I might still do it, but will realistically be more interested in making something shiny and new!
(The picture looks as if the pattern/embroidery repeat doesn't match. It does match when closed - it fell crooked in the picture.)
Digs asked a question about the coat fabric. No, I didn't embroider it myself. I wish! I adore embroidery, and not necessarily the machine kind, but I lack the patience to do a lot of it. So I need to go to fabric markets and score cute pre-embroidered fabric! Speaking of which: Today is the year's first fabric market! Wahoo!
A final note: I'm finally getting to the point in my sewing where my fantasies and my abilities match up enough that the outfit I envision is the one I get to wear, like this dress/coat combo. A happy place!
And off I go... To market, to market!