I've made two Casual Lady Dresses before (here and here) in a thinnish polyester elastaine (neither were overly successful). This ponti one has been directly inspired by Emma from the blog Ernest Flagg who has made more than one Casual Lady Dress from ponti fabric. I like the shape the firmer fabric gave to the pattern and wanted to try one for myself. The fabric was bought from fabric.com about a year ago when I thought I'd be pumping out 100s of pairs of Anita Ponti Pants, but alas that never happened as the pattern didn't fit me (until recently when I went to Tessuti for a pants pattern alternation class).
I forwent the recommended facings again in favour for a self-fabric neckband and sleeve band finish - just like Emma has done on hers. To make both bands I cut a 4cm strip of fabric, ironed it in half (wrong sides together) and attached to the right side of the dress with the overlocker; and top stitched it down using a narrow zigzag stitch. I'd received some advice to attach the neckband "in the flat"... only join one shoulder seam, attach the band and THEN sew the other shoulder seam. Much easier than attaching things in the round. I followed the same process for the sleeves too.
I think the bands are (mostly) OK and they went on with no trouble at all (though I notice now that the neckband didn't quite catch properly in a few places). Sadly, I didn't pull them tighter when attaching as I didn't want to make the neck and arms too small and the result is a neck and sleeve that is a bit big and gapping. Next time I'll put them a little in order to reduce some of the gaping. There is also a bit of excess fabric at the front neck that I could pinch out (if I knew how) but I'm hoping pulling the neckband when attaching might fix this.
Overall I think this dress fits really well. It does bunch up a bit above my toush, but nearly everything does so I'm mostly blind to that. Plus I can't see my butt so it's like I don't even have one.
This dress was a test run for perhaps making this dress for the Canberra and Melbourne Frocktails dinners. I think it's a winner...but now I just need to find two really nice pieces of ponti...which is actually harder than the sewing part!
I actually decided to wear this dress out to dinner at Mr Wong (oooh, fancy) on Easter Sunday...I finished about an hour before I was to leave the house and as I quite like it so I figured I may as well wear it. It was mostly quite comfortable though the excess around the neck was a bit annoying...something to fix next time. My friend thought it looked nice and not handmade at all (I think she left her glasses at home...lol).
Pattern: Casual Lady Dress by Go To Patterns
Size: XXL (I'm think that's equivalent to an Aussie Size 16 - 18).
Modifications: left off facing and finished neck/arms with self fabric bands. Reduced the sleeves and front neck from an XXL to an XL.
Fabric: Ponti from Fabric.com.