Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Report Dress

A few weeks ago, I came across the image of this dress that is from River Island, a clothing company in the U.K.

Since I had fabric in my stash that looked similar and used it as a table runner for a Robbie Burns Day dinner.....

....and since I've never made an outfit with an exposed zipper welt pocket, I decided there was no time like the present.

The Book Report dress pattern from Oliver + S seemed like perfect pattern to use. It has pocket features in the front, is A-line in style and similar similar sleeves.
To my thinking, it would just be a matter of adding a exposed zippers to the front pocket.

How something so simple in execution could turn out to be so complicated and a complete fail truly amazes me.

Here's the almost finished dress.......

......and here's what's wrong with it.

1) Where the skirt bottom sections meets the main bodice, there is a seam. In order to make the exposed zipper welt pockets sit better, the front should have been cut as once piece.
Also, it was a "b" word to get the plaid to line up along the front between the zippers.

2) The plaid main dress part doesn't line up with the sleeves. In the past, I've never had a problem matching plaids, apparently my plaid mojo is on the fritz.

3) when clipping into the little triangle of the welt pocket, I clipped too far. Doh.
Thank goodness there's Fray Check to glue the corner threads together. Globs of it.

4) Then to make matters worse, while fighting with my broken serger, the knife cut in to the sleeve. Dammit!

So I decided to abandon this project and salvage the little bits of fabric left over for a table runner for Robbie Burns Day next year.

However now I was determined to get it right.  So I got some light green brushed cotton twill, solid this time, and tried it all over again.

The front panel was cut as one main piece.

For the exposed zipper welt pocket I followed this tutorial (click here) except instead of using organza as she demonstrates, used the main dress fabric for the pocket bags.

That turned out to be a bad idea because the weight of the fabric (should have used a thin cotton) and the the weight of the zipper, tugged at the front of the dress making it sag and buckle.

Oh sure, I stabilized the welt pockets with a medium weight stabilizer, but all of that fabric and the zippers still tug on the front.

Instead of turning up the hem as per the instructions, I decided to line the dress so that the pockets and zipper tabs were encased.
I used the cotton twill on the bottom section hoping it would add stability to the front.

It turned out much better this time.
No plaids to mis-match and no knife cuts.

The dress is Size 7 and fits perfectly.

Miss C chose the white buttons and helped me sew them on. 

I'm not overly happy with the exposed zippers on this dress but will certainly use this technique on another outfit.

But I am happy with Book Report Dress pattern.

The first time I made it, my daughter didn't like it.
Miss C did, however I doubt she wore it at all.

My daughter says she likes the pattern now so I'd like to make at least one more.

I saw a dress that looked like a mash-up of the O+S Jump Rope dress on the top section and the Book Report dress on the bottom.

Using chambray, I'd like to try to combine the two patterns and make something similar.


  1. I like the finished for the combo of niece used to do that. Take part from one pattern and marry it to a part from another. She made some cute clothes that way.

  2. Oh yes! That last one definitely looks worth a try.
    I love that first inspiration dress. What a pity it gave you so much trouble. The solid one looks great and i really like the exposed zippers. I'd give that dress a go myself for sure! (and probably forget to reread your post, and so suffer all the same headaches!)Thanks for the inspiration :)