Cocktail dress Part 3: Finishing the Skirt

Made on: 
Saturday, 23 August, 2014

This part of the project was really adjust-as-you-go. I made what I thought was going to be a minor adjustment, but it proved to be a bit more complicated than I thought: adding pockets. Well, it mostly became complicated because I kept changing my mind... Anyway. I'm happy with the progress, but I'm not soo convinced by the shape. What do you think?

This was the cause of a lot of trouble these past few weeks.
I love pockets in dresses. There are of course the practical advantages, for example at work I walk around with keys to various office and microscope room doors and having a small pocket somewhere is perfect to keep them handy. Not to forget my tissues have to be in there (I have a lot of allergies and I sneeze A LOT).
Besides the practical reasons, I just love the cozy feel of snuggling my fingers into some pockets on a windy autumn day. Why have to miss out on that cozy feeling when you're in a dress? I'm all for combining cuteness with comfort :)
BUT figuring out how to add these pockets to the dress was a real head scratcher. Where I put them on the dress and the style of the pockets themselves will completely change the feel of the dress. So I spent a lot of time thinking about all the options before I started.
I thought about putting them in the side seam. This is relatively easy, but looks nicest on a slightly wider skirt or a skirt with pleads. Another option is putting a vertical slit pocket on top of the front panel. This could also have worked, but I eventually decided to put them into the darts. 

Once I finally decided, I started by cutting in the darts to the size of the pockets. 

I wanted the pockets to be hidden, so I cut the front panel into three pieces: a middle and two thin strips on the sides. Cutting up the pattern like this will make it easier for me to get the finish I want on the pockets. 

A little tip for next time: don't sew the pockets first like I did! I did that before I decided to cut up the front panel, but it really just makes life unnecessarily difficult. If you don't do this, all you have to do is attach two pieces of the pocket to the two panels and then sew the pocket as you sew in the seam. 
In this case it was a bit more hassle and it took me some time before I figured it out. It finally worked when I put the pockets in reversed and sewed onto the side panels first. Then flipped it over and sewed on the middle panel. Pfew!

Yay :)

I have no zipper in this dress and I was a bit nervous that the seam around the waste would prevent the fabric from stretching and I wouldn't be able to get it on :S
A little trick is to stretch the fabric as you sew. If this is still too tight, you can sew in a thin piece of elastic in this same way. Luckily the first trick worked quite well already and I have no problem taking the dress on and off over my head :)

So far the bodice fits reasonably well and the skirt looks pretty good. I'm still a bit undecided on the pockets though. I am pretty happy with the how they turned out (especially because they were quite experimental ;)), but you do get that bulge at the tummy and that can be an issue when you fill it up with tissues and keys.. Also, adding the pockets turned this into more informal cocktail with a slight nonchalant feel to it. Not something I intended when I started, but I do like it!

Only a few minor adjustment left and I can take my new dress out for a drink! Most importantly, fixing the neckline (I started out with a larger pattern in part 1 and cut it too deep). Then the sleeves: I'm thinking flaring? Or maybe keep it a classic half-length?

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