There is so much to love about the Geranium pattern. It has lots of mix-and-match options. The instructions are well-written and so detailed. I think this would be the perfect beginner pattern. There are lots of hints and tips. I enjoy a patten where the instructions are so well written that I can basically check my brain at the machine, listen to podcasts and relax while I sew. This pattern is one of those patterns. This time, however, I made a lot of modifications to this pattern, making it less relaxing and more of a creative challenge. I like that, too.
To start, I decided I wanted to cut this dress like the pretty-as-a-picture dress by Anna Maria Horner, framing the square dance panel in citrus in the center.
I used Anna Maria Horner's Pastry Line in Coral to frame the panel. I wanted to be sure that the stripes were all properly spaced in relationship to one another. I cut the 'frames' around the panel and the two pieces to form the back skirt as mirror images to one another, so all of my stripes were even.
For the bodice, I cut the stripes on the bias and joined them in the center front, adding 1/4" to the pattern so I could sew them with a 1/4" seam. I didn't fully trust my mathy way of figuring it out, so I actually basted half of the bodice onto the fabric before cutting it.
Because I wanted to highlight the center panel, I didn't want the panel to be as gathered as the rest of the skirt. So I cut the front skirt less wide than the back skirt. Also, when it came time to gather the skirt, I gathered the panel piece less than I gathered the the rest of the skirt. It's similar to the pretty-as-a-picture dress in that way - more gathering on the sides and back, less on the panel.
Boy, what a lot of mental gymnastics to ensure everything came out just right - and quite an undertaking too! Worst of all, I was very tight on fabric (again!) so I had be careful not to waste a single inch. Lots of sewers talk about being fabric-hoarders. I am the anti-fabric hoarder. I only buy fabric when I know exactly what I want to do with it. I almost always buy just what I need in terms of yardage.
I'm beginning to reconsider my approach!
After I had cut everything out, I decided I wanted to add side pockets. This is one of the Geranium dress options (skirt B), where the pockets are cut as part of the skirt. Because I had already cut out my skirt (skirt A), I used this tutorial to add side pockets. It was so easy and a nice touch.
I spent way too long deliberating over whether to add the notch to the bodice. I worried the voile might be too lightweight to keep the notched shape. Dan agreed. But then I simply could not resist and cut the notch anyway. I held my breath as I snipped into the fabric to reveal the notch after I had sewn it. I had spent so much time on this dress and I didn't have enough fabric to cut another bodice if I didn't like the result. (dun dun duuun)
I was so relieved and excited when the shape held perfectly. (Rae has a tip in the pattern on how to sew the notch so it holds its shape.)
I decided to hand sew the bodice lining rather than edgestitch or stitch in the ditch. I was listening to this really fascinating podcast on faith and doubt and had about a million pins in the bodice to secure the lining. I didn't want to mess with all of those pins under my machine. My hands are usually full, both literally and figuratively, and I don't get around to hand sewing much anymore. Iris was napping, the kids were outside building a bat house with Dan, so I cozied in with my podcast and slow stitches. An absolutely superb way to spend some time.
If you decided to hand sew your bodice lining, be sure to match your thread to your outer fabric. I used white thread to match my lining and had to separate the skirt from the lining, so my white stitches wouldn't show through to the front on the skirt.
And there you have it. My initiation into the geranium dress pattern.