A wiggle dress years in the making


Have you ever had a garment on your mental "to sew" list so long that the very thought of sewing it becomes a chore? Shouldn't that dress already be hanging in the closet?  I've thought about sewing it so many times that it should have a corporeal form at this point. "Ta Da, I magiced this dress into to my wardrobe with my mind. It's amazing!!!!" - is what I'd like to be able to say. Instead I have to mutter, "Where did my scissors disappear to for the 40th time?  Oh they're under my butt...once again. Guess I have to make this dress now." *Heavy Sigh*
This might only be a problem for those of us who suffer/embrace the "Ooooo something shiny!" form of sewing planning. Once a pattern loses its shiny new patina it turns into work instead of fun. Those of you who are serious planners will have to let me know if you get tired of old plans eventually. Maybe you have a stronger work ethic towards the sewing list than I. If my sewing list isn't an open ended one like FESA then I'm more likely to sew something completely unplanned. I don't play by anyone's rules, not even my own. ;)

Enough about plans, let's get to the point of this post, the Gertie Wiggle dress from her first book. When I saw her green sample of this pattern it was love at first sight and I immediately preordered the book. Sometimes you know a pattern is going to look good on you just by looking at a photograph. When my copy arrived excitement was running so high that I did a very stupid thing when starting this project. I failed to consult the size chart for the patterns. Who knows what I was thinking at the time. More likely no thinking was actually involved in the decision, "I'm usually a 14 in patterns so I'll trace that one."
Spoiler, my measurements correspond with the size 8 in the Gertie book ,so my size 14 muslin was wrong in every possible way. Not only was it too big in the circumference, the torso and height seemed to be for a much taller/longer torsoed person than me.  The last thing I felt like doing was starting from scratch and tracing a new size.  Instead I moved on to the Shirtwaist dress pattern which turned into a nightmare of fitting alterations. That was enough to make me gun shy and the book went back to the bookshelf not to be opened again for quite a while.
Clearly those sewing traumas weren't enough to put me completely off the wiggle dress pattern. After letting it marinate for 2 years I finally traced the correct size 8 and muslined it up. To my surprise the dress fit almost perfectly straight from the "envelope." Who would have thunk it? In the end this was a super easy pattern to sew up with great results.

I did find two drafting errors on the size 8
- The front torso is 3/4" longer than the back.  I double checked the trace lines 3 times to make sure that the problem wasn't me blending different sizes. Nope, that sucker does not match up if you walk the seam line. My solution was to remove this extra length in the front so that the seam lines did match. I was lucky that this torso length also matched my body.

- The slash lines for the gussets are not the same length on the front and back. The slash lines on the back are longer and seem to fit the gusset size better. I made the front slash lines the same length and this worked fine for me.

So yeah, I'm still a little iffy about the drafting of patterns in the book. On this dress it was just some easy to fix errors that didn't impact my sewing enjoyment. Still that doesn't make me feel super confident about trying a different pattern. Will it be an easy to adjust project or will it end with me futilely trying to adjust the pattern for a completely different body type than what it was drafted for?  Who knows! To be honest I might just stick with Gertie's Butterick line, since they seem to have the standard Big 4 issues that I know how to handle. (Feel free to laugh at me when I sew another pattern from this book.)

The Wiggle Dress from "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing."

Fabrics used
Black cotton/linen? with a silver metallic lace design screen printed on top.

Pattern changes/alterations
- The height of the neckline is very choke inducing. I lowered mine about 5/8".

- Like on my Joan dress I put on the muslin and liked the length of the unhemmed sleeves and skirt.  1 1/4" of additional length was added to both the sleeves and the skirt.

- As previously mentioned I pinched out 3/4" on the front bodice only as it was drafted longer.

- Front gusset slash line was lengthened by a 1/4"

- The only thing tricky about sewing the pattern is putting in the sleeve gussets. Since I had two Advance 9441's under my belt I figured it wouldn't be all that tricky this time. Wrong. The gusset seam lines are drawn differently on the two patterns.  On the Gertie wiggle dress the seam lines are much straighter and closer together. I found this a lot harder to sew than the large and curved lines of the Advance pattern. (Photo comparison -Wiggle dress on the left, Advance 9441 on the right.)
Obviously I persevered and managed to sew all 4 gussets without giant puckers or leaving holes near the points. There was just a little more cursing at the sewing machine than usual.

- Just wanted to note that with the gussets the kimono sleeves are very close fitting. My upper arms just fit in there so you "may" need a width adjustment if that's an area where you carry weight.

- Confession, I did not reinforce these particular gussets.  My fabric felt sturdy enough to get along without extra organza added.

Husband Comment
"It looks nice on you and I like the baseball sleeve.  Hey is that fabric cracking?"

My Final Thoughts
Despite my continued reservations about the patterns in "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing," I'm glad that this pattern got sewn up. After all it was my fault the first time for not consulting the size chart and muslining a wildly inappropriate size. If you have a similar figure to mine, you'll find it an easy pattern to fit and not much harder to sew. Just get those gussets under your belt and the rest is smooth sailing.  This pattern is certainly a sexy number but it's also surprisingly comfortable to wear.  I feel like it has just the right amount of ease to show off your curves while still letting you move around like a normal person.  So if you like to gamble a bit with your sewing then this pattern might be for you. Just don't gamble with good fabric, muslin, muslin, muslin.  I SEE YOU IGNORING ME! :P Oh well, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.  See you guys next month with hopefully the last of my FESA list finished. I might have to stay up late to get that beret knit. Do you think Froggie would knit it for extra cookies?

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