Gertie’s Zipper Front Dress Review

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And spring has arrived! After two weeks of chilly, wintery weather, the balmy spring days have returned. Which is fitting considering that yesterday, March 20th, was the first official day of spring. I know there will probably be several more cold days, but I am so excited to see those days becoming less and less. Today I have one of my top favorite dresses that I have ever made for myself. It is the zipper-front dress from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

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Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I made a version of this pattern previously. Unfortunately, as adorable as that dress was, it didn’t fit me as comfortably as I would have liked. It was pretty snug over the bust, and the cap sleeves were so tight they cut into my arms rather painfully after wearing it for a full day. Despite it’s flaws, that dress was one of my favorite things to wear. I always knew I would make another, better fitting, variation of it, it was just a matter of finding the time.

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The main reason I didn’t do an FBA on the first zipper front dress was due to the fact that the bodice pattern piece for this dress is a combination of the front and back. I’m not sure if I can explain this clearly enough, but the bodice front and bodice back are joined together at the shoulder seam. You cut out two of those pieces, sew the bodice back seam, and your bodice is ready to go. The different style of pattern combined with angled side darts left me bewildered on where to even start with adjustments. I decided to just sew it up as is, and see how things turned out. The finished dress fit, but only just.

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With this version, I knew I needed to make some changes in order to wear it comfortably. I fudged an FBA, (Don’t ask me how!) and added width to the sleeve and side seams. I also found with the original dress that the facing and collar made the dress dig into the back of my neck. I left off the collar entirely and added a lining to replace the facing. I originally used a straight size 6, but I’m not sure what size I ended up with after the changes. (I have found when using Gertie’s patterns that it is best to go up at least one size from what you think you should be. They all run a little small.)

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Combining all these adjustments, the dress turned out splendidly! I used a lovely linen-like fabric from my stash. It was a dream to work with. The stitches seemed to sink into the fibers, and it sewed up as smoothly as a quilting cotton. This aqua-teal color is not something I have ever worn before, and I find it so cheery and flattering. Plus, it is such an appropriate color for the season.

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The funny thing is, after finishing this dress, I already have at least two more planned! One in an identical type of fabric that is a peachy, salmon pink, and one in a cherry red cotton with white daisies scattered over it. It is such a practical dress! Most of my dresses have center back zippers, which means my long suffering husband has to help me get it zipped past that weird, impossible-to-reach spot on my back. With this style, it is a breeze to just toss it on and go!

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Also, I made at least two versions of the dress for my sister-in-law a couple of years ago. She was nursing at the time, and they were extremely convenient for her. Much nicer than dealing with pesky buttons while trying to feed a crying baby! If I ever have the good fortune to become pregnant and end up being able to nurse, I will definitely be making use of this pattern.

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A quick note, I have been making a few adjustments to my blog. If you notice some things changing over the next couple of days, that is why. Hopefully I can figure everything out as soon as possible so the blog doesn’t look totally different every half hour or so!

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Have a jolly day!

~Emily

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