I took about a year's break from making Olivia dresses, but my goal this year is to make another two or three that live up to my first one. I was so unsure about it when I made it, but it's now two years old and I still wear it constantly. Barring, say, an exercise class or a black tie gala, there's no occasion it's not appropriate for and it's also comfy enough to just wear for a day running errands or dossing around. None of my other versions have lived up to that - my three longer ones are too formal and the more recent sweater knit one is fantastic for everyday but I wouldn't go and get a swanky haircut in it.
This one is also not as versatile as the first one (though don't get me wrong, I really like it), and yet again it's the fabric that's the issue. For my ideal Olivia, I need a light but in no way transparent cotton jersey with a decent amount of stability and zero vertical stretch. This one isn't quite light enough; it's a bit bulkier than I'd like. I had the same issue with the sweater knit and the exact opposite issue with all the viscose jersey ones. This one is also extra bouncy which made the facing a huge pain in the neck (literally, I forgot to take a pin out. Ouch) and instead of hand stitching it down like I usually do, I've had to machine stitch it on whichever parts of the fabric were dark enough to hide it.
I did my standard Olivia alterations: use five different sizes across the various pattern pieces, shorten the skirt by literally half its original length, take the sleeves from full-length to just below the elbow. I've no idea why the sleeve alteration is so necessary; this is the fourth mini version I've made and every time I think "I'll keep the sleeves full-length this time, that will be warmer and less awkward" before looking at myself in the mirror and chopping the sleeves to this exact length. The full sleeves are absolutely fine on my longer versions, so it must be a proportion thing.
I probably won't wear this quite as often as my orange one, as the fabric is too thick to transition into summer, but I will wear it a LOT. The print and the colours are fantastic and perfect for an all-purpose dress. All-purpose dress for me, anyway. I'm not very good at jeans so I'm usually slightly overdressed, and most of my sewing plans are based around trying to hit "this is just what I look like" rather than "grossly overestimated the formality of this casual breakfast".
I'm going to experiment with putting a short summary at the end of my posts because a) I'm trying to keep track of fabric costs and b) I keep forgetting to put in information that might actually be useful. If there's another category you'd like me to include, please say so!
Named Olivia dress
Fabric: 2.5m of unidentified jersey from Fabric Land
Cost: This was a gift, but would have cost me £12.50 if I'd paid for it
Pattern details: Wrap dress with below-knee skirt and long sleeves. High wrap at the neckline, in-seam pockets which actually don't suck unless you're using viscose jersey
Size used: Five sizes, from 42 at the neckline to 50 at the bicep
Alterations: Substantially shortened skirt and sleeves (no FBA, just used a larger size at the bust)
Will make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes
Up next: Sierra jumpsuit, round two!