I found this border print a couple of years ago during a forage through the clearance bins at JoAnn. I find the best stuff on clearance there, and I only shop during 50% off red tags time, so it's always a steal! I hoarded it away until I could decide on the perfect border-print-friendly pattern to use, and finally landed on Simplicity 2177. As per usual, the pattern envelope is meh, but there are a couple of nice renditions of this dress on Pattern Review, so I decided to go for it.
I draped the fabric onto my dress form to decide how to go about placing the pattern on the bodice area, and decided to rotate the weird bust dart out to the side in order to preserve the continuity of my circle pattern. The pattern would have the bust darts coming out from the center triangle inset, but I decided that would have done strange things to the design there.
A few other sewists have commented on the pointiness of the darts placed as the pattern was drafted, and I definitely also experienced that in the muslin stage, so I was more than happy to make that alteration to my finished dress.
I did make some effort to match the pattern in strategic locations, but I wasn't always 100% successful. I'm pleased with how things came out on the bodice, and the bottom hem is as good as it gets (easy to do with straight lines to follow), but I couldn't have it all- I decided it was more important to match the pink circle on the bottom hem in back than worry about the rest.
This was an entirely stash-built dress, which I'm quite happy to report! I did buy a navy zipper, but the facings and the seam finishes were all things that I had around that just happened to match quite nicely. The green slinky poly stuff I used for facings and pocket bags is leftover from my Cambie lining, and it is something that has been in my stash for at least a decade to begin with. It's nearly gone now (finally)!
I used a whole variety of seam finishes in this dress, depending on what and where. The seam allowances are mostly just serged, but I turned-and-stitched the allowances around the triangle inset. I hand catch-stitched the bias binding to the armholes because I don't really like the look of topstitching there and couldn't decide what color thread to use.
I had just enough of some thrifted vintage lace hem binding to finish the hem. I haven't seen this kind in modern stores- it's pre-folded and a bit narrower than the similar lace hem binding that you can find at the big-box sewing stores.
My final labor of love was hand-picking in the lapped zipper, which I did just because I couldn't bear the thought of top-stitching breaking up the print on the back. The bonus was that it made it a lot easier to ensure that all the circles lined up that way!
As far as fitting went, it was pretty straightforward. I made my usual big-4 size 12, and only had to make up a couple bodice muslins to pinpoint the dart placement. I ended up taking out a bit of width across the back to eliminate some gappage back there- which is a modification that I find that I always have to make but never have the foresight to do it at the pattern level. In this case I just folded a deeper seam allowance at the zipper from the neckline to waistline, and it's much better. It's still a little wide, but really the best I could do at that point in the construction process.
Overall, I'm very happy with how this one came out! I almost wore it a second time during MMM, but I've been on the lookout for some navy flats and haven't come across the right pair yet. The pinkish/silver metallic ones I wore in the first photo above are a good enough match, but they rub my heel wrong if I have to walk too far in them so they're not my first choice.
I think this pattern would be fun in a stripe to really play up the bodice detail, and it actually even looks great in plain fabric too. I like that the skirt isn't too full, and the pockets are a hit, of course. I think this one will got lots of wear this summer outside the office, where I can wear it without a sweater and with a cute pair of sandals.
And apologies to those of you who might have an ounce of nautical knowledge, which I clearly do not possess. I called it Ships Ahoy! because the pattern inside the circles reminds me of those flags that they use on sailboats. And the color combo is totally Hamptons chic, don't you think? It just reads nautical to me. Also Ships Ahoy! is almost like Chips Ahoy! and mmmmmm... cookies!