I stumbled upon the Marbella dress and loved it immediately. Something about the boat neck, the yoke and the pleats drew me to it- very classy looking! Check out all the Marbella dresses on the Marbella blog tour... lovely!
Marbella is the first pattern from a new designer, Itch to Stitch. I like that the pattern has different cup sizes to help with the fit- pretty cool! I found the PDF pattern a bit different that normal in how you piece it together- the pieces were not numbered how I expected. Also, sometimes I had a little bit of trouble figuring out which notch went with each size, but not the end of the world. The instructions were pretty great, I think, with steps for full lining and just a yoke lining included.
I made a couple changes to the pattern: 1) I lengthened the skirt by two inches and 2) I ended up using the front skirt as the back skirt, also. I found the back of the skirt to be a bit, ahem, snug, even though there was plenty of room in the front, so I decided to mirror the tulip-style/pleated front in the back. I used the front pattern piece, but didn't cut it on the fold. I added a bit of seam allowance to the zip area like there was in the original back skirt. I had to mess with the back pleats a little bit to get them to line up with the back bodice darts, but it worked out pretty well and gave me the extra room I needed. I kinda like the symmetry of it, too.
For some reason I had a lot of trouble with the princess seams. I sewed them two or three times, but never got them as smooth as I wanted. Not sure if it was user error, but it's a bit ripply in the chestal region. Sigh.
Also, this may be because I had to rip the skirt off after I sewed it on with the original back piece, or it might just be the fit of the dress, but I found the waist to be a bit loose, which makes me look a bit boxy. It might be that I just stretched it out, but it might be that I need to grade down a size in the waist.
To sum up: while it's not perfect, I still think it's a very wearable dress and has lots of potential. I particularly like it with a blazer for work... good stuff!
Ug, need my photographer to get back into town!