My love for Echino is boundless. I bought 3 yards of the bird fabric in 2010 to make a dress. I dutifully prewashed and then it sat in the stash because I was too afraid to mess it up. When Colette Patterns announced their Laurel contest a light went off in my brain that the simple shift pattern would be the perfect match for this print.
I traced the size 0 grading to a 2 at the waist and went to work on a muslin. I shortened the dress by one inch, removed some of the sleeve cap ease, lowered the armholes, widened the sleeves, and I realized after construction that my shoulder-to-bust length is longer than the pattern because the armholes and bust darts are still a little too high. so i added some length to that area for next time. i'm not sure if i like the extra width at the waist. it is comfortable but i think i probably could've gone with the 0 at the waist and it might be a little more slimming. I very carefully matched the pockets. they are purely decorative since they are too small to put my hands in. I almost left them off but I think they add a nice touch. I wish the dress had more of the dark purple at the bottom, but I wanted the birds to sit around hip level and this is what i get for being 2 feet tall.
I don't do invisible zips, so i installed a centered zip using the technique in Power Sewing. it looks very nice, but next time i will simply trace 1/4" away from the seamline to mark the topstitching rather than using scotch tape. the only tape i had was 3/4" and i had to stitch through the tape, which made removal a nightmare. i think it took me 30 minutes just to get all the little bits of tape off.
I used quilting cotton for the bias binding and handstitched it and the hem. it really does make a lovely finished look, though slipstitching will never be my favorite thing to do.
i quite like this dress, enough so that i'm planning to make another one for summer. The pattern is very simple and ripe for variation. I would highly recommend it, as long as you're willing to make adjustments for fit.