This is my second version of the Colette Patterns Peony dress, which is in navy gingham. If you've read this post and seen this board on Pinterest, then you'll know I've got a serious crush on gingham - it just lifts the spirits completely, which is why it's the perfect dress to photograph on my sad "end of The Bridge" day.
|Sad face to start off with.....|
The fabric is a cheap-as-chips poly cotton, which my local fabric shop was selling off for £1 a metre in a closing down sale. The quality of the fabric was pretty shoddy and transparent, which is why I decided to underline it. Blimey, what a difference. From looking pretty sorry for itself and actually a bit grey around the edges, the gingham suddenly looks fresher, cleaner, whiter and quite frankly much more expensive, when coupled with a nice white muslin underlining. I'd highly recommend underlining a cheap fabric - as well as massively improving the appearance, it also gives the fabric much more structure and strength.
When I made my first Peony, I made quite a few adjustments to the back bodice, which still came out baggy due to the stretchy nature of the cotton pique fabric I used. This time though, my beautiful underlined gingham behaved itself and the bodice sewed up without a hitch - all my adjustments from the first time round working perfectly with a woven fabric. Fit-wise, this second version is more or less spot on, but I still decided on a few further tweaks to the overall pattern:
I reduced the width of the boat neck in order to hide my bra straps, and lowered the curve of the neckline by about an inch.
I added pleats to the skirt section rather than gathers, inspired by Beth's lovely version.
I eliminated facings in favour of gingham bias tape. This was used on the neckline and also on the sleeves. I blatantly copied this from Lauren whose own sleeveless gingham version of the Peony I adore. Here's her tutorial for using bias tape as a facing.
In a rare moment of forward planning, I also took a bit of time to try and cut the pattern pieces out to ensure the gingham lined up. It was MOSTLY a success and luckily it doesn't bother me too much if my makes aren't absolutely perfect. Considering how slapdash my method was, I think the lining up of the checks is pretty damn miraculous.
This could well become my favourite dress of the summer - it's comfortable, fits well and feels fab to wear because of the lovely underlining.