Monday, 22 May 2017

New Look Fireworks Dress

I've had a picture of this dress in my head for ages, ever since seeing Rosa's beautiful floral dress last summer. I really liked the wrap front bodice and the way the dress looked so casually chic. The wrap bodice was from New Look 6123 which is now out of print, but I was lucky enough to track a copy down on eBay. I also had the perfect fabric in mind - a firework print Liberty Tana lawn.


The pattern has two different skirt options, both of which were a bit too formal for the kind of easy, summer dress I had in mind, so I substituted the skirt from another New Look pattern (6557) instead. The skirt is a half circle which I slimmed down by reducing the curve by 8cms and chopping 14cms off the midi length. The result is more of a quarter circle, not too full but still with a decent amount of swish. New Look patterns are generally a pretty good match for my body shape, but I still needed to make a few changes to get the fit I wanted.

My dress is View A with a quarter circle skirt

This particular pattern is cut quite generously at the bust (possibly because of the wrap style) but has very little ease at the waist. I ended up cutting a 12 at the bust and shoulders, grading to a 14 at the waist and lengthened the bodice by 1.5cm. I also took a 2cm triangular shaped wedge from the centre back pieces as the back neckline noticeably gaped on my muslin. Next time I'll raise the height of the front neckline as it's currently a bit plunging!


Construction wise, this was a reasonably straight forward pattern to sew up, though not necessarily a quick one. The bodice has really pretty pleats and gathers on one side, which took me a couple of goes and quite a bit of unpicking to get exactly how I wanted. The skirt waistline also ended up a little larger than the bodice waistline so I added two tiny tucks, which are barely noticeable amidst all the fireworks. The cap sleeves are self faced, the same as the sleeves on my Etta dress, in this case they're finished with an overlocker rather than bias binding. Not as neat looking on the inside, but sooo much quicker!

I contacted Rosa before starting work on the dress as I was worried about the bias cut front edges stretching out of shape. Her advice was to staystitch as per the instructions and use a strong interfacing. I used Washable Supersoft from English Couture - a medium weight interfacing with a soft finish - and it didn't do too bad a job. It doesn't sit as flat as I'd like, so I think it must still have stretched a tiny bit during construction. I also reinforced the centre back edges with strips of interfacing to prevent the fabric puckering when I inserted the invisible zip. With hindsight, I wish I'd lined the skirt section as it's a bit transparent by itself, easily sorted by wearing a slip though.


The Liberty lawn I used is very lightweight and floaty, but I still think it's a good match for this pattern. The colours in the print are a really lovely combination and I like the fact that it doesn't look like a typical Liberty design. The fireworks look like some kind of exotic flowers, reminiscent of 1930s and possibly 1970s prints. This will be such a nice dress for summer - casual enough to wear at home with flip flops and easily glammed up when required. I'm so pleased with it.

As I mentioned earlier, New Look 6123 is now out of print, but if you like the look of a wrap front dress, I've managed to find a few other patterns for wovens that look promising. These are: Sew Over It Eve dress, Vogue 9251, Vogue 8784, McCall's 6959 and Butterick 5898. Or if you have any other pattern recommendations, please share them in the comments. x






30 comments:

  1. What a great dress! The colour and style really suit you.

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    1. Thanks Sarah! It's a bit more casual than the dresses I've been making recently but I think it will be lovely for summer. x

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  2. This is lovely on you, both style and fabric. You've tempted me into buying another pattern! butterick 5898.

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    1. Oh good! I really like that Butterick pattern, especially the sleeveless version, now I've tempted myself! x

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  3. Great look! I love wrap dresses. I am tempted to search for this pattern. Your fabric selection is spot on! Beautiful!!!

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    1. Ah thank you. I like wrap dresses too and this one is nice because it's mock wrap so you don't have to get all tangled up trying to tie it! x

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  4. Beautiful dress! I love Liberty Lawn and this print is just gorgeous. I enjoyed reading your sewing process to get the result you were seeking! So innovative. Your love of sewing really shines through in this make Jane ;)

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    1. Thank you very much Kathleen 😀 xx

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  5. Very nice! Love the print too.

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    1. Thanks, I really fell for that print! x

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  6. Your dress is lovely! The fabric is especially gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, the fabric is extra special! x

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  7. Oooh me likee! I have this pattern, made it up yonks ago in a knit, and SORT OF liked it, but eventually got rid without ever wearing it much. It looks really good like this, maybe I need to dig it back out.

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    1. You should dig it out, you might be surprised - that's happened to me before and then a garment gets a second chance! x

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  8. I love this dress, Jane! The print does look retro, from this distance maybe chrysanthemums or even a fuschia plant. Anyway, it looks terrific on you. Great match of pattern and fabric!

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    1. It's a lovely print isn't it? I definitely think of it as a flower print rather than fireworks! x

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  9. This is one of my favorite patterns and it's so sad it went out of print. I'm glad I had the foresight to trace off my size.

    I LOVE THIS ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, that much! :)

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    1. THANK YOU! That means a lot - I've been stalking your blog constantly looking at all your lovely versions! x

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  10. Wow, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love it, will look super with red shoes too! I recently made a Mimi blouse in the same fabric ... yet to blog, I'm having a Mrs Durrell moment! I'm not blogging much but your posts forever keep me smiling and inspired. X

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    1. Ah thanks Amy, that's so lovely to hear! I'm wearing it today...with red shoes as it happens! Also, v belated thank you for the amazing xmas card/photo!! It took me a few minutes to work out who it was from...xxx

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  11. Love the way the firework print works with this dress. It looks fun but grown-up, too.

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    1. Thank you, that's what I was hoping! x

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  12. That is a beaut, I think I would suit that style too. Jo x

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  13. Jane I love this dress! I LOVE the side pleats, they are so elegant as they swoop across. And I love the skirt shape with that top. Beautifully balanced and put together.
    So if I may let you into the actual secret of getting your front lines to sit correctly. The chances are, those two edges wouldn't sit completely flat in that style anyway, as the bodice is negotiating its way over your bust. So it may need a teeny bit of easing to compensate. Not enough to be visible, but an inch or two of easing along the length of it can make a huge difference. So as well as stay stitching, you need to ease that stitching in, very gently. Pop it on and check it to see if it is right before lining or facing. Put the interfacing onto the inside layer - self lining or facing. You can add a 6mm woven cotton tape into the seam to keep it stable - with most of it in the seam allowance. Sew the seams from the waist to the back of the neck on each side so as to not stretch it out. If you've already made something that gapes, you can get back inside it and hand stich tape onto the seam allowance right up against the seam, easing it just the tiniest bit as you go. It works a treat. xo

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    1. Thank you SO much Maryanne, I'm going to bookmark this. Really, really helpful, thanks again. x

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    2. Yu're so welcome! This is one of the most useful skills you can get when it comes to fitting - after all we're not made of flat surfaces eh! ;-)

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  14. Now that's a beautiful dress! and as a French woman I think the colours wold be perfect for Bastille Day (especially with fireworks) :D
    Thnaks for sharing alternatives for this OOP, the bodice is just stunning!

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