Friday 20 July 2018

Thumbs down for scuba stripes

This dress was never meant to be. I know exactly what I like garment-wise, and a dress made from striped scuba fabric with a pleated skirt has never been on my sewing wish list. Yet here it is. All because I saw a dress on Instagram, became a tiny bit obsessed with it and couldn't rest until I'd made one for myself. The making of it was relatively easy and straight forward. Whether or not I actually like the finished dress is another matter...

The original inspiration dress in question was this lovely Emery dress by Caz.

Hers was made from a striped ponte from Minerva that was no longer in stock. What was in stock (but not at the moment) was a similar looking striped scuba knit on sale at £7.99 a metre, so I bagged two metres to experiment with.

One of the things I liked about Caz's dress was the way the bodice and skirt stripes ran in different directions. The stripes on my scuba aren't as uniform as the stripes on Caz's ponte - there are several different sections of broad, medium and narrow stripes - so I knew there'd be a bit of head scratching to get them in the exact position I wanted. I ended up with the medium stripes across the main section of the bodice and narrower stripes at the top section. Much to my delight, I then jammily managed to continue the narrow striped section down the side of the sleeves (more or less). The skirt is a mixture of everything, but it can get away with it because of the vertical stripes.

Matching arm stripes (sort of!)
Pattern-wise I used the bodice from the Lady Skater dress as it's drafted for knits and fits me well, and the pleated skirt from the Mortmain dress. The only change I made was to shorten the bodice slightly - the original length ended up too far down from my natural waist and was causing a bit of rippling. It would probably have gone unnoticed in a solid coloured fabric, but the giant stripes really emphasised it. The whole dress was sewn on my overlocker, apart from the sleeve hems which I finished with a straight stretch stitch. The neckline is finished with a plain white neckband. The skirt hem has been left unfinished as I just preferred the look of it.

One giant gamble I took when making this dress was to cut it out without allowing for a zip. The Lady Skater pattern doesn't have a zip anyway as it's designed for knits and I simply removed the zip seam allowance from the skirt pieces  Because the scuba has a good amount of stretch to it, I can get the dress on without one, so the gamble paid off, yay!

There are lots and lots of positives about this dress, along with one big, giant negative - I don't think it's very 'me'. Maybe it's a stripe too far (can there be such a thing?!) and I don't really wear this shape of dress any more. Also, despite being easy to sew with and magically stretchy, I've come to the conclusion (a bit late in the day, admittedly) that I don't particularly like scuba as a fabric. The texture always feels a bit cheap and nylon-y to me and I couldn't wait to get the dress off after taking these photos!

I debated whether to even post this dress on my blog, but I think it's always good to see dressmaking fails as well as wins. I don't regret making it and it was a lovely, stress-free dress to sew. Sometimes it's good to sew something just to get it out of your system! x


Friday 6 July 2018

Lemon print skirt

I've had this gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana-style cotton (from Pigeon Wishes but no longer in stock) squirrelled away for over a year and have really taken my time deciding what to use it for. I already have a lemon print dress, which I wear quite a lot and is wildly popular with members of the public (I'm complimented on it virtually every time I wear it, which is lovely!) Because of this I figured separates would get a bit more wear than another dress, so decided to make a statement skirt. 

The pattern is the skirt section of the Mortmain dress by Gather, which is the same pattern I used for my first lemon dress. I think a large, bold print like this works particularly well with box pleats. Handily for me, Gather Kits have a blog post on how to make a Mortmain skirt from the dress pattern pieces, which is totally fool proof. The only thing I did differently was to swap the exposed zip for an invisible one. As you can probably see from the photos, I deliberately made the waistband more of a relaxed fit. I decided I'd rather forego the very neat, nipped in look of a perfectly fitted waistband for the comfort factor and ability to eat my dinner without feeling like I'm about to explode.

The skirt is fully lined with Venezia lining fabric which was a perfect colour match to the navy background. It was given to me as a gift from Jo Sews ages ago and is the loveliest lining fabric I've ever sewn with. I'm truly lamenting the fact that it doesn't seem to be available in the UK* (Jo lives in Brussels). Lining the skirt gives it a really nice weight and a bit of structure which I think is good with a pleated skirt. *EDIT: Hoorah, I've now discovered that Venezia lining IS available in the UK from here (Stone Fabrics) in tons of colours. Thank you so much to the readers who pointed this out.

As the print on this skirt is full on lemony, I made a new plain top specifically to wear with it. New Look 6217 is the pattern that keeps on giving and yet again it didn't fail me. I think this is now my sixth version of this top - I've given up blogging about them as I don't want to bore you all to death! You only need half a metre of 150cm wide fabric to make it and I used luxury crepe from Sew Over It which has a lovely drape. 

I really like the whole outfit, which works just as easily for daytime as it does for evening. I was actually wearing flip flops and heels to demonstrate this in the photos below, but my son didn't think to include my feet when he was taking them!

The skirt (and top) gets its first outing tomorrow at a party...I'll report back! x


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