Showing posts with label summer dress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer dress. Show all posts

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Simplicity 2460 - A girl's dress

I bought the fabric I used for this dress with no idea what I was going to use it for; It was £2 a metre on the market, from a stall full of £2 a metre poly cottons and £2. 50 metre viscose. Being a fan of purple, pink and creeepy crawlies  I knew my daughter would love the ladybird print so I bought two yards and a nine inch invisible zip and into my stash it went.

My daughter really loved the black and white dress

Simplicity 2460 came free with Sew Magazine last month and predictably my daughter loved the picture on the envelope and asked if I would make it for her. I was a bit apprehensive as it is an inspired by Project Runway pattern and reading the envelope it seemed very complicated with choosing 'design elements' and adding up the yardage nevertheless I decided to give it a go.

It is a very pretty dress, it has options for a pleated or gathered skirt and two bodice options. I went for the tie shoulder strap bodice and despite having never sewn pleats, the pleated skirt. I knew this was probably the more difficult option but it was the one my daughter preferred and after all she will be the one wearing it.

My daughter is four almost five and usually wears a size five to six in ready to wear clothes so I decided to cut a size five knowing it would be slightly big but I hope this means it will last two summers. This is important to me as living in the Midlands and only holidaying in the UK we don't tend to get must wear from a sundress in one year. Being a bigger busted lady it is lovely to be able to cut a pattern out and not have to make any adjustments, it is probably one of my favourite things about sewing for the children.

Having decided which options to go for and cutting out the fabric I got to sewing, to be honest I found it more difficult than I expected. At one point having stitched all the straps, midriff section and waist tie I couldn't make sense of what I had at all; holding it up it looked more like a jellyfish than a dress bodice. Setting it aside and beginning on the skirt didn't make things much better as I said I had never made a pleated skirt and the instructions just said 'form pleats' so I had a guess. I folded the pleat along the fold line and then sort of opened it out more like a box pleat than I think it should have been that said the dress looks lovely on so maybe I did do it right. I did change the zip from a standard one to an invisible as I think they look much nicer, at least they do when I insert them.

Showing my slightly different pleats to the envelope - and vintage (can I call the nineties vintage ?) trim.

A little big as you can see but that means it will last, right?

My daughter was very keen on the trim pictured on the envelope, as it turned out she also like a pink lace that had been in my sewing box for nearly twenty years since I had been bought a stocked sewing box as a Christmas present. The lace matched the fabric almost perfectly and I think finishes the dress really nicely. I love to see my daughter wearing the sort of thing I think of as a proper little girls dress.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Jumping in.

Although this is my first post I thought I would jump straight in by discussing a make, but first a quick word about me, I am Vicki I have a tiny sewing room in the cupboard under my stairs - hence my blog's name. I mostly sew clothes for myself but also a few bits for my children and the occasional thing for the house.

So now onto my make!

New Look 6020 on my dress form (dialed up to my old size)

I have always liked simplicity/new look patterns and my dressmaking skills until recently only went as far as sleeveless sundresses (that usually didn't fit- something to do with the previous 6 inch difference, now down to a more sensible 4, between my high and full bust and my total ignorance of patterns being cut for a B cup). So anyway last year I discovered the existance of the FBA (full bust adjustment) and a whole new world of sewing opened itself up to me.

I decided to stick with what I knew for my return to dressmaking and after much deliberation I chose New Look 6020. In hindsight that was probably where I went wrong as it has a princess seamed bodice.  I traced the pattern onto paper and got cutting,  I went for view D in a size 16 as at the time it matched my high bust and the neckline the most flattering for my previously vast bust.

Having read every FBA tutorial I could find I got out my pencils and ruler... big mistake I decided I wasn't going to let the fact that the pattern piece I had looked nothing like the ones in the tutorials. Looking back I should have realized it was never going to work but carried on regardless. I wish I had kept the result to show you but suffice to say the armhole had changed from a gentle curve to a very acute angle and when I pinned the pieces together it was 6 inches bigger round the waist than I needed.

Feeling disheartened I abandoned not only the dress but dressmaking entirely; I spent the next few weekends looking for a dress like the one I had imagined when I bought the pattern.  Predictably the dress didn't exist.

I got out my pattern and pencils and tried again completely  ignoring anything I had read and using my limited knowledge of patterns to measure out 3 inches at the bust point, freehand a curve from the size 16 line through the point and back to the line on the bodice side. I then added 3 inches to the bottom of the bodice front, I know that isn't the recommended way of doing it but it actually worked really well and added nothing to the waist.

All the sewing pretty much went according to plan, despite my machine not being the best in the first place and in desperate need of a service. I have to admit I struggled with the zip although it went in it is far from perfect and if it wasn't for the fact it is at the side hidden by arm the dress probably wouldn't be wearable.

At the time the fit ended up ok, it was good around the back and bust, the neckline was flattering and was roomy enough around the hips.  It was too tight on the waist I certainly couldn't have eaten in it and the length isn't right.

A year on it fits nicely around the waist but is far to gappy around the bust, I won't be able to wear it as it is which is a shame because I like the fabric (cheapy ebay stuff) and the fact the shoulders are wide enough to cover my bra straps; it might make a reappearance if I can figure out where to adjust it. I am considering chopping the bodice of entirely and adding a black waistband, as I can see it as a nice skirt worn with a sleeveless shirt.

I shall always be fond of this dress though whatever happens to it, it was the first thing I made without advice from my Mum or Nan, the first thing I adjusted to fit me and it was enough inspiration to buy a new sewing machine and dedicate the cupboard under the stairs to sewing.  So when the urge strikes I don't have to dig out the machine and clear the table.