Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sunshine sundress

Combining my preference for 1950s/1960s style dresses, my growing collection of appropriately aged patterns and a desire to replace an old yellow cotton sundress, I rustled up a new wrap around dress in a becoming shade of yellow.

Well, perhaps it's better to say that having thought I'd adapted the pattern suitably I started making the dress. On paper, it's a very simple design and very easy to put together. In reality, it's just a little more complicated.
The skirt was easy, the back of the bodice was easy, the front of the bodice was not.

Based on past experience I added 2 inches to the length of the bodice, only to discover that I really only needed 1 inch, for the simple reason that its not an empire line pattern and therefore the fabric doesn't need to hug the underside of my breasts.  Adding and removing those inches was easy.
What was problematic is the huge difference between my bust and underbust measurements and the fact my waist scoops upwards at the back. This means the side front bodice pieces that dip under the arm and then curl around to join at the back of the waist, pieces which gradually slop down actually leave the sides of the front bodice gaping by three inches on each side.

As I have no desire to flaunt my bra in public... 4 darts later, it started to fit a little better.

With that sorted, the rest of the dress should have been easy.
'Easier' is probably a better word to use. 
The reason is that I now had to match up the bodice with the skirt and ensure the waistline was straight. With uneven hips this was not quite as simple as it sounds. 
However it was managed with minimal fuss, if maximum pinning. 

With the waist line securely stitched in place and the edges nicely folded out of the way I was able to commence on the bias binding. 
Being a sun dress, I didn't want it to be lined, and I rather detest those little pieces that fake the beginnings of a lining. As a result, with the internal seams nicely overlocked, I bound the edges of the bodice and stitched them down producing a nice clean edge (previous attempts at bias binding didn't go so well so I've very happy with this outcome).

Interspersed with an eight week trip to Europe, by the time I got home the weather was right for wearing this dress so I decided it was probably about time to finish it. First decision was to remove some of the length. Despite being relatively tall, the dress is still ballerina length (mid calf) on me and in an Australian summer, something knee-length is far more tolerable. As a result I decided to remove 15cm from the hem.

Having lost and eventually found the bright yellow grosgrain ribbon I'd bought for the hem I was able to complete that exercise, leaving only the fixings to be accomplished.

As a wrap around dress, this can be accomplished with press studs, hook and eyes and/or more lengths of fabric in the form of ribbons.

I decided on trouser hooks for the internal front closure as these seemed smooth and simple enough for their location.

The back needed to be a little prettier though. Somehow I'd managed to ensure that the back wasn't perfectly symmetrical. Oh well. As the front didn't meet at the centre back I could get away with this and so decided on an eye-catching bow of the grosgrain and two hidden hooks and eyes for when the slippery bow didn't remain as tight as desired.

The lengths of ribbon are considerably uneven so I can wrap it around the waist (it is a wrap around after all) and still have enough for a pretty bow.

To keep the edges pretty and sealed I've singed them. Not sure it will work or last, but we'll see.


Firstly I don't look like Karlie Koss, or have the build of a runway model, so the finished product doesn't look quite like the illustration. But it works, is relatively comfortable and has a summery feel to it. As the summer here is now ending (at the time of posting, not finishing the construction) I'll have to wait until next summer to see how much wear I get out of it.

For a first attempt of this pattern I'm relatively happy with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...