Sunday, 26 July 2015

a psychedelic summer dress

I finished my psychedelic summer dress before we went on holiday and chances are that I am wearing it as you read this. Scheduling is great! I am now enjoying the hot sun in Cornwall. Or I might be huddled up in the caravan, woolly socks and all. The guess is yours.

After making a rather ill fitting dress a few weeks ago, I was slightly weary of making another one. Alas, it is apparently best to climb back on the horse straight away when you fall off and I went ahead, possibly a little overconfident. I had practiced sewing knit fabric and felt happy with that, too. Knit fabric is a little more forgiving than linen, which I used last time. A good chance for a reasonably well fitting dress. There was of course a danger that a knit dress might just accentuate my Michelin rolls but it was a chance I was prepared to take.

I found the pattern via the Curvy Sewing Collective, where curvy women review a great many patterns. The pattern is The Lady Skater Dress by KitschyCoo. I thought the dress would suit my shape. I have two similar knit dresses I bought from Boden ages ago which fit me well, adding to my boundless confidence. I bought fabric at MyFabrics, an online shop. They stock a huge range of plain and funky knit fabrics. I am a funky girl and went for funky fabric. Of course I did.



The pdf pattern was a doddle to stick together (unlike some). It was a little more tricky to fit all pattern pieces onto my fabric, although I did buy the recommended amount for my size. I was left with hardly any fabric, which is good of course and nobody heard my cursing as I tried to fit the pattern pieces on the fabric. I did my usual practice sewing piece with some leftover fabric, using different stitches, pressure and tension to determine the best combination for this particular fabric. I find this is a very useful exercise. It is not easy to unpick stitches on knit fabric.

The dress is constructed very simply and consists of a bodice, sleeves (different options) and a skirt. I had enough fabric for the cap sleeved version only. The pattern instructions are excellent. There is a fully illustrated tutorial for beginners and an abbreviated one page summary for experienced seamstresses. I used the fully illustrated tutorial because I like images to guide me through a process. Every last detail was explained very well. Top marks!


Here is the top stitched neckband on the outside...


...and on the inside. You can see the top stitching line, which is a long normal stitch, and the stretch stitch, which is a slightly distorted zig zag stitch.




It took quite a while to sew the dress, mostly because I was otherwise busy. I did a little every day. I evidently chose the wrong bodice size despite following the measuring instructions carefully. I am glad I followed the suggestion and quickly basted the bodice together for good reasonable fitting. I had to take the bodice and sleeve in by about 4 cm down to just under the bust. Should have made a toile. I guess I have one now! I would definitely shorten the bodice by at least 5 cm next time. Maybe even cut the dress in one piece, depending on the pattern on the fabric, to avoid pattern matching dramas.


So there you are, a finished dress that fits reasonably well. It looks a bit sad on the hanger. It does look nice on me. I do really like it and I am sure it will get plenty of wear.

I could have finished this dress a lot quicker with an overlocker. With my trusted old sewing machine, I sewed the seams and then finished those with a mock overlock stitch. I completely failed with the twin needle, which I wanted to use for the hem. Whatever I tried, there were skipped stitches and the fabric bunched up in the back. I tried all the tricks from the trouble shooting guide plus some of my own with no success. I used a stretch twin needle, too. I used a normal stretch stitch instead.

And now, for the photo shoot. Whilst I really like the dress, I just don't have model proportions. Honestly, Annie took about a million photos, none of which pleased me. Cue a lot of eye-rolling and sighing. A knit dress allows for the body to settle in comfortably, bulges do show. I don't mind that so much as I waddle along the road but even my confidence has limits. In then end I did some drastic tummy sucking-in, breath-holding, hand-placing and torso twisting to hide the worst. I am actually blue in the face on this photo but I'll spare you that sight. I didn't manage a whole body shot because by then Annie had lost interest and it was just me, the self timer and limited options to place the camera safely.






What do you think? Are the colours too crazy or just right? You might see this dress again when I write about our holiday. 


Bye for now! Christina xx

27 comments:

  1. I mus say on the hanger it didnt look anything but seeing it on with the few shots you have shown it looks lovely I do like the fabric its bright and funky :-)

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  2. love it! Well done. I can not for the life of me see one Michelin roll! Fab fabric too. Oh for summer here.

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  3. I love the bright colours, I am a great fan of bright clothes. The dress looks wonderful even on the hanger, well done. Hope fully you are having a great holiday and the weather is good.

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  4. Funky indeed! I can't see any Michelin rolls either! xx

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  5. It looks great, the colors are so summery, even on a rainy day.

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  6. That dress is terrific! I love the funky colours, and it looks wonderful on you. I have had similar experiences with getting pictures taken when I ask my family members, too. You would think they were being tortured.

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  7. That looks lovely! I will look out for you :)

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  8. It's a lovely dress. I love the colors and the pattern. You are such an accomplished seamstress. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful vacation.

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  9. I'm loving the funky fabric, and the dress looks fantastic, honestly.

    I'm also hoping that you are enjoying much better weather than we are ... Wales is cold and wet.

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  10. The dress is fantastic, I love the fabric pattern - it says warmth and fun and summer to me. You look fabulous in it. I hope the rain we are currently "enjoying" is giving Cornwall a miss. xx

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  11. Well I think you look absolutely fantastic. Flat bellies are highly overrated, although I would like to find out what one feels like. The dress is bright, fun comfortable and it fits, HOORAY!
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  12. You should just show the finished dress, Christina, because it looks fab and no one would ever know that you'd had any trouble with it at all! I have the Lady Skater pattern but haven't been brave enough to try to make it yet. Yarn? I just dive in. Fabric? I can't get past dipping my toes in the water. One day, eh? Hope you have a fab holiday! xx

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  13. Christina... It looks fantastic on you and the little you have shown of you looks fantastic too. Real woman, real lovely curves and a fabulous dress!

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  14. Brilliant fabric and you look great! Hope you are enjoying your holiday.

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  15. I love the patterned fabric and it looks great on you - I think it's really flattering :) Hope you're having a wonderful holiday x

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  16. I love it!!! The fabric is fantastic, the dress is fantastic and most of all you look fantastic in it - or should I say, it looks fantastic on you! Well done on tackling the stretch fabric, not the easiest I imagine, so I think that makes it even better!! Hope your hols are fantastic too! xx

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  17. I love the fabric and the dress looks like it suits you very well, I imagine a great colour with you having dark hair. I can't help laughing at your descriptions of yourself holding breath/ twisting round etc to get a photograph. I totally sympathise, all I ever do is think how fat I look in all my clothes and go to some lengths to avoid wearing anything that clings to the 'wrong' bits! Hope you are having a fantastic holiday X

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  18. I really love the dress - the colours and the psychedelic print. I know what you mean about photos! I recenlt did a post about my new crocheted top with photos my husband had taken. It was very difficult to find any photos to use that didn't make me look very big or very stupid.

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  19. I love it and I think it looks great on you. The photos are good too. You have a lovely, girlish figure. :)

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  20. It's very in to be bright this year. I love skater dresses and this one looks really useful.

    And Michelin rolls? Everybody has them, but yours are looking good!

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  21. Well done, Christina! I am glad you stuck with it! It fits you very well and it looks like you have mastered sewing with knit fabrics. I like the print a lot! If you can't wear funky colours in summer, when can you!? Have a great weekend!

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  22. Love the colours! I don't think I've ever taken a photo of myself and wouldn't know where to start. You have the hand on hip pose of the young(er) ones on Facebook. They all seem to adopt that pose automatically! Hope you're having the sunny version of your scenarios.

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  23. Beautiful dress, and I love the fabric! The brightness and the pattern are perfect together, I'm a bit obsessed with it!

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  24. After all the fawning comments I'll be the honest one - yes the colours are too crazy. Not a good look.

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  25. Ignore Anonymous - colour is a personal preference! I don't like your dress but that's because I hate pink and red (always have done) so the colours are not for me. I'd never wear it in those colours but that's my personal preference. Putting my own preferences aside, I think you've done a great job making the dress and I don't think it's too crazy - it looks absolutely fine and if you like the colours, the pattern, the dress, that's all that matters. I'd wear something like this if it involved purples, oranges, greens... That'd probably look even crazier, haha! You've had far more positive comments than negatives so don't let Anon get to you - we all have own opinions and preferences.

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  26. It's gorgeous, your sewing skills are so much better than mine. Enjoy wearing it!

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  27. Well I love it and the finish you have on the neckline is superb. It is tricky to do that with stretch fabric. Well done you. Wear it proud and loud I say! Jo x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx