Sometimes a dress starts with the idea of a dress, but sometimes it starts with the fabric. Back in July Fabric Warehouse had their semi-annual fabric sale, and I couldn’t help snapping up a length of this:
Isn’t it FABULOUS?
At the time I thought I’d make a full skirt (the friend I was with was slightly horrified that I’d make anything with the fabric and said “at least the print will be less obvious in the folds of a skirt), but when I tried skirt layouts, it just wasn’t working. So I looked for further inspiration, and hit on the dress I wore as a bridesmaid in Shell’s wedding. I love that dress – it’s fun to wear, strikes a nice balance between summer fun and professional, and works for almost any occasion. But…it’s cut for someone who is my size around and 4″ shorter than me. So I want to re-make it, but so it actually fits.
Which I sort of did.
The ‘sort of’ is because I was really sick and tired (and about to get a lot sicker) when I made the dress, and completely forgot about resizing it when I took the pattern off the old dress, so when I actually got to fitting, it was still cut for a petite woman. I made as many alterations as I could to get the fit right, but I had NO extra fabric, and there is only so much you can do.
But it’s still pretty cute, and I’m pretty happy with it. And the details are adorable.
I particularly like the bird over my heart (though I wish I’d had enough fabric to cut it so that it was the only bird on my bodice):
And the not-actually-exposed zipper. I’m not a fan of the current fashion for exposed zips (it just looks sloppy to me), but I love this finish, it’s very polished while still being industrial:
And most of all, my rainbow belt. I inherited a couple of lengths of pre-made belting from Nana, in completely random colour-ways, and this rainbow stuff was just the ‘pop’ that the dress needed. I still haven’t punched the holes & done grommets yet because my hole punch is out.
The bodice of the dress is fully lined in white cotton (anything fun and colourful showed through), all beautifully joined to the front zip and the back invisible zip:
I hemmed it with white bias hemming. I pulled every length I had in my stash out, laid them together, and was an inch and a half short. Dang! A rummage through my ‘short lengths of bias tape’ tin (honestly, that’s exactly what the label on it says) unearthed one more length, I joined it, and my hem was saved. Thank goodness for being so organized and keeping everything!
All the pictures were taken at my in-laws house in the beautiful South Island – they’ve been hosting Thanksgiving since Mr D and I got married to make me feel more at home, so I had a lovely time making pies with my MIL and slathering a turkey with half a kilo of butter and having dinner with the whole family, and then posing in their stunning garden with roses and goldfish ponds the next day.
And then I flew back to Wellington and got a horrible cold and spent 5 days feeling sorry for myself, so that wasn’t so fun. But yay, I’m getting a lot better!
Just the facts, Ma’am:
Fabric: 1.8m of Alexander Henry ‘Gemini’ cotton ($18 pm), .5m cotton voile for lining
Pattern: Self drafted, based off this dress (the one I’m wearing, not the wedding dress, though I made that too)
Year: early ’60s silhouette meets late ’60s inspired fabric meets 2011
Notions: Thread, one metal zip ($7.50), bias hemming, rainbow belting, metal buckle, bias binding.
First worn?: Friday 23 November (Thursday in the US) for Thanksgiving dinner
Wear again?: Yeah. I don’t love it as much as I wanted to, but it’s a good summer dress-up dress.
Make again?: Nah, I’ve got patterns I like better
And the insides?: Fully lined bodice, french seamed skirt = perfection.
Total cost: $34.50