The lesson to be learned from this project would be to not leave a garment unfinished for too long time, or if you do, at least keep some record of your seam allowances and fitting adjustments. On the other hand, a project which has problems may look surprisingly promising again after some time has passed... Just prepare to having some work with it!
story begins, as often happens, with aimless wandering in
the fabric store. This time it was a cotton print from
Laura Ashley that caught my eye. I already have a blouse
of the same lovely toile print in mauve, and this blue and
white one was clearly meant to become a summer dress. I
was stupid (or seemingly wise) enough not to grab it at
once, having other more urgent projects at hand, and the
next time I went there there was none left. Luckily they
still had some in another store of the same chain – when I
found the fabric I had already given up hope for, I could
not possibly leave it there, right?
At first I thought to combine different materials for the dress (light denim perhaps) and maybe throw in some lace. Then I wanted something a bit 50's inspired with big skirt and perhaps tiny puffed sleeves. I also planned to make a wide, corset-like belt in darker blue.
|As the fabric is not a bit elastic I cut the waist rather loose. According to my big skirt plan I cut the skirt pieces very full and beginning to widen almost just below the waist. The center front and back are cut in one piece all the way, but the side pieces have a seam at the waist to save material. The seams disguise in the uneven pattern very neatly, however. I thought I had plenty of material, so I tried to carefully place the details of the print neatly and preserve larger pictures intact, in the skirts too. The front turned out very nice, but as I realised I was running out of material after all I had to cut the back pieces so that the pattern forms vertical lines. And when it was time for the fitting, that was the least problem...|
My pedantic habit of making
quick mock ups might have saved trouble this time too. For
the first thing the bodice was way too large, especially
at the waist. The material was thin but rather stiff, so
the extra width looked bad. The wide belt might easily
hide that, but as I tried on a strip of material to get an
idea how the belt would look like, I began to have doubts
about it too. And the skirt, which was quite wide at my
hips, looked terrible. A super fluffy ruffle petticoat
might of course make it look nicer, but I was not sure
about that either anymore. I tried to pin some of the
fullness into pleats, which helped a little. I even begun
the ruffle skirt/lining, but as I was left with the
impression of a really badly fitting and generally boring
dress, and also had more urgent projects to finish, the
dress ended up in a plastic bag in the closet.
I had lost some weight, so I
had to take in even more than I had thought. This time I
was not so fond of the big skirt idea any more, but had a
vision of a rather simple summer dress instead. I didn't
really want to cut so much away from the skirt seams, so I
put the extra width in the hips into large pleats on the
seams, only taking some off from the side seams. It worked
fairly well. I also cut the hem a bit shorter to get a
more easy, relaxed feel to the dress.
I made mock up piece for the
puffed raglan sleeves, but my first version looked so
boring I decided to leave the sleeves and do just shoulder
straps instead. Simple straight straps would have been so
easy, but of course I got it into my head to shape them a
bit. At last I got more or less the shape I wanted, and by
that time I wanted to shape the neckline a bit too. At
this point I had to decide between adding a lining or not.
The material was quite tightly wowen and surprisingly
non-transparent for a thin white fabric, but then again, a
lining is always the safe option.
The piece of cotton batiste I
had originally bought for the lining turned out to be too
short (as I had planned to make the big ruffles on the
hem), but I cut as long lining as I could, planning to add
a flounce later. Cutting the lining had one slight
problem, however, and that was that I had no idea anymore
what seam allowances I had used for the neckline, or how
many times I had altered the bocide fit in total and how
much and where – I had marked some of my changes on the
patterns but probably not all. Comparing the pattern to
the dress which might have already stretched a bit on the
fittings was not a fool-proof method either. In the end,
with some guessing, I managed to cut the lining which
happily seemed to fit in nicely enough.
As the dress was so very simple now, I wanted at least some detail apart from the pattern, so I made little shaped straps that can be tied on the shoulder straps forming scarf-like bow details. They also work to fasten the bra straps on the shoulder straps of the dress! As they are separate, they are easy to laundry and iron too.
For the last thing I bought more batiste (this time a lot of it, as I use this material a lot) and made a flounce to finish the lining.