About Me

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Summer Dress - DONE!

Hi all!

We've just come back after marvelous ten days of hiking, driving, hiking some more and traveling the beautiful villages and cities of northern Greece. It's a bit difficult to return to "normal" life after a vacation, I enjoyed to peace and quite of just being the two of us together without all the "white noise" we all have in our lives. I missed the sewing machine, though. Before living I finished the quilt I've been working on since April and also made the rug, but I didn't hem the black Moss skirt and three Stratchona tshirts I made for myself (and took two of them with me to Greece, un-hemmed...). The night before our flight I also cut fabric for couch-cushions so I do have some WIP I can continue while I ease back into my daily routine. 
One garment I manage to finish before our trip (hem included!) was the black knit summer dress I started two months ago. Fortunately we had a few warmer days before the trip so I wore it a couple of times already, and enjoyed it very much. It was a long process even though it's such a simple dress, mostly because the fear of messing it up made me second guess myself every step of the way. 

I used my self-hacked racer-back sports bra pattern as the base for the back. I used a different dress I have (RTW, almost never wear it) to estimate how much length I should add to the back and front pieces. 

In the above picture the original pattern is demonstrated with the length I added for both the front and the back pieces. The ~1" shorter back pieces is supposed to compensate for my sway-back (a problem I have with most commercial patterns). Since I could only estimate the different in length between the front and the back, and didn't know if I'd like the end result, I didn't trace the pattern and cut the fabric using the above pieces. It's a reciprocal process - I have to use the real fabric rather than start with a muslin because it's a knit fabric, but I feel like I can't cut into the real fabric before I'm sure my measurements are correct. At the end I just decided it would be "good enough for a first try" and cut the fabric. As planned I self-lined the bodice using Sarai's method, just as I did with my sports bra. I cut the pieces for the lining a bit smaller all around hoping the smaller lining will make the seam-line roll inwards. The moment I tried on the bodice I realized how silly I was for procrastinating the project. The bodice fits well, I like it, the seam-lines mostly role inwards as I wanted. 

After making the bodice I re-thought the skirt. Originally I planned using the Lady Skater skirt pieces but I didn't want to complicate things by trying to match the Lady Skater pieces with the waist line of "my pattern". Instead, I traced the general shape of an RTW skirt I have, assuming I could make it work (thankfully, knits are so forgiving!).

I added a lot of length to the skirt (at the end I cut 10 cm from the length I added), and make an FBA (=full butt adjustment) to the back piece, by adding more width and length to the center back. I didn't enclosed the waist seam between the bodice shell and lining as planned, as the bodice was a bit too short and I didn't want to risk it too much. 

Initially I thought the bodice was about 2 inches too short; I felt the racer-back didn't balance the fuller skirt and that more length should be added to the bodice in order for the dress to have better proportions. After wearing it for a while though I started changing my mind. I think the quirky proportions work well for a summer dress, and I can also envision this silhouette in floral fabric with cooler colors for autumn (under a cardigan, maybe even a long one, with boots and leggings). I also have some sparkly black knit I would like to turn into a long sleeve version of this dress (like the Lady Skater, only with the fuller skirt I drafted), but I'm not sure if I can pull off the short bodice in a long-sleeve dress as well. Any suggestions? 

Of course I procrastinated the hem for as long as I could. I started with a blind hem but 20 cm later I realized it was too weak for a dress I intend to wear often, and I was too lazy to continue. It took a few minutes with the tween needle to have a proper hem, and while it is not invisible I still prefer the more durable finish on a knit dress. Have your ever tried hemming a knit garment with a blind hem?
All in all i'm happy with this dress and think the silhouette it worth tracing the pattern and giving it another go.

pattern: self-drafted
fabric: 1.5 meters = 37.5 ISL = 10 $
thread = ~2.5 shekels = 0.68 $
Total: 40 ISL = 10.68 $

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