Tuesday, 23 August 2016

61: 3 Dresses from one pattern - The Monthly stitch challenge August 2016

Buy Simplicity Costume Dressmaking Leaflet, 5363 Online at johnlewis.com I actually made a muslin first for this dress. Its a wearable muslin being my red dress shown here. When we moved into our current house, we sold the last house complete with curtains which meant we did not have any for this house so I went to a local Oxfam and bought three second-hand Saris which we used for temporary curtains until we got proper window coverage sorted out. They are probably polyester rather than silk. That was 9 years ago and I still had two of the three saris in my airing cupboard. Well the last few weeks I have been sorting out my wardrobe and also the airing cupboard since I am just hoarding lots of stuff and do not have a big house and really have no room for things we do not use. Then, I went to a festival a couple of months ago having realised these saris are still in my cupboard and of course at most festivals recycled sari clothing is everywhere which got me thinking. I had to use two of my saris for this since the pattern takes a lots of fabric since the skirt is actually circular despite being a handkerchief hemmed skirt.
Shame about the bra strap!

Then, I read about the August Monthly Stitch challenge. I had been hankering after making this particular pattern for ages but I want it be wearable not just a costume. I love hankerchief hems and so I decided first to make my muslin/ costume for a festival dress from my recycled and now well used sari fabric. That gets rid of it out of my wardrobe and provides a nice festival dress for any other events we go to this year or even for next spring. Having said that it has turned out very wearable despite being a costume pattern and made from scrap fabric.

The pattern is easy to put together although to be truly honest I gave the instructions a quick read and the just did it my way. I did use the pre-marked channels for the elastic and the front and back skirt panels and front and back bodice panels are slightly different so you do need to join the right way up. When I changed the pattern for the black dress (see later) I moved the skirt around so it is actually slightly longer one side to the other. It does not notice but if you are a real stickler for perfection it would be easy to correct this. I did not bother. 

I had already decided to make a summer dress from this fabric here: Blue leopard spotted fabric.  This dress took most of one 3m piece so there are still two peces left after making this.

The red and blue dresses are really nice to wear. In both I folded the edge of the neck over to form a channel rather than make a frill. I would say I am not really a frilly type of person but I do love my black dress and it IS frilly! I used 1 inch wide elastic for the neckline and under bust but thinner elastic for the sleeves in all cases.  The necklines stay where I want them by using the slightly thicker elastic. I have previously made similar tops but had problems keeping them either one or off my shoulders as I wanted. These work. Interestingly I prefer the red dress worn on the shoulders but both the others off the shoulders.

Each dress has different sleeves as well. The top is gathered on the red dress just above the elbow but the edge I made use of the border print and left loose mediaeval style. Then for the blue dress I elasticated both the edge and above the elbow. For the black dress I did frills because of having the lace edging. I left out the above elbow elastic as well for the black dress.

Shame I did not fill my white bits in with fake tan!

Dress number 3, I wanted to make so I can wear it this Autumn /Winter. I bought this lovely fabric for 99p from Ebay about two years ago now. It is unusual because it is quite heavy weight and is satin one side which I used for the inside of the dress and matt the other side. You can see the satin on the pointy hem bits which gives a nicer effect. It is not crepe on the other side though as seems to usually be the case with satin backed fabrics but more like lightweight canvas. I got about 6m for 99p so have been waiting to make something lovely from this. The fabric was very creased but I did not iron before cutting so was a bit worried about how it would all work out. Recently, have managed to melt some really nice fabric so I was not risking this. Once I finished the dress which was over a week ago and hung it up all the creases miraculously hung out so its now really crease free.

For this dress I altered the skirt. On the first two dresses I followed the pattern and the side seams join up to the bodice side seams giving two front points either side of centre front and centre back, but on this one I moved the pattern around so that the skirt point ends centre front and centre back with two side points.  This black dress also has a seperate petticoat of unlined black lace. Its simply the same skirt pattern with 1 inch wide eastic sewn around the waistline. Since the dresses are high waisted this petticoat hangs quite a bit lower than the rest of the points but it looks really nice and gives an extra interesting layer I really like. It has no lace frill either which the dress does and that seems to near enough compensate for the slightly longer length due to the movenet of the waistline on this piece back to natural waist. It also makes the dress a bit longer. Depending on how I put the petticoat on I can either line up the points with the dress or better still have them in between the dress points. Hopefuly that will make sense.

I used wide stretch lace all around the hem and sleeves as well as the neckline and made this a frill. I also used the wide lace as a channel for the elastic so this version the channels are on the outside whereas the other two they are all inside the dresses.I also missed out the straps/ belts that are meant to zig zag down to the waist. The first two dresses have these.

I am very pleased with all 3 dresses but especially with the black dress which I can quite honestly say is the nicest dress I have made or owned for around 20 years. I love it! I cannot wait to go somewhere to wear it since its wasted wearing this for every-day life. I suspect I will wear this over Christmas.

I realised whilst writing this and waiting that you cannot see my satin backed pointy hems or the lace petticoat so I took some new pictures.

neckline showing satin inside with lace edging

Satin inside with matt outside on my pointy hems

more pointy hems with sleeve insides

My lace petticaot

Close-up of elastic waistband

The skirt pattern is actually a circle inside a square making for a pointy hemmed circular skirt with hole in centre for the waist - hard to show due to lack of table space

Petticoat on Harriet

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