Friday, 25 June 2010

Nani Iro dress and a surprise win


Ever since I saw Kate's photo of the beautiful dress that she made for her daughter using this Nani Iro print, it's been on my (very long) wish list of fabrics. Zebra-girl happened to see it too and it went straight to the top of her wish list.


It's a double gauze fabric, which my research tells me means that there are two layers of fine fabric held together by a grid of stitches so tiny that they're virtually invisible. It's a fabric invented by the Japanese as a solution to the sheerness of single gauze, as well as for its excellence in keeping the wearer cool in their more humid climate (and for a day or two right now, our own muggy English climate). I can't tell you quite how beautiful it looked hanging from the washing line in the breeze...the photo doesn't do it justice.


Oh, the confusion I had in trying to work out which way up to place the white, speckled panel...I ended up drawing some awful sketches to help myself decide. But as I am Florence-the-Fliberty-Gibbert and Zebra-girl is Zebra-the-decisive, I eventually asked her to put me out of my misery and tell me which way up she'd rather it went. She opted for the right hand picture which meant cutting my pattern pieces across the grain...but oh, wonderful Google, it seems that Melissa of All Buttoned Up found herself in the same predicament and went across the grain too and her dress looks perfect, perhaps this is not such a dressmaking crime when it's not a knit or jersey fabric?


I worried about washing it, and whether the layers of gauze might separate, but an hour or two after I started worrying, Kate emailed me to say that she'd just experimented with washing an off-cut and it had held together perfectly, so I happily put it in the machine at 30 degrees and it did indeed remain as one and only shrank by a comparable amount to that of a regular cotton fabric.


I felt slight trepidation about sewing with the gauze too, but I think, again, this came from fear of the unknown, as in the event there ended up being nothing scary about double gauze at all. I'd been warned beforehand that the thing I really needed to concentrate on was keeping it from fraying, so armed with that knowledge I overlocked the edges of every piece before I began sewing it together (although a zig-zag stitch or a french seam, would probably keep things in check). As always, the moment I started overlocking I wondered why the overlocker spends so much time in the under stairs cupboard, as it really is a dream machine that just whizzes through seams so much faster than a sewing machine.


So here's the finished dress...it's the panel of white that really makes me love this fabric and completely brings it alive.


The only part of it that I sewed on my machine was the hem...and as far as I could tell it behaved just like standard cotton.


Oh and a little bit of shirring...you didn't think I'd miss out on that, did you?


So all good? Well, in my eagerness to make the dress last for longer than this summer, I sized everything up by what seemed a fractional amount...but actually I may have been a little generous as it's rather gapey, so I think that I may have to rework it a little if I can prize it off Zebra-girl for a moment. She is in love with the fabric, adores the feel of it and can't stop admiring the wonderful flecks of colour that speckle their way across it. She doesn't seem to think its poor fit is an issue...but I know I'll cringe every time I look at it if I don't put it right, which would be a shame when the fabric is so lovely.

Oddly, I've only seen this print used for children's clothing, but before I cut into it I wrapped it around my own waist and thought it would look quite fantastic on an adult. The fabric, by the way, (which is currently on offer) came from M is for Make... where last week I found lots of hidden fabric! I had not realised that if you click on each fabric swatch you will find lots more fabric from the same range to scroll through hidden behind it. I emailed my partner in obsessive fabric window-shopping (she who is The List Maker) to share my find and she too was amazed and delighted to discover these hidden gems. So I thought I'd share it with you too...just in case.


As if finding hidden fabric wasn't enough excitement, I was even more thrilled and surprised to find that I had won a Crafterhours Skirt Week first prize for the A-line skirt that I entered, along with this gorgeous button to add to my sidebar and soooo many wonderful goodies! I added my skirt to the Flickr pool right at the beginning of the competition, but then there were so many lovelies (that were all a little more seasonally appropriate than mine too), that after a couple of days I hadn't actually thought that my skirt could even be in the running...so imagine my surprise to come in from the the garden one evening, having been celebrating the warmer weather over a bottle of wine with Mr Teacakes, to quickly check the weather for the next day (and inevitably take the quickest of peeks through my favourites in Bloglines), and find my own skirt near the word 'winner' on Crafterhours. A more sensible person than I would have left conveying their excitement until the next day...but I was so surprised and delighted that I felt compelled to comment right at that not-so-sober moment...and in doing so felt like the drunk girl at the party where everyone else is is abstemious and one must try and 'act normal'. I'm not sure I succeeded, but luckily, because Adrianna and Susan are so dear, they have only said nice things to their merry visitor.


Throughout skirt week, as well as posting the winners for each category, Crafterhours have been posting skirt-making tutorials. I am in love with this one (obviously, it's shirred AND is made using Anna Maria's dreamy voiles!) and this one, because it's so clever. I'm so hoping that I get the time to try one of these this summer.


The children's skirt category winner and runners-up were perhaps the most adorable selection to look at. The winning skirt was amazing, and I know that I would have loved that as a child. When I was about four years old I had a denim pinafore and from the bib pocket rose four shiny, brightly-coloured colouring pencils. I am so fond of the memory of this dress and when I saw the rainbow ending in the pocket-shaped pot of gold on the winning entry I could imagine that the wearer may form similarly fond memories.

Well goodness, this was just meant to be such a brief post...I've been so much better at saying less recently (which has led to so much more posting, as to say less...seems to take up less time).

I shall be back on Monday, with something very exciting to share with you.

Wishing you a lovely weekend,
Florence x

17 comments:

  1. Zebra girl has great taste. I am dashing over to your linked fabric site right away. Last year, I looked and looked for double gauze fabric in the UK and couldn't find any. So I am pleased to find some!

    Congratulations on your winning skirt. It's lovely, like everything you make!

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  2. I need to find a little girl to sew for--so many ideas, too many boys :)
    congrats on your skirt win--it must look awesome with tights and boots. So cozy!

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  3. Absolutely lovely dress. I agree the dash of white makes the dress. Good job! I have been trying to get some double gauze since everything I read about it is amazing. No luck finding it in Calgary, and I am hesitant to order it online across the border... custom may kill me. You are so lucky to get the fabric!

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  4. It's a stunner of a dress, I'm not at all surprised ZG is so delighted. Perhaps you could fill that gap with another line of shirring - any excuse surely, tee hee! I have exactly that fabric only in the purple colourway but may have to hoard it for a while longer...

    Glad to hear the double gauze was so lovely to sew after the initial worries. And congratulations on winning that skirt award, fantastic news!

    Kate x

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  5. The dress is so pretty, that fabric is divine, and I agree it would be lovely on an adult too - a top or skirt. Or dress. I saw your winning skirt a few days ago on crafterhours and had a little cheer for you - congratulations! I have some AMH voile and am convinced I need to try one of their shirred skirts too... Thanks for your inspiring work! Danielle

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  6. Zebra knows what she likes! That's great! And I'm happy you've re-discovered your serger. They are so zippy!

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  7. What gorgeous fabric. I also went and got lost for some time at M for Make - thank you so much for sharing that little gem!

    By the way, do you mind me asking where you got your spool holder from?

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  8. You are very tallented x
    If you ever want to share your work on our craft blog www.fiskarettes.co.uk come over and check us out we could do with some Sewing projects to share with Fiskarettes x

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  9. Florence - the dress is amazing, and I am so impressed by the speed that you made it. I was hoping to make myself a camisole from the fabric, it is perfect for this weather.

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  10. I've been contemplating this fabric, too, and wondering how the two layers would work - thanks for the info. I laughed when you talked about the hidden fabric on M is for Make as I didn't discover them until the second or third time I looked! Love the skirt.

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  11. Very lovely fabric - I would have dithered for an age before cutting into it. I do find it very satisfying when the children add their input into what i am making for them (when I remember to ask them).

    Have been cllicking madly around M for Make since your discovery about the scrolling - so much goodness there to wish for!

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  12. The dress is beautiful and your skirt definitely deserved to win! And thank you for your kind comments on my pot 'o gold skirt. My daughter is actually 4. I hope she will have memories like yours :)

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  13. This just looks so beautiful - I am going to have to get me some of that fabric!

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  14. Not sure why but blogger doesn't seem to like my comments today - will try again!

    Just been catching up on all your latest makes and now want to start making pretty shirred sundresses for the eldest immediately! The Nani Iro fabrics are beautiful - I'm not surprised zebra girl loves her new dress.

    Well done on the skirt win!

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  15. I'm not surprised that you won - I love that skirt

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  16. Wonderful journey and experience!

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  17. I just discovered your blog while looking for some info on washing the beautiful Nani Iro fabric I just ordered up in the mail (which I am slightly terrified of ruining before it can become a Christmas present for my sister). Your post made me feel much less scared, and your blog is like a beautiful little glimpse into your world! I love it! Even if I did just discover this post is from 2 1/2 years ago! What a lucky day for me!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x