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.