Friday, 2 July 2010
I have finished my Little Folks voile sundress just in time for the wonderfully hot weekend that we are about to have. I have so many thoughts on sewing with the voile, it's a case of where on earth to begin.
Firstly though, this sundress is not the dress that I intended to make...the one that I set about making was a maxi dress, with a cross over top...you can see what remains of it above. It was to have very gentle gathers at an empire line and then skim down to just above the floor, and straps that crossed over at the back. I wanted it to be flowing, but with minimal volume, created through sparing use of the material. But it just sort of went wrong...and it's only in retrospect I know that my lining was the only thing wrong with it. Once made, it didn't flow around me in the way that I had hoped...and actually looked more maternity than anything else. I wish that I'd taken a photo of it, but I was too quick to start cutting it up. You can see the red lining above - it's a very sheer, lightweight red voile, but as I said in my previous post, nothing feels quite like Anna Maria's voile, and this certainly didn't. It had a stiffness to it that rendered the entire garment voluminous and crisp. But thinking it was all about the dress style being wrong, I took it apart and made up this simple shirred sundress instead, which I love (so I don't mind that the maxi dress hasn't yet happened...that's some fun for another day).
I felt fairly convinced that the Little Folks voiles needed a lining when used for dress or skirt making, and perhaps the lighter colours do, but I now think that actually, the maxi dress would have been fine without a lining...I know, because when I finished this shirred sundress, which should be foolproof and completely wearable, this too looked awful...so I took the shears to it and cut the lining out as a last resort (which was easy to do, as luckily I'd constructed the lining and the dress separately for the most part) and it was instantly transformed into something I completely love and actually, not sheer at all [UPDATED: I was so wrong, it was sheer - I reveal all in this later post]. You would not believe the difference in drape and feel. With the lining in there had been little pleasure in trying on the dress and it was most unflattering, the minute it was gone and I put it on, I couldn't believe how much movement the dress suddenly had, how breezy and soft it felt to wear and just how much better it looked.
[The movement of the dress is demonstrated here by my being caught mid-dash to get in front of the camera...that two-second self-timer button is just too fast for me].
So, if I were to make a dress using Little Folks again (which I will at some point), then I would either choose one of the darker prints like this one and dispense altogether with lining it, or I'd spend a little bit extra and buy one of the plain voiles from the Little Folks range to use as a lining...yes, it's an expensive way of making a dress, but I think it's the only real way to get all the benefits of the voile being so lovely in the first place...to line it with anything else seems like a complete compromise (I'm guessing that an acetate lining may have more movement to it and be an inexpensive option, but I'm not keen on the way these look on the bolt, so haven't experimented with them - I would love your thoughts on what linings work for you).
The upper part of the dress that has been shirred does have a lining to it, which I think I'd do again, as it seems kinder to the fabric to have some support when it's being so heavily worked by the rows and rows of elastic.
I've never had a red dress before...it made me think about Sting's 'Roxanne', which I was sure was a song imploring her to see that she didn't have to put on her red dress, but actually, investigation reveals that it was telling her that she didn't have to put on the red light...so not what I was thinking of at all (lawks!). I think it may have merged in my head with Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Put on Your Red Dress, Baby'...which is altogether more fitting, even though the power of his voice in this clip makes me laugh a lot as his it's, um, so overpoweringly scary...in a brilliant sort of way.
Huge thanks to Rachel at Ray-Stitch for very kindly giving me (yes, gulp, gulp, still can't quite believe it) the fabric to make this dress with. I will think of her kindness every time I wear it. I love it. Today it is hanging on my wall...tomorrow it will be sitting in the sunshine with me.
Wishing you a lovely weekend,