Firstly, thank you so much for the bath mat enthusiasm - if you're interested in making your own then do take a look in the comments section as Kerry gives a rather wonderful tip about some latex backing that also gives a non-slip effect. I said in my last post that I've been dressmaking this week. I'm wondering whether making a 'muslin' is the correct term for a trial run when the garment is made of a stretch fabric...so perhaps toile is a better word, but this is just one of the many toiles that I've run up this week, and I actually decided to hem and bind this one as I think it's probably wearable (or at least I hope it is, as I've been wearing it today).
You might remember the liberty fabric from this post, well, I've been determined not to cut into it until I have the perfect jersey dress pattern. I started the week by drafting patterns myself and I think there might be a few toiles in amongst my experiments that might be made wearable there too (all in plain black or navy knit), however, when I was looking through my favourites on Flickr one night I was reminded of Mame's beautiful dress and then found that she'd also made this one which I think that I love even more. The pattern for Mame's dress came from the Built by Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book...a book which was already on my shelf. At that point I abandoned all the patterns that I'd been drafting myself and broke into the Built by Wendy pattern envelope at the back of the book.
Using this book, as opposed to just reading it, was such a revelation. I have to admit that I hadn't originally been impressed by it - it seemed too basic and simplistic and wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, which is why I hadn't mentioned it on my blog before now. However, I was so, so, thoroughly wrong about this book: it is wonderful. I think I'd completely missed the point of the book. The patterns are simple, but they're created this way deliberately so that you can change which bits you use to produce several different dress designs - the individual pieces almost work as pattern blocks to be built upon. They are also perfectly cut. While the next time I make this dress I will substantially alter the skirt element of the dress, I have never had a top half of a dress fit me quite so perfectly - I love it. My measurements are smaller than the sizes given for the extra small option, but I think the patterns are either meant to fit very tightly or run a little small, as while the top half fits perfectly, I would say that the skirt portion could do with a little more room in there as I'd prefer less clingyness across the stomach and bottom areas which need a little more concealment for me to feel entirely comfortable. Life is less fun when you have to remember to keep your stomach muscles held taut.
I am also in love with Wendy's design at the shoulders, which calls for extreme gathering to create the puffed sleeves effect - it prohibits easy cardigan wearing, but the end result is that the dress feels special and unlike something I might find at the shops. Wendy, you completely rock.
These are the variations I'd like to try next with this pattern if I manage to find the time and material to make it three more times:
- Make a gathered skirt section that skims the stomach more for those days when one wakes to the feeling that one may have unexpectedly acquired a small watermelon in one's tummy.
- Create a dropped waist and a self-fabric thick wrap belt that ties at the side for ultimate problem area concealment
- Make the main body of the dress from one whole piece of material, rather than sewing together a bodice and skirt portion and make the bottom half a little more A-line.
Wishing you a lovely weekend,
Ps. Sorry for the slightly gloomy and dark photos - they were taken at 7am by Mr Teacakes in between his spoonfuls of cornflakes.