I finished this dress a while ago, when I was on leave, but I wore it yesterday, which was a good opportunity to photograph it. It was a lot of work and involved a fair deal of new skills (and some cursing), but it turned out pretty well!I knew when I saw this dress (below left) on Modcloth, that I wanted to do something similar. I loved the contrasting stripe directions, and the bright stripes. And when I saw some stripey fabric had arrived at Fabric City for their summer range, I pounced. I already had a pattern I thought could work with some minor alterations: New Look 6723.
The fabric itself was lovely, soft and drapey – I can’t remember if it was rayon or viscose though, fabric types are not really my area of interest. I’m more into the texture- crisp, soft, drapey etc are all good, crunchy, fake, scratchy= bad. It was light enough that I was a bit worried about the bodice losing shape and the seams showing through the white stripes, so I decided to underline the bodice with a synthetic pongee. This is where the swearing came in.
It all started off fine: I cut the bodice pieces and underlining, and basted the together, and everything was neat and matchy. I even managed to get all of my bodice pieces stripe- matched, at least at the waistline (the side pieces list veered off the stripes a tad because of the princess seams, but are matched enough to look all fancy and professional. Then I pressed the pieces, pongee side down.
Then suddenly my pieces didn’t match. A MYSTERY! But not really: the pongee was heat-shrinking from the iron. It had never happened before unless I ironed on it directly, but perhaps because the fashion fabric was so light, this time was different. REAAALLL diferent. Thankfully it only affected 2 pieces, but both pieces were back bodice sections. Ugh. So, I commenced to rip out the basting, rebasting the one section which, although smaller, would still fit in the 1.5cm seam allowance. The other piece I ended up patching along the top so it would match up. No, I didn’t cut out a whole new underlining piece, that would have been work. And wasteful. Anyway, I didn’t feel like it. Stop judging me. Whatever, you can’t tell.
Aaaaaanyway: once the Great Pongee Shrinkathon of 2013 had been dealt with, I sewed the bodice, attached the lining (a lightweight white polycotton) and basted in the sleeves, which I had shortened from 3/4 length to just short of elbow-length. I hadn’t yet read this tutorial about setting in sleeves, so they have darts on the top, but not huge ones, just a wee bit poufy when I raise my arms.
I also added about 15 cm to the skirt width by moving the pattern back from the centre fold line. I just wanted it to be a bit fuller and swishier than the original. I also lined the skirt with more of the pongee, which did not shrink because I do eventually learn from my mistakes.
All in all it was a fun challenge, and I learned some valuable lessons about underlining, as well as pongee and irons. And It looks pretty good! I can see this becoming a favourite.