I hope you had a fun Halloween, and for those that celebrate it, a thoroughly excellent Dia de los Muertos. I had planned to have this 'Dress of the Dead' finished in time to wear on the day (not for any party, just to look festive in the office) but as usual I didn't get it finished in time!
This is a Simplicity New Look 6144. My mum bought this for me a year or so ago when it came free with a magazine, and I've only just got around to making it up! I chose View F with the 3/4 length raglan sleeves and four neckline darts, but decided not to make the matching belt a it wasn't the look I was going for- I wanted a pretty relaxed shift dress. The dress also features double-ended darts at the front and back to create shaping and should be a pretty quick sew as it's only one piece for the front, two for the back and two pieces per sleeve. I'm still planning to make up the Colette Sewing Handbook's Licorice dress which is constructed in a similar way so this is kind of like a trial run for that (which I have some lovely green silk for, although I'm now tempted to use that on Colette's Dahlia dress which I recently bought).
This calaveras-print fabric is a fairly lightweight cotton and was £4 a metre from one of the shops in Goldhawk Road and was bought with this pattern in mind. I think it works pretty well, although I didn't worry about print matching so some of the side seams have some double-vision skeletons going on, and the neckline pleats have beheaded a few of the little fellas. I'm doing pretty well at getting through my stash from my two trips to Goldhawk Road so far this year. I fear it is still under threat from developers- my last trip in August they told me they had a stay of execution until December. I'm not sure I can justify another trip there this year- especially as my cupboards are groaning under the weight of my current stash, but I will miss it. It's such a fantastic resource.
The dress is fairly simple construction-wise, and as it had 3-4 inches of ease built in I didn't worry about doing an FBA, so it's made up in size 16 straight out of the envelope. I know it sounds very vain, but I feel like I must somehow have body dysmorphia whenever I make up patterns with this kind of sizing- it feels weird to be a very average body size to the naked eye (at least to my eye- I have curves but I don't consider myself to be big) yet have to make up the second largest size available on the pattern sheet!
I did make one adjustment which I kind of regret. I didn't have the required zip to hand, but I did have this rather lovely red Riri zip which I thought would look pretty cool. I've been seeing lots of exposed zips in my blog feed as the Orla Top sewalong has been going along- so I thought I'd give it a go on this dress. Annoyingly, it didn't quite work out to plan and I ended up having to insert the zip four times! It's still not got that nice squared-off end that I was going for, but at this point it will have to do. I think my mistake was not considering the seam allowances- you need to make sure your back seam's allowances are narrower than the allowance you will be attaching to the zip to be able to achieve that squared-off look at the bottom.
I used Tilly's Orla sewalong post for reference, plus this one from Pattern Runway (although I can't figure out step seven) as Tilly's tutorial is for inserting into a slash in the fabric rather than a seam. If anyone knows a clearer tutorial i'd be keen to check it out for next time. This may have been a good time to make up a sample to learn this technique, but I was foolhardy enough to think it would be simple enough to get right on the first try- but getting even exposure of your contrasting zip tapes is paramount when making a statement zip like this. I've also slightly misaligned the zip tapes at the top so added a little extra bulk at the neckline- I always seem to do this so need to be careful next time about starting my sewing my zip a couple of mm lower down.
While I think what I've done works for the look I was going for, it has thrown the back fit a little off-kilter, as the added width of the zip tapes plus the narrower seam allowance has created a little more room back there. I'm leaving it as is for now, but may take the excess in at the darts for a more streamlined look if it continues to bother me. The usual excess fabric due to swayback is making itself known so I might have a bash later, but am still sore at all the time I spent trying to get the zip right!
This was supposed to be another easy project before getting my teeth into another pair of much-needed Ginger jeans, so hopefully it won't be too long before my next post as I anticipate they may take some time to make up- wish me luck!
How's your seasonal sewing getting on?