Friday, 13 May 2011

RW day 1 The unusually tropical dress

Item (s) completed - The unusually tropical dress
State before Roswell Week - cut off neckline, slightly pinned 
Reason for abandonment - cant remember.
Time spent as an UFO - about 6 months, it was one of the first things I planned to do.
Time used to finish - 1 hour
"chump" factor felt for not having done it sooner - high, it was really easy, and more than half the time was just spent redoing stuff I had already done but the pins had fallen out. 

Now I know I said that this one was ready to sew up, all pinned and darted. I was wrong, over the last 6 months of chucking it around and stuffing it in cupboards, pretty much all the pins had fallen out. So I had to do it again. I don't have a real before pic, but it was a loose dress with a slightly odd scoop neckline (one of those "should either be higher or lower" necks). There was absolutely no shaping below the neck and sleeves, just a straight sack. But I liked the pattern and lovely bright green colours. This is a picture of it on Agnetha which is a sort of before pic-  before I put any tucks in (though after I took the neckline trim off-which actually made the neckline look slightly better than it did originally). It is also longer than it looks here, but its tucked underneath her. 

My main approach was to change the neckline using the belt as a trim, and to sew in a few gathers around the waist to give it some shape. Here are the gathers pinned, I put a big one under the bust at each side, and a small one down the each side of the bust to take some flab out of the under arm area. I then did 2 small ones on the back to pull the waist in there.

I wanted the neckline to be slightly lower, so the whole thing was less balloony, and a V neck. I could probably have bodged the original neck trim into a curved V but the dress had a simple self fabric belt so I decided to use that instead as it was much easier. I folded the trim to make the bottom point of the V and then placed it on Agnetha and worked out how I wanted the neck to go and pinned it on.

This is a really simple rough refashion, and therefore I used the traditional rough finishing method - pinned gathers and topstitching. This method won't win any construction prizes, and depending on the fabric can look a bit rubbish, but in something this busy you can't tell at all.  I pinned where I wanted the gathers to go (keeping them short) and marked with a pin at each end where to stop sewing. You then just sew a top stitched line between the pins (taking care to not sew it to random other bits of the outfit-its so easy to do that on refashioned things - luckily on this I only did it once!) On the big gathers at the front, because I was taking in so many bits of gather, I also did a 1cm cross stroke at the top and bottom to get them all in (like a I). Then the stitching is just a small line. It all worked perfectly, except I had to go back and length the gathers at the back as it poofed too high up originally

I then just sewed along the both edges of the neck binding to hold it on.

I wasn't really sure about how this was going to turn out, I was slightly worried it would end up too short once I had done the gathers, and also that I wouldn't be able to get it over my head as it doesn't have a fastener, but it was all great! I now know that if I can squeeze it over Agnetha, it will easily fit me (benefits of having skin and the ability to bend I guess!

Its a slightly unusual dress for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly the pattern is more tropical than the prints I normally choose-I feel a bit like I'm wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It is also somewhat short, particularly as something I could wear without tights. Most importantly however, as I tried to stick to the spirit of the original garment, and keep it slightly blousey, it is now pretty much the only item of clothing I own which has proper ease. Most of my clothes tend to be very tight. I really like it though! and don't feel at all like I am wearing a tent, the shaping works really well. It just feels like a very relaxed dress. I immediately threw on some tights (it had got a little chilly) and went to the pub in it! Here are the finished pics (thankyou to the lovely Lindsey for acting as photographer!). All in all, an excellent start to Roswell week!

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