Monday, 18 September 2017

The "Baby I'm a firework" Upton hack

Well yesterday my littlest brother got married, in a lovely wedding where I danced until my feet were sore. Despite having already made a wedding attending dress a month ago, I had an urge to make another (not anything to do with me know wanting to try and fix the button band fiasco from the other dress!).

Now I am trying to be thrifty and I have a stash that fills 8 large drawers, so I was determined to work with something I already had. As I had had some slippage issues with my wiggly viscose in the last dress, I decided to use a more stable fabric. This significantly cut down my options, as most of my stable fabric selection is 1-1.5m lengths intended for pencil skirts. The fabric that therefore jumped out at me is one of my oldest stash pieces, 3m of thin cotton with a crazy flower/firework print. I must have bought this a good 4-5 years ago in Edinburgh. I had intended it for a fitted dress, but then learned more about fabric and realised that it was a bit flimsy and creasy. It then sat in the stash... waiting..

Until now! (Pardon the wrinkles, I had already been to the ceremony and meal.)

(Being photobombed by my other brother and cousin!)

(The fabric photographs fantastically - even when nothing else is on focus!)

Now, as I mentioned in a recent Instagram, I always sew in a bit of a rush, but can spend hours planning, so I originally had something very complicated planned. I have always loved tiki sarong dresses, and had a whole boned and pleated top, wrap skirt thing planned. As is typical with my planning however, I planned so long that I had no time to make it, so I scaled my plan right back.

I had always intended to use the Cashmerette Upton bodice as the basis for the dress, though I found it funny that I was planning an elaborate hack before I had even made a normal version. For the scaled back plan, I simply decided to just use the top as is, and combine it with a simple fitted pencil skirt (which I rubbed off an existing skirt that I knew fit me).

Now previously, I have only made the Cashmerette Appleton wrap dress (which I have still not blogged despite LOVING!) and I was a little concerned that a woven top would be harder to fit, even when designed by the talented Jenny. This assumption meant that when the pattern piece slipped slightly when cutting out the bodice that I didn't fix it, I figured I would need to make adjustments anyway. I WAS WRONG - I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED JENNY! Once it was all sewn up, the fit was perfect, except very slightly too wide across the centre front, where it had slipped. Sigh.

To reinforce the bodice given the thin material, I underlined the bodice with white cotton from a second hand sheet. This was really convenient, as I could draw straight onto it with my heat dissolving pens to make all the markings. (I love my those pens!) I should have also reinforced the skirt, but did not for time reasons. This wasn't a critical error, but meant that there was a slight rip later that could have been avoided.

I tried quite hard to make sure the print worked and wasn't odd. I carefully lined up one of the bright explosion areas onto the neckline which was very successful I also did some pattern matching up the centre back seams, but then had to let it out as it was too tight.. still, it still reads as one image, even if isn't perfect!

For the Upton bodice I made a 14 e/f and the only alterations I made were to lengthen the straps by 1.5 inches (I basically sewed along the cut line), take in the upper back by about half an inch along the zip, and to lengthen the bodice by about 3 inches to lower the waistline (the Upton sits at the high waist). I also had to add a short dart at the centre front to lose that pesky additional width.

(Oops - really should have remembered to sew on the hook and eye at the top of the zip!)

Overall - I love it! Even though it got very creased and I should have lined the skirt - I felt very glamorous in it and it is very comfortable. For next time I will have to fix the back tear (I caught the slit area on a chair arm), and find my pretty slip (I couldn't find it for this time, and my other one is a bit long, hence you can it in these pictures. When I make the Upton again, I will take an inch out of the back length, as the zip buckles a little when I stand up straight.