Monday, 18 June 2018

Grecian turquoise - the ultimate secret pyjamas!

How many sewing blogger stories start "So I had this wedding to go to..."!

So I had this wedding to go to, that of my lovely friend Leanda (Hi Leanda - great wedding!) and the only wedding clothes that fit me all had mending issues. (My firework dress has a torn vent and the red flowery one's button band basically just needs entirely replacing!) Obviously the sensible solution was not to mend them, but to make something new and exciting!  However, the short attention span that makes me uninterested in fiddly mending jobs also meant it was going to have to be something fairly straightforward to make.

I am partway through a shirtdress right now, and have spent about 5 hours cutting it all out, so I wasn't in the mood for a pattern. I therefore drafted it all on Agnetha (my dressform).
Given the tight time fame and lack of pattern, jersey was clearly indicated. I looked through the stash and found this delicious fine turquoise jersey that I had been hoarding for a few years. I'm not good with fabric types but it's very cool to wear, so I think it must have some natural fibres in. It's very soft but not hugely stretchy, like a silky t-shirting. The colour is just gorgeous - that greenish turquoise that you don't see very often. The Internet tells me this colour is based on one of the variations of a pigment called paris green, which was a popular colour with painters and fashion in the 1800s, but which was also highly toxic so eventually banned.

People are sometimes confused by the term draping (ie drafting a pattern directly on a body or dressform) as often it's not so much draping fabric, as painstakingly adjusting small details, more like a puzzle. On this occasion however, draping is a very accurate word! I hadn't decided what sort of dress i wanted, but after basically throwing the fabric over one shoulder of the dressform, it just looked so great as a long simple dress that it just had to become that!

It's an extremely simple construction. I had about two metres and I cut it in half crossways, then cut off a long thin strip, then cut one of the halves in half again.

The bigger piece was gathered and pleated onto wide elastic for the skirt. To produce a flatter section at the centre front I added a piece of interfaced fabric to the elastic loop so that bit wouldn't  gather. I didn't want it to be all gathers as that tends sit oddly on me, but I had to gather a bit due to the lack of stretch in the fabric. The main pleating is on the back, where they produce a diagonal effect which I like. I then used the thin strip to cover the waistband elastic.

The top is made from a piece of fabric over each shoulder, crossing at the front and back. I created the shoulder shaping by sewing some thin elastic on the inside to gather the material at that point. It's also sewn up the sides under the arms.

Full disclosure - this isn't actually a dress. The top is tucked in and then pinned with safety pins on the inside at front and back. This was easier,  but also means that I can wear the skirt separately if I want to in future.

Being jersey, I didn't finish any hems or seams, so this was extremely quick to make!
Overall I love this dress - it feels really dramatic yet super comfortable - the ultimate secret pyjamas!