Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Myrtle visits Paris in Liberty

I succumbed to buying the new Colette Myrtle dress pattern and decided to make it in a Liberty Tana Lawn fabric for my summer trip to Paris.  It is a pretty easy make really, I only made one change and had difficulty with just one part of the instructions.
Visiting Disneyland, Paris
Here you can see a close up of the lovely fabric I used, a Liberty Tana Lawn that I got in a sale well over a year ago.  It was perfectly light weight for the hot weather in Paris Disneyland.

My difficulty

My difficulty with this pattern was at the shoulders where the front and back bodice meet up with each other.  Before sewing them up the instructions are to sew a quarter inch bias tape to the right side of the neckline on the back, and then fold it over completely to the wrong side and stitch it down.  I made my own bias strip using the same fabric as my dress, and made it so that with the two raw edges folded under the finished strip would be one quarter inch.  Whenever I buy ready made bias tape it is always labeled with the measurement of the finished width, and doesn't include the underside seam allowances that are folded away within the labeled name.
The trouble was that using 1/4" tape means that the raw edge of the dress edge is only folded back by 1/4" but when this shoulder piece is meant to nest in with the front bodice piece, it is just too big!
My solution was that I had to snip along the front bodice fold line so that it would nest in with the back bodice.
Did anyone else have trouble with this?  If so, I'd love to hear how you solved it.

Visiting the 1950s French Couture exhibition

My alteration

The one thing I did change was to use 1/4" elastic instead of 1".  As it was to be a dress for hot weather I just couldn't face having an entire inch of elastic touching me on a hot and humid day.  It was pretty easy, I followed the instructions but found that there was an important point missing.  Once you sew the bodice and skirt together and you overlock the raw edges, you need to pull the bodice back out from the skirt so that the dress is then completely inside-out as though it were hanging on a coat hanger and looks like a dress.  This isn't in the instructions or in the diagrams, and had me baffled for a while.
Then I made a circle of elastic and put it around the middle of the dress like a belt.  With the bodice to the left and the skirt to the right, I folded the overlocked seam allowance over the elastic and onto the bodice where I stitched on my machine a bit at a time.  I didn't bother with pins, just kept focused on the fabric and made sure my elastic stayed snuggly to the right of my stitching line.
Took me ages to decide which Frozen souvenirs I needed to buy

This dress was a dream to travel with, it didn't crease easily, folded up quite small in my suitcase and could easily be dressed up or worn casually. 
Here is my posterior for posterity:  Never flattering but always informative.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Perfect shirt dress - with birds on it!

I bought this beautifully floaty organic voile fabric and decided to make it into McCall's pattern 6696.  It is a really great pattern, comes with different pieces for the bust depending on your size, which meant I could make this dress straight out of the pattern envelope with no changes or alterations at all.
The waistband, collar and front button bands are all hand-stitched down on the inside, which is an enjoyable task for me but you could easily do top stitching on your machine if you didn't have the time or inclination for the hand sewing.
I got to wear this dress for the first time on a recent holiday to Amsterdam, so these photos are all real life shots from my holiday.

I met up with my cousin Donna in Amsterdam and we had about 10 days of girl time in Europe, it was great fun.  Here we are visiting a statue of Anne Frank, the house where she and her family hid during the war is just around the corner from here.

The dress pattern is designed to be worn with a belt, as there is no button placement at the waist so that a belt buckle can sit nicely.  I wish now that I had just moved the button placements so that one sat at the waist as I don't intend to wear a belt with mine, and now after sitting it gapes a bit at the waist.  Oh well, a hidden press stud shall do the trick I think.

In this picture we are having a taste of raw herring!  It was okay, Donna didn't like it.  Here you can see the back of the dress has some gathering in the bodice, it gathers above the waist band and below the shoulder yoke.  It makes it a bit blousey and quite comfortable actually, I kept all of the gathering in the pattern and am pleased I did.
A very soft and light weight fabric for summer holidays and a great pattern for both crisp and floaty fabrics!
This is also my first goal completed for the lovely Katy's Finish-Along: link in my sidebar-->

Unfortunately I didn't get to wear it again when we went to Paris, as it crinkled really easily and there were no irons in any of the rooms that we stayed in.  But it certainly was a me-made holiday!  I wore my two Moneta Maxi dresses (only one photo!?) as well as a Butterick top:
Butterick 5692

And there is one other new dress that I made for this holiday, which I'll share in my next post!
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