I started my dress-making course this week. Thus culminates quite a few weeks of
mild panic worry about what to make. I’ve been auditioning patterns, via calico toiles. This is where you very roughly make up a garment, just enough to check the fit. It seemed like a good idea given that my adult sewing for my current shape is limited to two skirts – one button-through which almost fits, and one hastily seamed and elasticated for Halloween which of course fits perfectly but isn’t exactly a year-round print. I’m trying not to think of the two decades with my pre-baby figure when I didn’t sew at all, despite having bust bum and waist measurements that generally were all within the same pattern size. What a missed opportunity.
The first toile was for an A-line princess seamed vintage dress pattern from ebay, bought by bust size (rookie error for those narrow of back and generous of bust). It was vast, so vast that parallels with marquees were not at all undeserved. The second (and third) were for the Elisalex dress by ByHandLondon. These were tantalising close to nearly fitting, but still had a Goldilocks litany of not-quite-rightness. There are such beautiful versions of this dress out there, but I’m not sure that it’s for me without some major tweaking. The silver lining is that although I still might not be happy with the fit, I’m pretty darn hot at princess seams now. The fourth, which finally struck gold, was the Simplicity 1776 A line dress. This time I looked at the finished garment measurements rather than the figure measurements, and sewed a size 14 muslin rather than the 16 indicated by bust size. I hesitate to say it’s perfect, as the position of the bust darts could use a little tweaking, but it fits neatly and will work both over a top and on its own. The shape is great and it feels like a dress that wants to be made, and then worn with my approaching vintage red knee-high boots. As does Elisalex, to be honest, but I’m not ready for all those alterations in a single frock yet.
I’m going to make the sleeveless version, with patch pockets. Each pocket will have a decorative button, and there’s a bright pink zip which I quite fancy exposing at the back. I found the perfect lining – a 60s-tastic iced pink which behaves nicely with the printed paisley needlecord for the dress. I’d thought it would be easy to match one of the print colours to a lining fabric but apparently not. I lost my nerve on a dolly-mixture pink so the paler one it is.
The next job up is pressing and pinning out the pattern pieces, getting ready to cut on Wednesday night!