Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas Dress! Butterick 4443

Merry Christmas everyone! This dress is my festive and fun summer Christmas dress :)

Ignore the wrinkle over the boob, I swear that's not normally there, lol!
So this is Butterick 4443, a basic princess seamed bodice, which I attached a gathered skirt to, instead of the half circle skirt included in the pattern (not enough fabric!).
For the skirt, I just ripped right across the width of the fabric, once for the front, and once for the back. That gave me a ratio of almost 3 times the width of the waist. I was worried it would be too much gathering, but I think it looks great!
I did take the time to match the dots at the side seams and centre back, though I'm sure no-one will notice in all that floof. Oh well!

Last year I sewed a red Christmas dress too, in red linen- Vogue 8469. Could this be the start of a new Christmas tradition?? Haha.
Last year's dress turned out to kinda be a pain, because it was restrictive in the shoulders (poor fitting strikes, my friends!), and it isn't that nice to wear. Boo!
Well, looks like that is part of the tradition again- this dress is slightly tight in the armholes, haha! Luckily, after wearing it out and about, it's not a deal breaker. But I'll definitely be fixing it next time I make this pattern. I'm thinking I'll let the front and back princess seams out a bit.
Annoying that I never noticed it once in the toile stage! And then I realised how much work it would be to unpick all that lining and was like "okay, I'm just going to live with it."

Speaking of toiles, I was helped on the fitting of this by Maryanne, who is an absolutely brilliant sewer and crafty lady. I was very lucky to get her help on this. I hope to use this pattern a lot!
I added a little bit of extra into the waistline as I'd been scared of making an uncomfortable dress (waist pinchies are the worst!!), but I think I could take it in a little bit more. I want to find the perfect balance of waistline ease and fitted-ness :)

Back looks pretty good...phew!
Instead of putting shoulder darts in the outer fabric, I darted the lining, and tried to ease the back neckline in to match, so I didn't interrupt the polka dots. I'm not sure this strategy is the best for a cotton like this, as you can see shows puckers a bit. Darts would possibly look less conspicuous, I'm thinking? Oh well, at least the neckline doesn't gape!

For the lining method, I just followed the pattern instructions- this means there's a lot of hand-stitching, for the zip and along the waistline too. I know there is a fancy bagged lining tutorial floating around out there that a lot of people swear by, and I'd like to try that next time. It'll be good to have a comparison.
One thing I did differently to the pattern is trim off about 2mm of the the lining around the armholes and neckline before sewing like this tutorial- this is supposed to help it roll under so it doesn't peek out the edges. And I definitely don't want the white edges of my lining on display!

Lots of hand stitching.
This was another project that had loads of unpicking, haha. I am getting way better at accepting my mistakes and fixing them without being a big baby about it! lol :) There's still room for improvement though!
Wow, putting in the zip by machine took me FOREVER. I think if I'd done it by hand it would have been much faster, as I'm more used to that. Practice makes perfect though.

I tried out a new technique for the hem. I got out my blind hem foot and gave it a try. Unfortunately my old machine doesn't have a blind hem stitch, so you have to use a long zig zag. That just means the "bites" of stitching you see on the right side are spaced closer together. At first I thought my hem looked really rubbish-the blind hem had created a ridge on the right side. But an aggressive pressing sorted it out pretty well. I think that's normal for blind hems, according to what I read... I liked this method and I'll use it again, if the garment and fabric are suited!

Bottom: blind hem from right side. Top: blind hem from wrong side. See the zig zag?
OH! And I can't forget- this fabric was won in a giveaway from Sue at Sewin' Steady a while ago, and I'm so happy I finally used it! I really love the polka dots. I was super excited when I won, and Sue, I hope I did your fabric justice (Really glad I didn't set it on fire by mistake or something, lol)! Thanks so much! :)

I also finally got around to making Tilly's bow belt,  I made mine a bit thinner than hers- it's designed to be 1.5" wide and mine is 1". I always have to change things don't I? :)

It is actually made from remnants of the linen from last year's dress. Double Christmas!!

Double Christmaaaaas! Bows!!
And I know I don't look impressed in this last picture, but I am! Because polka dots, bows, Christmas, and full skirts= happiness, obviously :)

So despite all the struggles and mistakes I have to choose to smile.

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