Sunday, 27 December 2015

Completed: Christmas Candy-Cane Dress

Merry Christmas! It seems I always seem to end up making red dresses (see 1 and 2, but looks like I skipped the tradition last year) at Christmas, and this year I inadvertently dressed as a candy cane. No regrets!

This project was a resurrection of an old UFO. I'd cut it out and abandoned it, mostly because I wasn't convinced on the style I'd chosen.
This fabric is quite stiff, which made me a bit cautious about what to make with it. I was concerned it wouldn't work as a dress.
The original design I'd chosen was another one of this Vogue pattern but I'd planned to do the gathers as pleats for my 2nd version of it. The reason I abandoned it was that I decided I didn't like that plan after all. When I dug it out I decided to cut a different design from the scraps and existing cut pieces. I had just enough!

I just made this from my bodice block (no surprises there). The button placket is a separate pattern piece so I could have the stripes running in different directions.

I figured pleats were the only choice for the skirt. I wanted the stripes running straight across, which limited me to a gathered rectangle or a pleated rectangle. No way would gathering a fabric this stiff work!
I'm sure you can see from the photos it is quite crisp. It would probably work really well as a summer jacket.

Creating the pleated skirt was based on my best guess at what would look good, in terms of the spacing and depth of pleats.
I wanted the first pleat to align with the waist dart and went from there. It's basically a very similar look to the skirt on my shirt dress pattern, but with deeper pleats and no flare to the side seam.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the pleats, although maybe I would move the back skirt pleats inwards  so there wasn't such a large gap at centre back. Maybe the centre pleat could align with the back dart instead of the inner pleat...

Also, butt wrinkles from sitting.

I think the last dress I made I mentioned I wanted to properly conquer dress linings so I have started on that mission.
There are so many different ways of lining different bodices that it can be overwhelming!
With a bit of research I figured out how I wanted to do it.
In a few words, I bagged out the whole bodice except for the centre front and waist seam.
Then, I attached the skirt to the shell. Then I reached through the centre front opening and pulled it inside-out to enclose the waist seam in the lining.  Then I sewed the button plackets on at cf, enclosing the edges of the lining and shell in there.
That probably makes no sense!

Anyway, I'm pretty committed to figuring things out for myself these days as searching for the perfect tutorial actually makes life harder.  Once you've got the gist of a technique, I say go for it and figure the rest out as you go.

Let's talk about the bow. I tossed up between red buttons and no bow, and white buttons with a bow. I know the bow is ludicrous but I couldn't resist. Sorry, it's too cute. My husband said it looked weird but I kinda love it so there.

As you can see, I placed a button underneath it to hold the dress shut there, with the button hole on the opposite side to all the others. Fastening it is a bit of a pain but not too bad!

So I actually cut this fabric on the cross grain, because I didn't want the stripes going vertically. It is a 97% cotton, 3% spandex fabric so that unfortunately means the stretch runs vertically! Oh well! I didn't even bother trying to match the stripes across the seams. They're too small for me to care about.

Ooh and there are pockets in the side seams (of course). I tried a different way of putting them in where I sewed the side seam above and below the pocket opening first, and then sewed the pocket bags to each of the seam allowances. Then I sewed around the edges of the pocket bags to join them together, finished the edges and tacked them to the seam allowance above and below the pocket opening so the top and bottom didn't flop around. Clear as mud? I like how you can finish the edge of the pocket bags together instead of separately, and that the seam can be pressed open without clipping.

However, I normally do it a different way, and I think I prefer the original way as it is easier (Sew pockets to front and back skirt separately, then sew around pocket edges as you sew the side seam).

I also find these gape open more easily than my normal pocket technique... boo! I'm sure I could edit this technique to set the pockets back from the seamline just like my normal technique though. 

Pocket grump face

I kept the furry selvage as the hem, and thought I was very clever to cover it with rayon seam binding, but as you can see, my shonky top-stitched hem didn't catch the hem perfectly at the edge of the seam binding, so after sitting on it, it got mushed down and my selvage shame was revealed. lol :P

Anyway, that's my dress! Thanks to my friend Joy for taking the photos. You can thank her for this lovely shot of my armpit as I take flight! After she took this I flew off into the sky in search of fabric stores in the clouds.

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