Thursday, 14 April 2016

A New Meaning to One Directional Print.

I have read quite a few sewing blogs written by people that are happy with their size and shape and that is great. I however am less happy with mine and I can change that and I am working on that but I appreciate it will take time. This blog is about making something pretty with beautiful fabric to boost my own confidence when wearing it and that being ok too. I feel that making a few fun pieces that could be adjusted in the future as I change shape would be a good thing to do. It also allows me to learn more about alterations. Although I accept that I wont look the way I want to in them, I hope it still beats badly fitted jeans and over sized jumpers.

I have dabbled with making clothes in the past I started with transforming a tee shirt and then moved to making  skirts, a dress for my daughter and a fancy dress outfit for my friend. I liked the idea of a shift dress, something simple, not too challenging that can show off nice fabric. I got a free pattern with issue thirteen of Simply Sewing magazine. It was just what I was looking for, it has no zip or fasteners and just two darts to fit it. It is a really versatile pattern and can be used with a lot of different fabrics. In terms of the fabric I was looking for something light weight. I started looking for a pretty silk and came across an online shop that sells vintage saris from India. I loved the idea of sewing with sari fabric - it is light and there were some stunning colours and patterns. Although second hand, the shop started that any imperfections would be advertised. It was also not very expensive which gave me the confidence to have a play with the pattern. I could not decide between two designs so I the end I chose both. One purple and blue, the second green and peach. This gave me 7 yards of each beautiful fabric at a good price. It arrived in under 2 weeks and was perfectly packaged. I opened it to find it was even prettier than the photographs online. A sari tends to have one end with a more elaborate patterned section and then a slightly simpler pattern for the rest. I chose to cut the front out of the complicated pattern section and the simpler pattern on the back. I have a lot of the simpler pattern fabric left so I am planning more projects with that.

As pointed out on the shop I bought it from if it is held up to the light it is slightly opaque, so I decided that I would need to line it. This meant that the pattern I had would need to be changed. I looked up a lot of different ways to line a shift dress and the one that made most sense came from this excellent tutorial. I think this is because a colour coded picture tutorial is a good way to explain things and that the turning out reminds me of bag making.

Practise fabric
Although my beautiful sari was not expensive it is one of a kind and would be practically impossible to replace so I had similar cutting anxiety as with spoonflower fabric. I was eager to get the dress fitted and size sorted using practise fabric. A lot of people use muslin for this, my Mum always used an old sheet or whatever was to hand. I went in search or the cheapest thinnest fabric I could find and ended up with a One Direction bed spread. It worked really well although if I am honest it was very distracting wearing a giant head....

The pattern was easy to follow and all of the pieces clear. I measured myself and found my bust to be one size and my hips another which is not unusual so I went for the larger size accepting that  would need to adjust. I had to divide the back section into two as it meant that I could use the lining method I liked and, more importantly, understood. I found the mock dress far too big so I cut it again the size smaller and then gradually took in the sides. It was starting to look better, however the back was not sitting right so I took some off the back seam that I had inserted for the lining process. This helped it sit better. In the end I was making a dress 3 sizes smaller than the measurements indicated.

Mock dress making

Despite the pattern being taken in significantly the darts were sitting where I wanted them to. I didn't want to cut the pattern smaller and move the darts. I decided to put it together in an unconventional way but one that made sense to me. I made the dress the same as my pattern had been cut and put the darts in the same place - I then took it in the same amount as the mock up. This worked well. I liked the lining process and had no issues with it. I also liked the finish it gave the neck and arm holes.

My Sari shift dress

The dress making itself came together quickly with just the hem to put in. I decided to use the same hem method I have used in my 2 hour top. I hemmed the dress itself with no problems, I hemmed the lining with fun spotty bias binding only to realise the binding was facing out towards the dress and not in towards my legs. I contemplated unpicking it but decided not to as it was fun and I liked "flashing my binding".

Cheeky spotty bias binding on lining
Overall I was pleased with my dress I love the colours and the simple design really allowed me to show off the design on the fabric. The pattern did need taking in a lot, however, and I worry if you were inexperienced and starting on the smallest size it would be difficult to keep taking in. I have worn it twice so far, once with purple heels for a night out and the other with thick tights and ankle boots for lunch. I love that it is versatile in that respect. It is fun and comfortable and I am pleased I decided not to hold off any longer.

Showing off  my sleeves - and my concentrating face...
A casual approach to my sari dress

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