Posts Tagged summer dress

Stockpiling Summer Dresses in Lockdown

Just before the lockdown started and I lost my dressmaking mojo I completed this Cheyenne Tunic from Hey June Patterns.

If you think it looks familiar and you follow Love Lucie, you are right.  She made a monkey one too in a sort of burnt orange colour and, although I admired it and had already made the pattern up once myself in a double gauze fabric, I had no plans to add monkeys to my wardrobe.

Then I went shopping in Toulouse – aah, those were the days – and saw the same fabric in both this golden yellow colour and a dusky pink.  So, despite the fact that I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention in the normal course of events, I recalled Lucie’s lovely version and felt it was fate and had to buy some.  My friend advised against the pink as she said it didn’t do me any favours.  She was actually more specific than that but suffice it to say it was enough to make me decide on the yellow and feel vaguely depressed about my complexion.

Shortly after I’d finished it we went into lockdown and it just sat forlornly on the mannequin.  Well, as forlornly as something yellow covered in monkeys can look.   So I lost my dressmaking mojo.   The only thing I thought I might do, as I had the pattern, denim and all the trimmings already purchased, was make another pair of jeans.  Luckily, this idea was superceded which is just as well as any jeans I make now will, hopefully, be too big for me when Mr. Tialys is able to go back to work in the U.K. and leave me to resume the minimal feeding/drinking/baking I usually employ when left alone and don’t have a six foot four male to take into consideration.

Last year I made a clutch of summer dresses and don’t need any more.  In fact, I instructed Mr. Tialys, and anybody else who will allow me to give them instructions, not to let me make any more summer dresses.

There was a pattern that caught my eye though.  It had 20% off.  I knew I already had some fabric that would be perfect for it.  I often ignore instructions even when I’ve asked for them.  So, I bought the pattern even though that same honest friend told me the style probably wouldn’t suit my shape as it has a fitted bust and high waistline so would make me look ‘all bosom’.   This time, I didn’t let her sway me although I decided to make the dress a size bigger than usual forgetting that, when I do that, it usually fits me round the bust but is too big everywhere else and I lowered the waistline forgetting that I have quite a short waist so a high waist drafted for a normally waisted person is not high on me. So then, I had to do alterations which I hate with a passion.

I took the shoulder seam up which hoiked the waist up but also the darts so I had to shorten them.  Then I had to alter the sleeve armscyes so they would match up.  Then, there was too much ease in the back because, a) there should be ties on the back of the dress which I don’t like so didn’t add which meant the ease was sitting there not being used and b) I’d made it too big for me anyway.  So, I added darts in the back.  It’s practically a whole different dress!

Love the pockets!

Having faffed about with the pattern to make it both fit and suit me, I thought I might as well make another one and, this time, I would finally get around to learning how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) so that I could make the smaller size I need but accommodate my embonpoint as the French so delicately put it.  This is yet another valuable skill I now have thanks to lockdown.  Some of the others are choosing really bad films to watch on Netflix and not realising how bad they are until halfway through, becoming very discerning about how dark dark chocolate needs to be before I will eat it and how to avoid cooking/dog walking/shopping whilst having somebody else in the house who will do it instead.

Anyway, with FBA skills now in hand, I proceeded to make a sleeveless version of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Range dress – for that is the pattern of which I speak – in some other fabric I already had and, although it is pink, it is brighter and has a lot of black in it so will not hopefully have the same effect as the pink monkeys.

I still added back darts rather than use a tie on this version .  The sleeveless hack requires some bias facing which I did in the same fabric.

Some restrictions are supposed to be lifted here in France as of tomorrow.  At the very least we are not going to need a permission slip – filled in and signed by ourselves 🙄 – to leave the house and, although the ‘ladies that lunch’ lifestyle that a lot of people fondly imagine I enjoy, won’t be resuming any time soon, at least I’ll have dresses for when it does.

And monkeys of course.

 

Have you used your time in lockdown to learn any new skills?

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Another Flounce of Frocks

You may remember, in a previous post,  I was wondering if there was a collective noun for dresses/frocks and, in the absence of any definitive answer, came up with ‘a flounce’.  This time the ‘flounce’ is bigger.

As the weather’s been so hot I couldn’t countenance wearing my usual style of dresses and tops which tend to be quite fitted.  I just wanted something I could pull on and float around in when I need something more than shorts and a t-shirt – nothing too dressy, just comfortable and cool in the heat.  I searched through my patterns and the only one that fit the bill was this one which – probably due to the fact there is a very young girl modelling it and it’s very short – I bought to make for the Mademoiselles some time ago but never got round to it.

I made the first one in some cotton chemise in grey which looks really boring until you get up close and there are some sprigs of embroidery on it.   It creases a lot like linen but it’s supposed to be a ‘washed/distressed’ look so I guess it fits the bill.

It’s meant to have a back zip but what a pain they are to do up if you’re on your own in the house when you want to wear it – am I right?  So, I thought I’d try making it without a zip at all and see if I could pull it on over my head.  I know I can insert invisible zips quite efficiently so I wasn’t being lazy or a scaredy cat here, honest!  The dresses are lined so there are no facings or bias trims but you have to do that cool trick of partly constructing the dress and then pulling the backs through the shoulder seams to turn it all right side out.  One reason, I suppose, why I wouldn’t be able to cut the back on the fold instead of in two pieces if I want to use this lining method.

The dress was slightly too big for me on the neck and above the bust so, next time I made a size down but graded the back seam out a little around the area of the bust darts.

For the second version (my favourite so far) I used a rayon I’d bought in the Goldhawk Road a couple of years ago when I was there with Mlle Tialys the Elder where we went just a little bit crazy.

So, this one is almost perfect and I’ve worn it quite a lot so I thought I’d make another in a ‘distressed’ linen which I like but there are some flaws in the linen – a faded stripe here and there – one of which I managed to place just above my bust and the other just above my bum.  It’s almost as if I planned it like that.  Then, when I was using a tracing wheel to mark the darts on the fabric, I blindly reached for my small rotary cutter instead and ran it over one of the ‘legs’ of the dart.  The blade is getting a little blunt and the linen is quite tough so I thought I’d got away with it but, after construction, I noticed some of the threads pulling out so I did a bit of a repair, fortunately hidden on the inside by the lining, which may or may not hold.  Typical!

Creases and flaws but that’s linen for you.

I’m hoping the white lines will blend in a bit more with washing but it’ll be fine to wear to go to the supermarket etc. so I’m not too bothered.

The last one – because I was definitely on a roll this time and had all the alterations marked on the pattern – I decided to make with a round neck instead of a split neck.  However, the neckline is far too high for my liking so I scooped it out a bit more – another pattern piece change that I’ve remembered to mark in case I ever decide to made a 5th one!

Some of you might remember the rather odd fabric I bought in a charity/op/thrift shop for 4 euros a while back.  Something about it appealed to me but I had no idea what I’d make with it.

A maxi skirt would be good but the style might be a bit ‘hippyish’ for me.  Anyway, I thought it could work with this dress……

…and so it did (just needs hemming).

So, I should be able to see the rest of the Summer out with these handy little dresses that I can just pull on over my head and be done.

This pattern can now join my list of other ‘go to’ patterns which I know will turn out well without too much fuss.  Sewaholic’s Renfrew top is there at the top of my list too.

And, just to prove I do actually wear them and don’t just use them to dress up my mannequins –

Do you have a favourite pattern you keep going back to?

 

 

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