Woo Hoo! I got my sew on! So, as I wrote about in the last couple of posts, I decided to bite the bullet and instead of waiting for all the maternity weight to drop off I jumped in and made a dress which fits my current size. Why did I do it? simply put its because the weight is not shifting as fast as I would like and I'm fed up of having nothing to wear that I fit into! Too small for maternity and too big for my regular wardrobe. I wanted something a bit nicer to wear that wasn't a pair of leggings and an oversized cardi for a change.
As part of my recent fabric splurge I bought this very cheap striped cotton sateen from ebay (it was like £3.50 a meter or something stupid) so thought sod it, at that price it doesn't matter if I don't get that much wear out of it.
The dress is a hack of the top part of Cynthia Rowley 1873 (which was free from a magazine) and the skirt from the belladone dress by Deer and Doe. I didn't like the skirt that was part of the Cynthia Rowley pattern but because of the stripes I needed something with a pleat rather than a circle skirt to keep them straight. The belladone skirt pattern worked perfectly. I had to do a bit of playing with the darts and pleats to get them to sit in line with the bodice but I'm really pleased with how they came out. It also includes a cheeky pocket which I love (even if it does accentuate the hip).
I REALLY tried with this dress to get the stripes to match across all pieces, which I wasn't far off, but I could hear May Martin in my head the whole time I was doing this telling me that it's a shame that they are slightly off. The perfectionist in me really wanted to pull the thing apart and re-sew the seam a fraction of an inch to get them perfect. Thankfully the realist in me took over and made me realise that it had already taken me three weeks to do about four hours of sewing so it just wasn't a sensible idea. I think for the meantime I just have to accept that having something wearable is the end goal, not something which is a thing of perfection. Also, sleepless nights are not very conducive to perfect sewing!
I have learnt a bit about fitting to my new post pregnancy shape as well. Needless to say, my bust has grown, and so has my waist. So taking these measurements (and the finished bust size on the pattern) I cut out my new size, which graded from a 12 in the bust to a 14 in the waist (this scares my pre-size 6 waisted self) and stitched it up without any bust adjustment as it didn't imply I needed any with this new bigger size. Well, turns out, just because my bust and waist are bigger, it doesn't mean my back has grown, turns out my back and shoulders are pretty much the same as they were before. Next time I need to do a bust adjustment and grade from a smaller size in the back and shoulders to a bigger size at the bottom. The result of this is that the neck and shoulder lines are a bit baggy, but that's nothing a good cardigan (which I never don't wear anyway) won't hide. Thankfully the bust darts are sitting ok on this.
So despite the things that bug me about this dress, there are a few things I am really proud of. Firstly, I did my first bit of topstitching to make the facing stay to the inside. That stuff actually works! Who knew, and it was very neat. I am really pleased with the movement of the pleats and darts to get them to line up, the side seams aren't perfect, but they are pretty darn close, and finally, the pockets. I love that these babies are done with a different fabric, it just takes away from the dominant stripe a bit. You can probably guess I did this on purpose because the thought of trying to match the stripe across the pocket as well just made my brain hurt, but I do like the outcome. The fabric was some of the free polka dot cotton which came free with the first issue of the new Simply Sewing Mag. Thankfully I still have enough left to make the headband pattern from the insert.
So in the end I have made myself a cute little dress which I can wear out and about, despite a few flaws and problems along the way. I hope you like it and can forgive me my little sewing faux pahs, at the end of the day, I have decided I don't care ;)