A Marvelous Dress*

Oh my poor neglected blog…

Let’s see a new dress shall we…and by “new” I mean from April…

This is the face I made when my husband asked if I was really going to wear my new dress to work:

Duh!

This creation is a mashup of two fabulous Indie pattern designer dress patterns: Sew Over It’s Betty Dress and Jennifer Lauren Handmade’s Laneway Dress that I was lucky enough to pattern test near the end of last year.

Fully lining the dress gave me a good chance to test out the fit and pattern combo before cutting into my precious fabric. Harriet clearly agreed, as usual she took her supervisory role very seriously, testing both fabrics thoroughly for comfort!

As with most full skirted patterns the quilting fabric wasn’t wide enough for the full swing of the side seam so I had to piece the corners. I had just enough fabric to pattern match my triangles on the front skirt piece but the back and to be unmatched…not that anyone will notice!

Sewing Avengers ASSEMBLE!

I usually cut my pockets from the lining fabric but to make them extra stealthy on this dress I cut them from the dress fabric so they blend right in. I don’t need to tell you that pockets are great so of course secret pockets are even better!

I went for a black invisible zipper at the back to blend in with the character outlines. After I turned my lining out I just needed to decide on buttons for the front collar.

I saw some amazing wooden buttons on Etsy that had the Avengers ‘A’ on them but they were too big. I messaged another seller who said they could customise the size but they never got back to me. Later that week I woke up one morning with the sudden memory of buying covered button kits from a thrift shop.

 

I went digging through my stash. Only $1.00? No wonder I bought them! Plus they were the perfect size match for the star on Captain America’s shield.

And then I hit a snag…I do it every time. I buy a single spool of thread thinking that one day I’ll win the Thread Roulette game but so far I never have. Two long hems will do that!

But totally worth it, check out this twirl!

I do wear my dress to work…usually on a Friday but also on other days when I feel like it…The first Friday ended up having a surprise client meeting thrown in! Everyone loved it, but they’re used to my crazy dresses by now.

The way you dress has power over you. This dress makes me feel ridiculously happy and instantly lifts my mood. I want to twirl around and laugh at myself and that’s a good thing.

So, just for fun, here is a silly Hulk pose…with petticoat, of course.

THE DEETS:

Pattern –

Fabric – 

  • Marvel Kawaii All in the Pack Multi 100% Cotton from fabric.com, USD$6.38/yard, purchased July 2017
  • Lined in blue cotton poplin from Spotlight, $5.99/m

Other notions – $1.00 Self-covered button kit from Who Knows Where!, black invisible zipper, thread.

Did you like Hulk? Maybe I spend too much time playing around in Photoshop…

Or maybe not.

*See what I did there? 😉

 

 

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“Up, up and away!”, it rhymes with Laneway

Finished items I’ve yet to blog about:

“New” Vintage Sewing Machines I’ve yet to blog about:

  • Bernina 125
  • Brother 190 Flairmatic
  • Pfaff 332-260
  • 1880s (?!) Beale and Company Handcrank transverse shuttle (possibly a rebadged Frister and Rossman)
  • 1910 Singer 15k treadle in no. 22 Drawing Cabinet

Items I’m supposed to have finished already:

  • Resignations Coat (Pauline Alice Quart Coat)…but I was waiting on new zippers to match my buttons. They finally arrived last week courtesy of the double slackness that is Australia and New Zealand Post.
  • Secret present (2 of 2)

Two of those lists are quite long…so obviously I’m blogging about none of those things today! 😉

For a while I used to pattern test regularly for Sewaholic and Papercut patterns. Pattern testing has had a bit of a rough time lately because, well, if you know why, then you know why…I really enjoyed pattern testing for these two brands only because both designers actually listened to my (and others) honest feedback about fit, instructions, etc…and incorporated these into the final release. I don’t pattern test for either designer anymore and I’ve missed it a little bit so I was excited when Jennifer Lauren announced she was looking for pattern testers and her reasons behind it. I signed up, it’s nice to help support a fellow Kiwi designer. I like her style but I’ve never sewn one of her patterns before…

Ok, that’s enough of an explanation. I was chosen for the first month of pattern testing for recently released The Laneway Dress. I was very excited because I really liked the look of the pattern when it came out.

I picked my fabric first, even before I got the pattern in my inbox 🙂

I pulled out a few options from my stash: Three are fun “quilting” cottons and you’ll notice the rayon that everyone else in the blogosphere also owns. I dismissed that as too light-weight and settled on the balloon girls because I love them and with the asymmetrical collar option it would be fun to play with the solid colours for the facing.

I tested out a few options and settled on red…although pink came close.

The Pattern:

With access to a large format printer it’s been a while since I’ve printed a pattern on A4 sheets but I decided to go old school to thoroughly test the process. Real-job has been a bit crazy lately, sometimes assembling and tracing patterns can be relaxing, methodical work.

The layout page was really helpful with both the test box and a full layout of the entire file nicely organised by pattern cup and piece which made printing really easy. However now is the perfect time to point out the 2 sheets that contained nothing but two little triangles of the skirt edge, in sizes I wasn’t even going to use…It’s only two sheets and I know this happens because the process of creating an A4 paged file is automated but to turn this into some constructive criticism I have a suggestion that I hope to one day to see implemented:What if the little corner bits were added to a page that had a bit more room? Both of the sheets (page 51 and 60) could have fitted on this sheet.

Ok, let’s move on with a game of Spot The Kitty Toes…also if you regularly assemble PDF patterns and don’t have a paper-cutter go and get yourself one right now…I’ll wait 😉

I chose my size from the finished garment measurements chart in the instructions and double checked by comparing the bodice pieces pattern to another favourite pattern. Then I selected my cup size by measuring my full and under bust as suggested in the instructions.

The instructions:

Really nicely laid out with clear diagrams. I like how each new section of the process is headed up on a new page and numbered clearly. I don’t print my instructions, I view them on my tablet, so I have no issue with the layout being clearly spaced out if it adds clarity.

I also think it’s great that stay stitching and finishing cues are included. Lots of seam allowance reminders and little tips spread throughout without being too hand-holdy and bogging down the more experienced.

Having said that, I made some changes and added in a few extra steps, the kinds of things that I always just do.

Sewing:

First up, I’m not a fan of facings. They’re too shallow so they are annoying to iron and always flip out.

So for my Laneway dress I decided to fully line to the waist but I used the facing pieces to cut my fusible interfacing.

I had some grand plans initially to try to reduce some bulk at the waist by sewing the darts of both layers together and eliminate having to do any hand sewing at the armhole but in the end I just couldn’t get the steps right in my head so I continued on treating the bodice lining as per the instructions for the facing.

Ready to go!

Making sleeves…

I added in some under-stitching to the pockets to help stop them flipping out. I usually like to sew my pocket bags in a contrast colour for some hidden fun but because these pockets are caught in the waist band I suspected they would gape a tiny bit so I stuck with the self fabric this time around…I did use red overlocking thread 😉

I also under-stitched around the neck, catching the lining to the seam allowance after I attached it. While I was doing this I forgot about the folded collar detail and went a bit too far. The stitching was visible with the lining folded out so I had to unpick back to before the fold to keep it hidden. I’m still glad I did as much as I could to keep the lining sitting nicely at the neck and shoulder.

I always add stay-tape down the center back seam. It helps add some stability before inserting the zipper.

I love that ironing the zipper teeth open is included in the instructions. When I learnt this trick a few years ago it was a game changer.

I was also really happy to see the instruction for machine stitching the facing down over the zipper – You guys know I hate hand stitching and I’m always a little confused when I see instructions to hand stitch the facing/lining to the zipper tape. You will hear me splutter “Why?! You can do that by machine!”

Yay!

All Finished!

I am really REALLY happy with the fit. The release darts fit really nicely under the bust and the C cup is perfect with plenty of room for the ladies.

Next version I’d like to add a bit more flare into the skirt, just a bit. I’ll also put the pockets in lower down and not catch them at the waist. They definitely flare open a little and add to my hips. I love my hips but they don’t need any extra help 😉

The skirt is not full enough for my red petticoat – didn’t stop me trying…

In the back I have a little bit of pooling over my bottom, more than you can see in this photo (hands in pockets helps!) so I’ll do a little sway back adjustment next time – this is a typical fitting issue for me.

The sleeves are great, not too loose, I like the length and they have good movement.

I dug the buttons out of my stash (Yessss! Bonus stash points!) I don’t know where I got them from (maybe a Fabric-a-brac find) but I think they are pretty perfect.

In the end I had to hand stitch the lining at the armhole and waist. It only took one episode of Rick and Morty so not too long and it was good practice I guess…I’ll crack this puzzle, just you wait…

To finish it off my fabric had a really beautiful slevedge that I decided I had to use somewhere on the dress. I ended up keeping the cute saying and then adding my tag over the top of another section so I had an extra chicky and flower.

You can also see the under-stitching to the lining in this photo.

So that’s it!

Do I recommend this pattern? Oh yes. Great drafting, clear instructions – I can’t wait to see the other tester’s versions (I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers and I’m probably last to post due to winter lurgies) and more great patterns from Jennifer Lauren.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Jennifer Lauren Handmade Laneway Dress, straight size 14, C cup

Fabric – 

Other notions – Invisible zipper, interfacing, buttons

So helpful…