My lack of love for this dress is mainly to do with my fabric choice. I bought it for a bargain £2.50 a metre from A1 fabrics on Goldhawk Road. I'm not sure what it is, some sort of synthetic imitation brocade and not particularly pleasant to the touch, but I'd been hunting for quite some time for an upholstery weight fabric to hold the tulip of the skirt with a pattern that wasn't too curtain like so I went with it. I actually bought it with the intention of using it to make my final version of Elisalex for the wedding but I didn't get on to making it right away and when I picked it up again a couple of weeks later I couldn't shake the feeling it wasn't quite right. I knew I wanted to make a muslin of the dress as I wanted to get the fit right and to try out the unusual shape of the skirt so decided to make it a wearable one and make use of the fabric that way.
I'm so pleased I didn't attempt to use this fabric for my final dress. It was a nightmare to sew with despite being nice and firm and non slippy, frayed all over the place and as you can probably see from the pictures didn't want to be pressed AT ALL. A cool iron did absolutely nothing except produce an unpleasant shine, a warmer iron melted the fabric (yes. melted. so synthetic it's basically plastic). I know this because I managed to melt a big old patch in one of the rear skirt pieces, right in the middle of the bum. Luckily I'd bought three metres and this dress needs nowhere near that so I recut that piece, although I nearly didn't and almost made it up hole and all I was that frustrated with the fabric and certain I'd never wear it.
Despite all that I'm in love with this bodice, I will be making it again and again with all different styles of skirts. The neckline is GORGEOUS, the princess seams are super flattering and easy to adjust and I love the instructions from the By Hand London girls on how to line it. I used a dusky pink silk habotai from my local market for this, it needed less than half a metre as you are only cutting the front and back bodice pieces. The princess seams were a little trickier in this delicate silk but it was so worth the hassle as it feels so nice to wear! It was my first time lining any part of a garment and it was so easy I've already done it twice more.
|Exterior and Interior of the Armholes|
Despite that and all the fabric issues I don't hate this version, I'm just not sure where I'd wear it. I think I'm going to slim down the sleeves, possibly even cut them shorter into almost cap sleeves as nearly every dress I own has this style of sleeve. I'm not a long sleeve person, whenever I do wear them they end up pushed up as far as they will go. Looking at the lovely version by Threaded and what she did to the skirt I could try slimming it down by taking it in down the side seams, reducing the scale and hopefully making it feel a little more 'me'. Plus even if I don't wear it I'm still pleased with all the practise of different sewing techniques I got making it!
|Hand Stitched Hem|
|An Actually Invisible Zip!|
So the main lesson learned from making this is...don't use fabrics which you don't love JUST because you like the print, they're cheap or they match the requirements of the pattern. After using the beautiful sateen from Mood for my Circle-Skirted Elisalex and experiencing what it's like to sew with a better quality and more expensive fabric my tastes have definitely got a lot more picky. There are some great quality bargains to be found in places like Goldhawk Road and Walthamstow Market, but I've definitely worked out how to, by touch, filter the good from the bad.
UPDATE! I'd written this post before I got the chance to take the pictures and actually now I've seen the pictures I'm feeling a helluva lot better about it than seeing it in my head/in the mirror... maybe a bit of time to forget about the nightmares with the fabric has helped too! I think I'm going to give this skirt another shot...