I made this dress up as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Challenge; basically each month the lovely people at Minerva Crafts choose an item/items from their stock and ask sewing bloggers to email them with ideas of how they would like to use that item. They then pick a few of those ideas they'd like to see come to life and send those bloggers everything they need to make up their vision. This month there was a choice between three different prints on stretch cotton canvas. I chose this beautiful dappled print as it's exactly the kind of thing I gravitate to, my kind of colours a random and slightly unusual print. (Do check out Minerva Crafts if you haven't heard of them before, they have a huge selection of both fabrics and notions including some really unusual and harder to find bits and pieces. I've just come across this other polycotton canvas on their site... loving it!)
I basically jumped at the chance to write in with an idea for a make, as soon as I saw this fabrics' properties I knew what I wanted to use it for. After making up a couple of versions of both the Charlotte Skirt and Elisalex Dress from By Hand London and loving them I knew at some point I wanted to try and mix the two together, using the princess seamed bodice from the Elisalex with the fitted skirt of the Charlotte to create an Elisalotte wiggle dress (much like Rachel and Lizzy). Both of these patterns suggest a heavyweight fabric, even upholstery weight, with a bit of stretch so I had been keeping an eye out for a while for something along those lines which would give it some structure but flexibility for comfort. Then Minerva popped up with 'stretch cotton canvas' described as 'comfortable to wear and forgiving'...perfect!
|I probably didn't pick the best backdrop to photograph this print against...but good camouflage hey?!|
The only changes I made to the patterns was firstly to alter the sleeves to my preferred length, the same as I did with my Circle-Skirted Elisalex. I actually had planned to do the full lengths sleeves this time and did make them up and set them in but in this print it just seemed a little bit too much. I was unsure about what length I wanted instead so cut a bit off at a time, trying out three quarter length, mid bicep, almost deciding to rip them out an go with no sleeves before finally settling on the cap shape I feel comfortable with.
Inside I followed By Hand's instructions for lining the bodice and for this I used a lighter weight plain black stretch cotton for the bodice lining left over from my Lace Scout Tee, total proof that keeping your scraps is a good idea!
I finished the seam allowances beneath the lining by simply pinking them which actually worked well on both fabrics. However for the exposed seam allowances I knew I wanted to make a bit of a feature of them with a Hong Kong bound finish. The generous people at Minerva also sent me two lots of bias binding to choose from and I decided to give this new to me lycra binding a go. It's a great product and I think it would be even better used in sports or maybe even swimwear when that elasticity is really needed. Personally I'm not sure I will use it again in everyday clothing as I'm not loving the shine of the lycra; I tend to work with quite matt fabrics.
I'm so pleased with how neat it looks inside! Looking at these pictures really makes me want to make a little black Elisalotte, think that could be a wardrobe staple!
I'm really loving this dress, the combination of this skirt and bodice with this fabric has just worked out so well. Smart, flattering and comfortable...win!