Monday, October 5, 2015

Twirl to Me Dress

Months ago now, Debbie of Lily Sage & Co put out the call for volunteers to test out a girl's dress pattern, the Twirl to Me dress (this one).  She'd already made several for her daughters - this one, and this one, and this early hint - and they all looked rather special, so I very quickly put my hand up, assuming the dress would be right up my daughter's alley.

At the time I sewed this my daughter was a very tall 7 year old (135cm tall or 4'5"), so I chose to sew the dress in a size 8.  The pattern didn't include a height chart, but the chest measurement for a size 8 looked to fit my daughter's measurements and Debbie's daughters are tall so I assumed the dress would be drafted for tall girls.

The dress is a trapeze shape with a high-low hem and a clever shoulder straps that culminate in a bow on the front.

The armhole melds in with the half crescent on the front of the dress to make a lovely shape...

... and the dress is fantastic for twirling and dancing!

These photos were taken several months ago at the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and the dress was already verging on too tight and too short.  The chest width would have been perfect if I'd done everything right, but I cut the dress out late at night and mistakenly cut the front with a centre seam. To try to make the curved bodice fit the shape of the underarm curve neatly as it's supposed to (the pieces do line up exactly if you cut out and sew accurately!) I sewed a narrow centre front seam and slightly narrowed the side seams only on the front dress pieces, but I think I still lost about 1.5cm in the total circumference.

I know the dress doesn't look too short in these photos, but I guess we all have different lengths we're prepared to wear, and this just felt too short to my daughter...

Sadly my daughter only wore the dress for these photos, and it's now well and truly too small.  I don't have a younger daughter or niece to pass this dress onto either, so it's now free to a good home :).

My sewing on this dress isn't immaculate, but it's not terrible either. The fabric is 100% cotton, apart from a little bit of cotton-poly bias binding under the arms and there are two sweet pink buttons on the back. The white patch on the inside of the dress at centre front is interfacing - this stabilises the hole where the bow comes through at the front of the dress:

The chest circumference is 64cm / 25" (with my extra centre front seam!!), and the dress measures 60cm / 25" at the front from the top of the half crescent to the hemline (and obviously longer in the back).

Let me know in the comments if you have a little girl a bit smaller than mine who'd like this dress - I'm happy to mail worldwide.

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx

Purple Merino Dress

I know I haven't blogged for ages - I got stuck writing about my Frocktails cape (so much to say about that one!) and then we had a couple of trips too, and not-writing-blog-posts became more of a habit than its opposite. Anyway, to ease myself back in to blogging, I'll start with something simple that doesn't need too much of a description: this basic merino wool dress.

The pattern here is KwikSew 3463, which I picked up for $1 in a second hand shop a few months ago when the weather was chilly.  The pattern is really for a tunic and leggings, both in a stretch knit, but a tunic is just a shorter version of a dress, isn't it?  The shape is very simple, but when the fit is right I think this is the sort of pattern - much like Tilly's Coco dress, or Sewaholic's Renfrew - that can quickly become a TNT.

I sewed the size M based on the body measurements chart on the back of the envelope, and lengthened the sleeves by 2cm and the tunic by 24cm. From memory I think that was the full length I could cut from my fabric; I had just 1.18 metres of this 160cm wide medium weight merino wool from The Fabric Shop.

I sewed the dress primarily with my overlocker, but the neckline is sewn by folding over the seam allowance and then twin needle stitching the folded fabric with some enclosed clear elastic for stability. And the hems on the sleeves and skirt were ironed in place using medium weight Sew It, the cheap Lincraft version of Steam-A-Seam.

You can see in the above photo that I've sewn the wrong size - the shoulders are too wide on me, and the armhole is a lot too low.  When my arms are down the sleeves sit well though - none of the angled elephant wrinkles I've seen on some poorly drafted sleeves - and the neckline is a lovely shape too.

On the back view I think you get a better sense of the overall fit of the dress - it's just a bit big and a bit long all over, though the pattern is generally a good one.

I have worn the dress a couple of times as I love the fabric colour, but I don't think it looks very good on - I've hemmed the dress a bit too long, making it dowdy, and I need to take in the seams on the sleeves and upper body.  I'd probably like the look of it more with a slip underneath, but the dress is already very warm by itself, so that's not really an option.  

I'm thinking about turning the dress into a top and elastic waisted, lined skirt, but last week the weather flicked into hot here in Sydney (35 Centigrade or 95 Fahrenheit) and I've already got too way many works in progress, so for now I'm just going to put this away for the year with the rest of my winter clothes.

I'll be back soon - thanks for reading!

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx
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