The problem is I tend to pin and forget. I’m always distracted by the latest pattern, a new piece of fabric (or an old piece rediscovered) and so I pin and pin and pin but never really look at my board.
This changed recently however when I was shoulder surfing my work colleague A as she was scrolling through an online clothing store called The Iconic. I spotted this blue and pink striped dress and I wanted it immediately. I asked her to send me the link where I promptly pinned it.
The next day I was still thinking about that dress and that weekend I found myself in a fabric store. Obviously the perfect blue and pink striped fabric wasn’t available so I went looking for the plain cottons. PLAINS?! What was wrong with me? I almost never buy plain fabric, 90% of my stash is prints.
Exhibit B: Suddenly under my arm were pink and blue bolts of cotton and I had my phone out browsing for that pin. Funnily enough on my phone I noticed it was actually black and pink but I liked the colours I’d grabbed so I decided on a little designers prerogative.
I also noticed that if you look carefully at the dress it’s not very well made – check out that top stitching on the armhole and the top of the vee in the back. Ugh!
For my pattern I originally picked Vogue 1353 because I’ve made it twice before (version 2 will be blogged soon) and I really like the skirt. However the bodice is princess seamed and that really wasn’t going to work with the stripes so I swapped the bodice out for the more simple Sew Over It Betty Dress with two darts. I’ve made it a total of three times now (version 1, version 2, and version 3 is awaiting photos).
My plan was to make the fabric from scratch and then cut out my pattern from there.
I eyeballed the width of the stripes by comparing the front bodice piece with the picture of the Iconic dress. I decided 15cms plus seam allowance was about right and began cutting my two fabrics into strips. Then the fun began, lots and lots of overlocking followed by lots and lots of straight stitching and then lots and lots of pressing!
I think I spent longer making my fabric than sewing up the dress!
I placed my bodice pieces on the fabric using the Iconic dress as a guide and then carefully matched the the stripes for the back bodice too. The sides darts on the front will lift up the lowest stripe so I lined up the top two stripes and cut each back bodice piece individually for better accuracy.
I really enjoy having pockets in my 99 Hot Air Balloons Dress so now I put in-seam pockets in ALL my dresses. That pocket piece was a little small so for this dress I lengthened it to a more useful size – no more peeking cell phone 🙂
In-seam pockets are a really easy and useful addition to any dress or skirt with side seams. You can cut the pocket pieces from the same fabric as your dress/skirt, or use a contrasting fabric or print for some hidden fun. Pretty pockets are a fun way to use up beautiful pieces of scrap fabric, fat quarters or remnants.
For this dress I’ve cut the pockets from my lining fabric, a lightweight cotton in blue.
- Cut your pocket piece out 4 times, you want 2 matching pairs.
- Finish your skirt side seams and all edges of the 4 pocket pieces. I used an overlocker.
- Pin your pocket pieces to the side seams of the front and back of your skirt, right sides together.
- I like the top of my pockets about 15cm below my waist seam, measure carefully so everything lines up.
- Attach the pockets by sewing along the side seam at the seam allowance specified by your pattern. I used 1.5cm.
- Do this for all four pocket pieces.
- Fold each pocket out and press towards the skirt seam allowance.
- To stop the pocket from turning out we’ll under-stitch the pocket piece to the side seam of the skirt.
- Stitch close to the edge of the fold on the pocket piece.
- Do this for all four pocket pieces.
- Now continue sewing as per your pattern instructions and when it’s time to sew the side seams simply sew until you get to the pocket, then sew out around the pocket and then continue along the side seam.
- Easy peasy!
Despite being told it looks like I’m wearing James May’s favourite jumper as a dress (yes, it has its own tumblr), or various Cheshire cat references, I’m really happy with it!
Ok now it’s time to be honest and admit I made a wee mistake when swapping in the Sew Over It bodice. Despite writing myself a note I completely forgot to compare the length to the Vogue bodice which is a little bit shorter. This makes the skirt sit lower than it should and you can probably see it’s a bit tight because of this. The bottom of the bodice is pretty straight so what I’ll do is unpick the skirt and then reattach it 2cms higher. I’ll have to do the same with the lining and also unpick the bottom part of the zipper and re-do that. This will also bring the hem up 2cms which is fine because I hemmed it as per my first version of Vogue 1353 and it’s a little long.
Mistakes happen but this can be saved and all that unpicking will be worth it because: Pockets!
Harriet approves! And so does my other new friend… Happy sewing xx