There have been lots of questions about the dress I made this weekend, so thought I would add a few details for you.
The pattern I used was Vogue V8379. I made dress B with longer sleeves. I personally prefer the dress with no collar, but as it is winter, I wanted the longer sleeves. The short sleeved version would be a little easier as one of the only tricky parts to the pattern was figuring out how to stitch the sleeve band and attach it to the dress!
This is only my second attempt at the pattern and the first on my own. You can read all about the first attempt in Lyn Learns to Sew. I decided to try this again so I could be sure that I had understood what I learned last weekend with Kate. I always preach to my own students that it’s all well and good learning, but the key is to put it into practice as quickly as possible to ensure that you have really understood it and that the learning is strengthened and enhanced. There is specific research to show that this is true by Ebbinghaus called the forgetting curve. The concept is that each time you reinforce learning you forget a little less each time until you get to a point where you remember it all.
Kate had given me a piece of fabric to practice with and I really liked it! It has all the shades of colour in it that I like and that suit me and unbeknown to Kate, I do like animal print, although it is often tricky to find in cooler shades. It is widely available in warmer shades – think African grassland in yellow tones, rather than the cooler blue tones of the British Countryside!
Here is a close-up of the fabric. It’s a jersey with a good amount of stretch. I would guess a cotton/viscose mix. It was easier to work with than the bamboo/elastane mix of the first dress. The bamboo was much softer and more delicate, so a nicer feel on the skin, but more difficult to handle when sewing. I had to use a special jersey needle in the sewing machine for the bamboo, but with this fabric, a regular needle was fine.
The first challenge was to pin all the pattern pieces on to the fabric to make sure I could fit them all on with the grain line going in the right direction! I did have to re-pin a couple of times before I was happy with it. This was an early attempt with far too much space between the pieces! I started on Saturday late afternoon and had cut out all of the pieces and sat adding tailor’s tacks and basting whilst watching The Voice on Saturday evening! By Sunday morning, I was ready to start sewing. When I have a new challenge I like to get on with it. I enjoy doing it, but always like to get it finished so I can see the final piece! So, rather than having a Sunday morning lie in, I was up and sewing early.
I found the majority of the construction pretty straightforward – it is classified as a ‘very easy’ pattern to follow! The only pitfall on the bodice is getting the slit for the belt to go through on the right side, which I failed to do! The dress is symmetrical, so it didn’t actually matter, but having around six wrap dresses already, when I tried it on with the slit on the left, it just didn’t feel right, so with a small alteration, the belt slit is now on the correct side! Kate did warn me about this and I thought I had done it correctly, obviously not, so do take care with this. I had made up the bodice in about an hour and a half, including facings, so I was pretty pleased with that. The skirt was really easy. I had cut out the skirt back on the fold, so it reduced the need to sew an extra seam, so two seams later and attaching the skirt to the bodice and I was almost there. I had to pause here to get ready to go to visit my parents! My Mum is a sewer too – she taught me originally when I was about 11 I think. I used to make all my school skirts and tube skirts in lurid 1980’s shades! I have my Mum’s old sewing machine, which we realised is about 39 year’s old. She has a much newer one, so I thought I would take the sleeves over to finish off there as I remembered them being a bit tricky!
This is how the sleeve with the sleeve band attached should look. I was pleased to have my first dress to check as a guide. The pattern, in my opinion, is lacking in it’s description here. It took me some time to work out whether it was the right way around, so it was good to be able to double check it with Mum too! Even so, I did manage to sew it on wrong and Mum unpicked it for me while I did the next one!! I am really pleased with the finished look – it is definitely better than my first attempt!
Here is the finished dress. It doesn’t really go with my biker boots, but I was still at Mum’s. I shall have fun working out which accessories to wear with it. It’s a pretty busy pattern, so fairly plain I’m thinking. I may try to find some blue tights to match the pattern on the dress! The only modification I may make is to do something with the facings. They are not sitting properly and I think they will annoy me if they keep popping out! Happy sewing to my friends who try this!