Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cassie's dress

I made a dress for Cassie.
Soooo, in clothing my boys I have played about as much as I dared, adding fun little details and extra bits and bobs here and there to their handmade garments, perfecting the tailoring...  but the fact remains that  the most glorious and drool-worthy fabrics, the ones I get really excited about when I enter the fabric store, are usually best suited to girls.  It is so much harder to find really exhilarating fabrics for boys.  A daughter is such fun to dress up, and I have dressed Cassie up her entire life.  And I am still indulging in lovely fabrics and designs just for her as often as I can!
This fabric always called to both of us whenever we entered Fabulous Fabrics.  If it looks anywhere near half-divine in these pictures then let me assure you it is ten times more divine in the flesh.  So to speak.  (In the "fabric"??)  It is a fluid silk printed with an other-wordly underwater design of strange and disharmonious hues; impressionist seahorses suggested in blotches of emerald, lime and crimson, floating in a deep khaki tracery of seaweed, itself stark against a watermarked sea of unlikely cloudy pink, mauve and royal purple.
Quite beautiful, no?
To make the most of the print, I started out with a real oldie pattern that I have had for a few years, originally a gift from my friend P from her mother's stash.  Vogue 7610 is a very simple shift dress with straight side seams (the reason I chose it) and adapted it as follows; 
(Warning: dressmaking details following, boring to anyone not interested in dressmaking)
The design had wide front shoulders gathered into the back shoulders; I redrafted these to be the same width so as to eliminate the gathering.  I decided that gathering would detract from the print and only the plainest of designs would allow it to shine as much as possible...
I laid the front and back down together, overlapping at the right side seam, and cut out the dress as one whole piece, eliminating the right side seam.  Again, to preserve the print intact as much as I could...
Instead of four separate little neckline and armhole facing pieces (unnecessarily narrow and awkward little things if I ever saw them), I cut a whole bodice facing, again all in one (pictured above) and eliminating the right side seam. I left the natural fabric selvedge in place to act as the finish to the lower edge of the bodice facing.
There was just enough fabric to make a kind of narrow obi belt with long skinny ties, but she can substitute one of her long skinny leather ones that wrap around several times about her waist if she wants to dress it down.
I left off the pocket.  I had not enough fabric.  I was left with literally tiny scraps totalling up to about 15cm square when I had finished.  Fabric efficient, or what?!
After a spot of secretive measuring of her existing dresses, plus a few surreptitious try-ons on myself, I determined that the left side seam could also be sewn up and no zip would be necessary for closure.  So simple!  So basically this is a two piece dress, with no closure.  The facings were under-stitched (in pale pink) as much as possible, the raw edges overlocked to finish, and the lower hem hand slip-stitched in emerald green.  I agonised somewhat over the thread colour here, but I think the stitches are happily near-invisible, yes?  Along with the horizontal placement of the pattern piece onto the print, achieving the perfect hem depth was the next most agonising detail; it is deep enough to make the dress short enough for her tastes, but not so deep as to cut into and unbalance the overall print placement on the dress.

53 comments:

  1. this dress is beautiful!! And the simplicity of it compliments the fabric perfectly. You did a lovely job, I'm sure your daughter loves it!

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  2. You did a wonderful job with placement of the design. What a beautiful, simple and elegant dress! Your daughter looks lovely!

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  3. Gorgeous dress! Your daughter looks just like you!

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  4. I can understand why you fell in love with this fabric. It's absolutely gorgeous! Ingenious how you dealt with the border print. So simple, but so, so beautiful.

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  5. That is lovely fabric and I love the purples and greens with Cassie's hair! She has your elegant figure which is perfect for this simple (?) shift dress. It really enhances the fabric. Lovely as always.

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  6. Cassie's dress is beautiful, and she looks lovely wearing it! Very dressy, yet as you say, can be 'dressed down' with different accessories.

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  7. Wow, that's amazing! The fabric is gorgeous, and it looks so great on Cassie!
    I'll have to try that trick of putting the pieces together and eliminating a side seam - I never would have thought of it myself, and yet it makes such good sense for printed fabric.

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  8. Absolutely beautiful dress.
    Gorgeous fabric.
    I enjoy reading your well thought out pattern renovations.
    The photos are superb!

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  9. That fabric is absolutely gorgeous! A simple pattern is perfect to show it off.

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  10. Gorgeous dress! You made perfect adjustments to a pattern you already had to showcase the truly lovely fabric!

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  11. Great use of that gorgeous fabric. Beautiful dress!

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  12. Oh my, what a beautiful fabric and beautiful dress. Cassie looks amazing in it. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

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  13. That is the coolest fabric I have seen in a very long time! There is nothing like that at the fabric stores I have nearby. I love this so much!

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  14. wow I love that fabric, perfect dress style choice for it.

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  15. Oh wow, this is amazing! The fabric, your pattern alterations and of course your daughter are all lovely. :-) I lovelovelove when one can really use a fabric for it's print and do as little cutting as possible! I do that a lot, and is also usually left with almost no scraps at all. It's the best way of sewing, so satisfying to know you used every last bit! Also it's really great when working with fabrics that fray easily, the less cutting the better!

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  16. What a lovely dress! (And the dressmaking details are really interesting - I love hearing about the thought process for each dress. )

    Happy New Year!

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  17. Just gorgeous! Eliminating the side seam was an inspired way to leverage the amazing print. Imagine, a woven sheath dress with no zippers!!

    Gorgeous. :)

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  18. Wow, what a gorgeous dress! You should write descriptions for fabric websites...your description of that fabric is great!

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  19. So very beautiful! Lucky Cassie!

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  20. That dress is stunning! Congratulations on a huge victory!

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  21. This dress is stunning. The fabric is so delicate and beautiful Cassie is incredibly lucky to have such a talented Mum .

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  22. This dress is beautiful and looks so lovely on your daughter.

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  23. A really stunning dress and the fabric is gorgeous and so unique!

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  24. Brilliant dress! You thought of everything to let the fabric be the star.

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  25. Amazing fabric and Cassie looks gorgeous!! I love sewing for my daughter too - just bought that Burda shirt pattern. Thanks for the details.

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  26. Amazing fabric! Perfect pattern choice for it too. Nice job! I bet Cassie loves her new dress.

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  27. It's a beautiful dress and the fabric does indeed look devine. I love your description of the fabric print too!

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  28. The dress is stunning, a perfect combination of pattern and fabric. I love the idea of eliminating the side seam, I am mentally filing that away for future use. You are brilliant.

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  29. That fabric is SO beautiful - and your dress minus the side seam looks fabulous. A lovely creation :)

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  30. Oh that is the most gorgeous dress. The colour is superb on your daughter and suits her to perfection.

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  31. Your daughter is beautiful in this wonderful dress. The deceptive simplicity of the shape(wonderful cutting skills you have!)and the soft colours in that fabulous fabric are lovely on her. So often an amazing fabric wears the person, but this dress just lets her shine. What a great job.

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  32. This fabric is simply beautiful. You've done an excellent job of preserving the pattern. She looks simply breathtaking in it.

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  33. What a spectacular piece of fabric for that dress, Carolyn! It's beyond adjectives. I have often cut dresses or skirts with one seam like you did for this, in order to preserve a pattern or make the most out of not-quite-enough-fabric for a project. Your daughter is stunning in her dress.

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  34. Wow! Stunning, stunning, stunning! The fabric, the dress and certainly your daughter! It looks gorgeous. The obi belt is perfect. I hope she has lot of chances to wear it, and doesn't leave it at the back of the closet saving it for "best."

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  35. Both the fabric and the dress are so pretty! You did an excellent job fitting the pattern onto the print.

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  36. Beautiful (both daughter and dress!) The pictures have a really ethereal quality.

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  37. Ditto to all the positive comments!

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  38. This is really interesting-I love the way you reduced the dress to one piece plus a facing. It is very, very beautiful and just enchanting on your daughter. May I pin one of the pictures to Pinterest? I'd like to follow your lead on a similar design for a spring shift.

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  39. This is so nice! She wears it with her mom's elegance, no?

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  40. Your description of the fabric is as beautiful as the dress itself. I am always impressed at how much thought you put into choosing the perfect pattern and then the necessary alterations to capture the fabric perfectly. A masterpiece as always xx

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  41. Huh, you're brilliant! The fabric is really beautiful, and it's so cool that you thought of leaving off the side seam! Cassie looks very pretty!

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  42. What a beautiful fabric and dress. Your daughter looks stunning in it. Well done!

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  43. The most beautiful fabric ever.
    Could you make a hanky out of the scraps - a pity to waste such divine fabric. lol.

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  44. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Cassie is such a lucky girl! I wish my mum would make me some things. :( Does she sew too?

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  45. Thank you everybody for such lovely comments!
    Janine; making a hanky using lovely scraps is a great idea if you have a piece large enough, which I did not. This is a waste free project!

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  46. I just love this dress and your daughter looks amazing in it. Just Gorgeous!

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  47. What a print!!
    And silk is always gorgeous isn't it?

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  48. What a truly gorgeous fabric! The simpler style of dress is the perfect way to showcase it.

    Your daughter is a very lucky girl.

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