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.