I've liked how Caroline is making good use of old Tshirts lately. And Tim did a clean-out of his wardrobe recently, and part of the toss-out pile was a few old surfie Tshirts, in shades of blue, navy, grey and black... there were cool prints and interesting stitching details... and my brain started ticking over. I saw artistic possibilities.
Also I have just bought a few new patterns recently, and Vogue 1281 was mysteriously part of my haul, a very pretty, extremely flatteringly shaped, draped cocktail dress.
This is the thing, you see; when it comes to sewing I like to be challenged and so I prefer the more interesting, difficult and intricate styles and it so happens that these patterns are also usually the most formal and prettiest of little cocktail numbers, totally unsuited to my actual lifestyle. Most of my days are very casual; I walk my dog, I go to the beach and climb over rocks and walk through the bush, I work at home and I do the housework; so what is a girl to do? Well I'll tell you what this girl does; she still stubbornly ploughs ahead and sews up the challenging and intricate patterns she loves, but by using the most casual and grungiest fabrics I think this rather formal style has happily become a very cool dress with a deconstructed urban style that fits in very well with my tastes as well as my actual lifestyle. I am thrilled with how it turned out, and could not be happier with my new dress! This is now a perfect everyday dress...
I used four Tshirts for the main pieces of the dress, and another one for the lining pieces. I cut them and sewed them together, arranging the different colours to be evenly spaced around the finished dress, and to have the prints and areas with the interesting stitching details that I liked to be prominently featured. One of the Tshirts was plain black with no interesting stitching or detailing but was of a very lightweight and beautifully soft knit compared to the other three; so this one I used specifically for the potentially bulky part of the dress; the pleated, draped and knotted areas all coming together on the centre front of the bodice.
Picture taken around 11am; Temperature at the time 22C.
Overnight low: 14C; Today's high: 29C
Gloriously sunny and warm! Maybe the last really warm day of the season.
Dress; Vogue 1281 modified slightly, using 5 of Tim's old surfie Tshirts
Thongs; Mountain Designs
please excuse the sandy bottom...!
Dress has no side seams, very close-fitting, lined bodice, single layer, pleated shoulder strap looped through front pleated drape, front wrap skirt cut-in-one with back, raised waist and invisible back zip. Strap and bodice: Narrow hem. Bodice lining: Elasticised upper edge.
6-14. I made a size 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
in essence, yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty easy. Step 8 and 9 takes a little bit of concentration to get it right. I had to redo this when it didn't work out the first time.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the style of the dress, the draping, the interesting bodice and neckline! The pieces fitted together perfectly well.
I personally didn't like the instructions to hem the upper edge of the bodice before attaching to the pre-elasticated lining pieces. Instead I constructed mine to sew the bodice and bodice lining pieces right side together, so there is no visible stitching on the outside. I really think that visible stitching would take away from the dress, particularly if one was sewing this as a dressy cocktail dress which is I suspect the purpose for which pattern is intended. Not that it really makes much of a difference in my particular dress, which is a very casual style using very casual fabrics, but that is just my personal preference in any case.
I thought the stitching line along the bodice lower edge left it with a weirdly wide seam allowance, and for no discernible reason... I left it wide but I still don't seen why it is like that.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my dress using slightly stretchy knits, so I eliminated the invisible zip and sewed up the back centre seam.
I extended the right skirt edge by enough so that I could sew the skirt edge down on the inside to a joining seam inside the left side of the skirt. This was only possible because I had made a pieced skirt piece, but in any case I think it would be essential to extend that right skirt edge to wrap around more fully underneath anyway. Unless one plans on wearing a slip underneath the dress, or lining it; since there is absolutely nothing to stop that skirt from flying open in a breeze!
I found the strap piece to be pretty long and needed to shorten it considerably... by 10cm!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again.
It is a gorgeous style, very flattering to a woman’s curves. I liked that shoulder strap, how it frames the decolletage and the face in a very lovely way, that chic front draping, and how it joins in at the back asymmetrically. Interesting!
You could eat to your heart's content at a cocktail party or dinner, and this dress would allow you to do so very comfortably!
I love this dress and plan to wear it a lot!