Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Velvet-y Dress


I desired to make for myself something quick and easy and selfishly frivolous…   and a Tshirt dress is very quick and easy, yes?  The fabric, a stretchy panne velvet from Fabulous Fabrics, is very lush; smooth and slippery and glides over the skin, the colour has the same gleaming, creamy-milky-white shimmer of moonlight, and the texture is the same choppy and shadowed roughness of the moon’s craters.
I was quite struck with Mary’s post particularly the bit about using fabric from the stash, allowing the fabric within to achieve the potential you saw in it when you purchased it; to let it have its moment in the sun.  So often I am intimidated by my lovelier fabrics, and find myself dutifully using the cheaper and lesser fabrics first, not ever rewarding myself by letting myself wallow in the pleasure of the gorgeous ones.  I have some very beautiful fabrics.  And I want to use them.  I want to have the fun of planning something with them, cutting them, draping them, making something fabulous with them, even ruining them maybe but hopefully not!… one thing is for sure I am certainly not enjoying them whilst everything sits folded up neatly in a cupboard.  Life is too short, no?
So yeah...  I am making a start  :D
For this dress, I wanted a winter-y version of my grey stripe dress, a Metalicus kind of a  thing.  And for the record, this is the exactly the vision, or the "potential" I had in mind for it when I bought it too!
The shoulder seams are stabilised with short strips of bias cut poly-cotton, and the sleeve bands and neckline band are circular bands sewed on using this very simple and easy method.  The lower hem is overlocked to finish the raw edge, turned up once, and topstitched using a twin needle.  I opted not to turn the lower hem up twice since the fabric has quite a healthy pile to it and is thicker than it looks.  Making the dress quite cosy and warm, a good one for winter! 

This is the easiest sort of dress to make.  I drafted the pattern myself, which is just a fancypants way of saying that I cut pieces for a plain scoop-necked, long sleeved Tshirt, just very slightly gathered-in at the centre front: and then two “cone” shapes for the skirt pieces, just a straight diagonal line from the waistline width out to the selvedge.  I really like this A-line style of skirt.  It skims the body in a streamlined way and is therefore very figure flattering; far more so than a gathered skirt would be.   And so easy.
Anyone can make a dress in exactly the same way using a basic Tshirt pattern.  In fact, my honest opinion? save yourself some money, and draft your own Tshirt pattern from a well fitting Tshirt you already have; honestly it is the easiest thing in the world.  I’m serious.  Even if you do not have much experience at drafting your own patterns, trust me, this is the one you should start with.  Get a Tshirt, lay it down and trace around it.  Done!  That’s free advice  :)

So in the final analysis I can see this dress probably going to be a very useful basic building block in my winter wardrobe and not particularly frivolous at all.  I guess I failed that part of my assignment.  But not to worry, I have also unearthed some awfully frivolous fabric from the stash, which is waiting patiently in the wings to be transformed into something definitely very un-useful and very un-practical; in short horrendously gloriously frivolous! and which I am steeling myself to take the scissors too… hehehe.
Soon, peeps!

Details:
Dress; self-drafted, of shimmery oyster-white stretch panne velvet
Scarf; knitted by me to my own design, details here
Tights; voodoo
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies in Dunsborough, now renamed Eco boutique

51 comments:

  1. Fabulous dress. I love that fabric and it looks so flattering on you

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  2. Fantastic dress and I agree that the fabric was made for it! Beautiful beautiful photos!!

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  3. So cute, Carolyn! You and your little dog, too!

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  4. The dress is so beautiful and the colours really make your skin glow.

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  5. You transport with your descriptions! Lovely dress, lovely setting :)

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  6. OMG!!!! I have a REAL picture next to my comment!!!! You must be holding some magic!!!! :D :D :D (crossing fingers that the magic will hold.....)

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  7. The rich texture of the velvet is just perfect with this simple pattern you whipped up! As usual, you look fantastic and your pictures are inspiring.

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  8. This dress is fab. Love, it looks so cosy and comfy for cool weather, but also for lounging in. I love your dog's pose in the last photo compared to the first - haven't you finished yet, I want a walk!

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  9. Simply gorgeous, and I agree, life is too short! I love the location you shot the photos in - the light is so dreamy too.

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  10. I really love the color and texture of your new dress as well as the simple elegant style. It is showcased beautifully in your photos too.

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  11. The sewing devil strikes again !
    It is beautiful material beautifully showcased with your simple design - I would classify this as frivolous for me because I would only have to look at say some tomato or soy sauce or red wine and would have wrecked this dress so I would keep this for special occasions still. BTW I can`t believe that it looks cold in WA.

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  12. It looks gorgeous on you, the shimmery quality of the velvet quite luscious. :D And it looks wonderful in that wintry atmosphere, I'm sure it is quite a building block for your winter wardrobe! Personally, I could also live in t-shirt dresses - my long-sleeved ones, as we're having what you would probably call winter weather, 17°C and intermittent rain.

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  13. You never disappoint. I love this, and one day, I may emulate you. I would never thought of this fabric for such a simple dress, but it really works. Lovely.

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  14. An absolutely wonderful dress! The fabric is just fabulous. I agree - t-shirt dresses should be a wardrobe staple, and in a fabric such as yours, it can go absolutely everywhere.

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  15. Loved the dress and the setting for the picture.

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  16. So many things to say! First of all, I love this dress on you. The photos are perfect for it - all that grey mist to go with your grey velvet. Plus, I'm really grateful for all the construction details as I am currently trying to conquer my nemesis - jersey!

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  17. Very pretty dress. I love the simple lines that let the fabric really show off.

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  18. fantastic foggy mood photos to go with a great dress.

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  19. Crushed velvet is not something I would probably consider (90's flashbacks!) but this little beauty is making me reconsider! Really looks stunning on you. That moody Aussie winter lighting doesn't hurt :)

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  20. Beautiful dress, beautiful scenery, both as usual. Love the fit of your dress.

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  21. A beautiful dress and a gorgeous dog! I love your blog and how you find the perfect settings and meditations for what you're making. You are so right about fabrics... I have some beautiful fabrics that feel like museum pieces. Some I just like to pull out and touch every now and then, but others really need to become...

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  22. It looks lovely on you Carolyn! A knit dress like this is perfect for winter - cosy, comfortable, and quick to put on during those chilly mornings! I see some stash perusal happening here today!

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  23. I love a knit dress for winter. Your photographs are beautiful.
    I hear you on using precious fabrics. I want to do this too, but it is a bit scary still.

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  24. I love crushed panne, but I don't have any clothing made out of it. I should totally make myself something out of it.

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  25. You have inspired me. Your dress is lovely. I have a small amount of panne just begging to be made into something....but what!

    How do you get such a lovely photograph in dull weather? I just manage to get grainy ones in dull light at this time of the year!

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  26. Whar gorgeous fabric - and the simple lines of your dress keep it very classic and elegant looking.

    I am completely with you on t-shirt drafting - so easy, and by starting with something whose fit you already know you improve your odds of having a well-fitting pattern. I have bought simple-shirt patterns before but when I sew from them I'm sometimes not sure why...

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  27. What beautiful photos. You've made a very simple dress look stunning.

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  28. Very gorgeous dress and the photographs are perfect.

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  29. Gorgeous. That fabric really does remind me of the moon. It's so beautiful. I also like the way you put the dress together. That sort of skirt is definitely more flattering than anything gathered.

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  30. Beautiful dress! Is the skirt cut-on, or is it a separate piece attached at the waist?

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  31. Your dress looks lovely - wonderful design and fabric.

    Nice to see Sienna too!

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  32. Such a lovely dress! I agree that the simple lines are perfect for that fabric.
    Again the photos are excellent!

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  33. Love the dress! And like others, admire your backgrounds and props (oh, your dog shouldn't be insulted by being called a "prop"!!!) for your photos!

    I think you could publish a coffee table book of photos of your creations...

    Brenda

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  34. I love the colour. Sometimes the quick and simple creations as as satisfying as the more detailed and demanding ones.

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  35. This dress is simply beautiful. Sometimes simplicity is the best design! The fabric reflects light in so many directions. It looks lovely on you.

    Your photos are fabulous! I love the trees, the mist, and the dog.

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  36. Lovely dress! And the photography is really stunning on this one. I love the foggy, ethereal look of it.

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  37. Again a lovely pic. You make a pipeline look good!
    I've realised 2 things. I must replace my overlocker. And secondly I just don't have the experience to draft a pattern off something just yet. I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern and yes it's 'just a tshirt' but it's helped me understand how they go together and how to successful make one. That in itself is a great investment as now I can see a million possibilities - and I made two different Renfrews in a couple of hours. Amazing. Even my husband was impressed by the speed AND the results. I love that :-)
    Ps you managed to make panne velvet look good I am so impressed.

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  38. That settles it, there is nowhere near enough panne velvet in my wardrobe, I'd forgotten how much I love the stuff. That dress is simply beautiful.

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  39. Andrea; I've also written a comment on your blog, but in case anyone else is interested: if the natural light is dim you can try decreasing the shutter speed on your camera. Meaning a longer exposure, and more light is let into the camera, so a lighter shot. You can also use the flash, but nearly always I prefer not to. However very occasionally using a flash does result in a really great outdoor daytime shot.... I did not use a flash for these pictures :)
    Thanks for these kind compliments!

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  40. Such gorgeous photos of this disarmingly simple, but beautiful dress.

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  41. oh, very pretty, i love the fog in the picture ... I keep meaning to make my own great Tshirt pattern (without the center back seam - that pattern is great! but sometimes you don't want the center back seam!) and then do something like this. Yes, I can, says Carolyn ... :)

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  42. It looks soo comfortable and the very interesting fabric is perfect for the simple pattern.

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  43. Gorgeous gorgeous photos! And you are right to reward yourself by sewing your best stash - otherwise what is it for?

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  44. I bought some fabric like this in a darker grey. I have not used it yet but ewww I like it. Your dress is fantastic, it looks soooo good on you!

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  45. Beautiful winter dress, brilliant picture and Sienna is a good girl.

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  46. Thanks so much Carolyn. I have taken your advise and cut up an old t shirt. By using your method of sewing bands to finish neck and sleeves I now have three new tops. I am really pleased. Now I have the basic pattern it will be no trouble to use again and again. So much better than having t shirts made from horrible old jersey that goes out of shape. Love reading your blog. You take so much care into producing your garments ( both knitted and sewn), that's its a pleasure to see.

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  47. Sheree; thank you so much for the positive feedback! and I am glad you have made some great new tops for yourself. It is so satisfying to sew for yourself,isn't it? :)
    Then you get to playing around with different necklines and cowls and sleeve lengths for your Tshirt pattern, maybe add on a skirt as I did here; the sky is the limit!

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  48. It's lovely and looks lush and frivolous and PERFECT.

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  49. Carolyn...thanks for giving me the link to this dress. I really love it. Oh how I want one!!!

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