Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Emery goes to the seaside

So, the dress that I have to show you all today is probably my favourite garment that I have sewn so far - wearing it just brings a smile to my face, which is always good! It's my second version of the Emery dress by Christine Haynes, and my entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett contest...

I'm sure the whole of the sewing world has heard about Sew Dolly Clackett, which is being organised by Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones in honour of the lovely Roisin's upcoming wedding. I'm a big fan of Roisin's amazing array of dresses, so as soon as I heard about the contest, I knew I'd have to take part. Plus I'd been meaning to make another Emery, so this seemed like the perfect occasion to do so and join in with congratulating Roisin in the process!

I'd also been eyeing up this fantastic beach hut print cotton from Ditto Fabrics for a while - I love a trip to the seaside so the combination of beach huts and sailing boats, and the cheerful colours, really appealed to me. It also seemed like it would work nicely with the Emery dress, and I thought it would fit in well for Sew Dolly Clackett, so I set to work.

I'm not entirely sure why I waited so long to sew a second Emery, because I love my first version and it's a shape that I find really flattering. Never mind, I've corrected the error of my ways now and I'm already planning a third version.

For this version, I made view A but left off the bow - I love the idea of the bow but I just didn't think it would work with this print. Like last time, I added an inch to the bodice and I also used a smaller hem on the skirt. I didn't think about the length of the dress before I started sewing because I know my first version is just right, but I forgot to consider that I wear my first version with black tights, and I prefer summer dresses that I wear without tights to be just a little bit longer. With the tiny hem that I used, this dress ended up being pretty much right but I'll probably add an inch or two to the length of the skirt for version 3.

I also used a regular zip for this version instead of an invisible one, partly because that's what I had here and partly because I had a limited amount of time to finish this before I went off on holiday and past experience shows that I can sew regular zips much more quickly than invisible ones!

I'm really happy I made the effort to match up the pattern across the centre back seam - I think I must have been inspired by all the talk about pattern matching on the Great British Sewing Bee or something! I couldn't get it to match the whole way down the centre back of the skirt without going off the grainline of the fabric but, without wanting to boast, I think I did a pretty good job on the back of the bodice.

(Excuse the weird crease around the waistline here - it's not usually there, I'd been wearing the dress for a whole day at this point!)

All in all, I LOVE this dress - it fits really nicely and the fabric is so fun it just makes me smile. There may have to be some more Dolly Clackett style dresses in my future if the feel-good factor of this dress is anything to go by!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Gabriola in Greece

As soon as Sewaholic released the Gabriola maxi skirt pattern, I knew I would have to sew myself one pretty quickly. I love maxi skirts, particularly if they're nice and swishy as the Gabriola definitely is, and I had a holiday coming up so wanted to get one finished ready to take away with me.

I spent last week in Greece consuming roughly my own body weight in feta and aubergines and twirling about in my lovely new skirt - I apologise for the pasty whiteness of my skin in these photos, my skin doesn't tan really, it's white or it burns so I figure it's best to stick with the whiteness.

Gabriola is a lovely pattern and was pretty straightforward to put together. It has some added interest thanks to the angled panels around the waist - they're completely lost in the print that I used (and are partly covered by my top - tucking this top in didn't look right), but I promise you that they are there and they definitely do a lot to give the skirt such a great shape. I may have to make another version at some point with contrast panels to make them stand out more.

The skirt flares out beautifully and swishes about really nicely when you walk, as I was trying (and probably failing!) to show in this picture.

I cut a straight size 12 and didn't need to make any alterations. As far as I'm concerned, a maxi skirt should definitely be a maxi (as long as it can be it without the risk of tripping up on it when you walk!), and this skirt definitely fits that bill. I'm on the taller side of average so I was a bit concerned that it might end up a bit short but it's a great length, but this might mean that some people would need to remove extra length when evening out the hem.

Speaking of which, getting the hem even was probably the most difficult bit about making this dress. All the lovely swishy-ness means there's a lot of hem, and the way my fabric flows about meant that each bit ended up looking different lengths every time I moved. I enlisted the help of my Mum and after some perseverance, and me standing on various items of furniture to give her a better view, we finally sorted it - thanks Mum!

The fabric I used is a really pretty floral print viscose from Fabric Rehab. I love the fact that there are quite a few colours in it so I'll be able to pair it with lots of different tops. It drapes really nicely, it was slightly slippy to work with but not too tricky. It feels lovely to wear as well and doesn't crease too much - these photos were taken at the end of being worn for a day and it still looks good I think.

As you can probably tell, I'm really happy with my Gabriola - now I just need to wait for the weather to warm up a bit here so that I can wear it again!