Wednesday, 15 April 2015

New Look 6262 - The Balloons Dress

How do you plan your sewing projects? Do you pick the pattern first and then find the perfect fabric, or do you get seduced by pretty fabric and then choose the best pattern to show it off? I'm usually in the pattern-then-fabric camp, but every now and then a fabric comes along which just demands to be bought and the pattern picking is left for later. That's just what happened for this dress!


The fabric looks good from a distance doesn't it? It's a lovely purpley blue background with a pretty collection of multi-coloured "polka dots". But look a bit closer, and you realise that those "polka dots" are actually...


BALLOONS! How fun! Although I feel like I haven't taken full advantage of the fun potential because I didn't follow Sue's lead of doing a balloon-filled photo shoot for this dress.

The fabric is part of the Lewis and Irene April Showers collection. I actually first saw it in a magazine advert for New Forest Fabrics, and liked the mix of colours in the print so went to look it up online. As soon as I realised that it was actually balloons not polka dots, I knew I definitely had to have some.


Then it was time to decide on a pattern. I was very close to making another Emery dress, but then I remembered that I had New Look 6262 sitting in my stash so I decided to give that one a go instead. I bought the pattern last year when it was on sale (which it seems to be now too - treat yourself!), because it's the fit-and-flare style that I love, with a couple of neckline/sleeve length options which make it a bit different from other patterns I've used. I particularly like the V-neck sleeveless option, so that's what I went with for this first version.


Based on my measurements, I made a toile of the size 18 bodice, but that was a bit too big all over so I went down to a size 16 and made another toile. That generally fit much better, but it was still too big around the underarms. I think if I'd been making one of the sleeved bodices a bit of extra ease might have been fine, but with the sleeveless version it was gaping a bit too much. I fixed that by taking in 1.5 cm at the side seam at the underarm, tapering out to meet the original seam line at the top of the bust dart. I also made my standard adjustment of adding an inch to the bodice length.


In real life, I'm happy with how the dress fits - but I'm not so in love with it when I look at these photos. I think it's a combination of the sunlight highlighting all the little wrinkles in the fabric, and the fact that this is most definitely quilting cotton and so its lack of drape means that it has a tendency to wrinkle as soon as I move. At the end of the day, how it feels in real life is more important than how it looks in photos so I'm happy with the fit overall, I'll just maybe use this as a reminder of why I've been avoiding quilting cotton for clothes. Where do you stand on that debate?


Other than the slight fitting adjustments, I also decided to line the bodice instead of using the facings provided with the pattern. That's just a personal preference because I always find that facings annoy me. Plus lining the bodice is always a good chance to use a nice contrasting fabric! This one is the same blue (poly?)cotton that I used to line my first Lilou dress - it worked well then, and it's done a good job here too!

Lining the bodice meant that I altered the construction order slightly for the bodice (I used the method I know from the Lilou dress), but other than that I stuck to the pattern. You may have noticed that I'm fairly familiar with sewing dresses with darted bodies and gathered skirts, but I read through the instructions anyway and they were all clear and easy to follow.


So there we go, another pretty new dress to add to my collection! For a future version (there's already one being planned), I'd probably add pockets (because who doesn't love pockets?!), but I think that's the only change I'd make. Have I tempted you to try this pattern?

20 comments:

  1. What a beautiful dress! I'm now seriously trying to resist buying some of that amazing fabric!

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    1. Thank you! Sorry if I've provided too much temptation with the fabric!

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  2. Such a fun fabric! I usually plan patterns first and have a list in my mind when fabric shopping, although sometimes a fabric without a designated pattern may come home with me. And if you love the dress in real life, don't worry about how it looks it photos!

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    1. Thank you! I think it sounds like we have a similar approach to sewing project planning - sometimes you just can't resist the pretty fabrics can you?! Yes, I've decided to concentrate on how it fits in real life rather than how it looks in the photos!

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  3. What adorable pictures!!!! Looks like you were having fun. I really like the scale of that print - smoetimes cute prints are so small scale they get lost at a distance, but I love how this one looks from far away and close up. That pattern seems like a winner, too!

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    1. Thank you! I think I probably couldn't fail to have fun in this dress - it just makes me smile. I really love the scale of the print too. I quite like the fact that the balloons are disguised as polka dots from a distance and then you realise that there's the added fun of balloons when you're up close!

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  4. Ironically, my first thought at seeing all your photos was how well your dress fits you! Sewing with quilting cotton definitely makes for a different drape, but the fabrics are adorbs and easy to sew.

    I usually buy fabric with a garment in mind but not a pattern in mind....and buy patterns based on the design lines, with no thought to what is in my stash. Sometimes this works out, but....it's not easy.

    Anyhoo, great dress and super cute fabric (and lining)!

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    1. Thank you - if you were thinking that the dress fits me well then I'm going to take that as a positive sign and try not to be so critical of myself!

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  5. Squeeeee! Actual balloon fabric! Well, you know where I stand on this subject....I totally buy the fabric that tickles my fancy and then make the garment...seduced is totally the right word, LOL! No surprise here...I LOVE this dress!

    It's weird about the quilting cotton, wrinkly thing. Wrinkles normally annoy me to no end, but I love the feel of good quality quilting fabrics like no other. I had avoided using these fabrics for YEARS, precisely for the wrinkle factor...but once I started sewing with them, I was completely won over. Besides, the worst spot for wrinkling is my arse, and I never see the back of my dresses until the end of the day.

    And looky-dat...a link to my Pink Balloons Dress, {which aren't even balloons...I'm a sham, I'm a fraud!}...thanks so much Ruth!

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    1. Haha, thank you Sue! I did think that this one might appeal to you.
      I think quilting cottons are funny things - some that I've used have felt hardly any different from poplin, but this one does definitely feel a bit stiffer. They're very difficult to resist with all their pretty prints though. And you're welcome about the link to your pink balloons dress - those photos of you are just so fun - and the dress is fab even if the print isn't actual balloons so you're definitely not a fraud!

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  6. The fabric is too fabulous, I wouldn't have resisted. I don't mind quilting fabrics- as long as the pattern isn't expecting the fabric to drape I think they are great. So easy to sew with too! The dress looks so lovely on you, you have clearly found your style with fit and flare.

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    1. Thank you Louise! I vary in my opinions on quilting cotton, but I suspect that I won't stop using it altogether because the prints always draw me in. And yes, fit and flare is definitely my style!

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  7. Brilliant! What's not to love about the ballons?! I am a fan of quilting cotton for dresses, but I suppose it just depends on individual fabric. Don't let one fabric put you off!

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    1. I know, balloons are great aren't they?! I won't let one fabric put me off - maybe I'll just buy quilting cotton in actual shops where I can feel it first and not online. The prints will probably win me over though!

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  8. Super dress, Ruth! Personally, I would love to be more adventurous with my lining choices like you are!

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    1. Thank you Sally! I do love a contrast lining - although part of it is also my thrifty side wanting to use up leftover bits of fabric from other projects!

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  9. I know you have read it several times already: I love the fabric! And it is blue :) the only thing that stops me buying it is the massive chiffon heap in my stash, haha. I also like the fit on you and I know that sometimes there are much more wrinkles and creases in a photograph than in real life!

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  10. Beautiful dress! Thank you so much for share.

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  12. Such a pretty dress! I love that you don't notice it's balloons until you see the fabric closer up. It's a fun surprise! New Look 6262 looks like a really versatile pattern.

    Usually I have a style in mind when I buy my fabric, so it's a matter of hunting down a suitable pattern. Or occasionally I have a specific outfit in mind and I have to source both. I also like using quilting cotton for skirts and dresses. Fun colours and prints and easy to sew with!

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