Friday, 20 November 2015

Mortmain + Stripes

You know those times when fabric is such a bargain that you just HAVE to buy it? This dress is entirely down to one of those occasions.

I'd seen this fabric online ages ago - I really liked it, but it didn't fit in with my plans at the time and it wasn't the cheapest in the world so, after a bit of dithering, I decided to be good and leave it behind. Fast-forward several months, and I saw a link to a fabric sale where it was reduced to half price. I was sold, and instantly snapped up enough for a dress.

I was very tempted to make yet another Emery, but the fabric kept telling me that it would prefer to become a Gather Mortmain dress instead. As you can see, in the end I had to agree because I thought that it would be good to have the option of playing with the stripe direction on the waistband.

It had also been a while since I made a Mortmain (previous versions here and here) and, much though I love the Emery, it's also always nice to have a little bit of variety.

So the fabric...we already know it was a bargain, but what else do I have to say about it? I picked it up from Patch Fabrics; they don't seem to have this exact one anymore but they do have the green colourway. It's a peppered cotton, the stripes are woven and there's a slightly irridescent effect from the different coloured warp and weft threads, which you can maybe see a bit better in this close-up...

Excuse the slightly crumpled look (this was mid-sewing) and let's focus instead on the fabric -isn't it lovely? And I hope you'll excuse me if I pat myself on the back for that stripe matching. I love striped and check fabric, but I always hate it slightly when I'm cutting it out and giving myself a headache trying to get the pattern matching right. The extra effort is always worth it in the end though!

Thinking about pattern matching in sewing has made me really critical of print placement and matching in RTW clothing. I don't buy much RTW anymore (mainly because it's more fun to sew my own), but whenever I am in shops I find myself picking things to pieces! Does anyone else do the same?

Anyway, back to the dress...I'm pretty sure that it does fit me through the back in spite of what it looks like in the photo above. I'm going to blame those extra wrinkles on moving about pretending to be climbing the rocks and on the fact that, while it is lovely, the fabric does crease really easily.

Once I'd got past the hurdle of cutting it all out, the dress was a nice and simple sewing project. In addition to the fitting changes I'd made before (adding an inch to the bodice), for this version I also added two inches to the skirt. Although my first two Mortmains are an OK length, I do find that they've ended up slightly shorter than my other dresses. It's a small difference, but it's one that I do notice so I decided to do something about it.

I also omitted the sleeve cuffs for this version. This may at least partially have been to avoid more stripe matching! I just did a simple hem on the sleeves instead, but added a couple of inches to them first so that I didn't lose any length.

I'm pretty happy with this dress. I don't think I love it as much as some others, but I do like it and I can see it being worn regularly. I definitely prefer it when I'm wearing it with a cardigan like this to pick out one of the colours - I think it helps the fabric come to life a bit more. And I love it with this cute little bow brooch I found in a charity shop recently! From the 50% off fabric and charity shop jewellery, can anyone tell that I love a bargain?!

Monday, 9 November 2015

An Emery Dress for a Rainy Day

I was finishing off sewing a dress this weekend when I realised that I still hadn't got round to showing you the last dress that I made. As my semi-bare legs in the photos may hint, I've had the photos ready to go for about a month but they've been neglected waiting for the writing to accompany them. I blame a slightly stressful month in terms of work. It wasn't anything major, and stress levels in my job are definitely nothing compared to many professions, but it was enough to make sitting at a computer again the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. Thankfully that's all over now, so here's my (kind of) new dress!

As you may have guessed (or read in the title), this is my latest iteration of the Christine Haynes Emery dress (previous versions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). I made no changes other than my standard fit adjustments that I've mentioned in my other Emery posts.

This time, I chose to make it in a fun umbrella print from the Dashwood Studio Rain or Shine collection. I bought the fabric about 6 months ago because I found it with a great discount, but always intended to leave it until early autumn to sew up when umbrellas would probably be more weather-appropriate. Not that I didn't need my umbrella during the summer, but I always like to be optimistic!

I also always knew that this fabric would become an Emery dress because I think it's a great pattern for showing off a fun print. It's also undoubtedly my favourite pattern, mainly because I know that I'm always going to end up with a dress I love. If ever my motivation to sew is slightly lacking, or I've been left disappointed by a project, I know that making an Emery will put everything right again. Do you have a magic pattern that does the same for you?

Having extolled the virtues of the Emery, I have to sightly contradict myself and say that this one almost didn't have a happy ending. I was trying the almost-finished dress on when I got the bodice lining stuck in the zip. Completely, totally and utterly stuck. And I was stuck in the dress too. I momentarily debated which would be the less bad option between cutting and ruining the dress to get it off, or going round to one of my neighbours (who I don't know very well) to ask for help, but finally I managed to find some contortionist skills to free myself, and that made releasing the lining much easier. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's done that?!

Anyway, thankfully I can put that little crisis behind me and get on with enjoying my pretty new Emery! I've got a couple of other finished and nearly-finished projects ready to show you, and work has now returned to normal so hopefully I'll be back to enjoying blogging again instead of hiding away from the computer. See you soon!