Or – easy pattern, beautiful fabric, just don’t wear it next to anyone to discerning.
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Earlier in the year, I made a dress inspired by Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City/And Just Like That. I remembered that Miranda was my favourite character of the four friends in the original show but I hadn’t realised that I loved her wardrobe the most too – maybe the clothes and the character are indivisible. I got the original idea second hand from the Fold Line, on one of their regular features in which they recommend patterns to make the looks of TV and film costumes. This nod to SATC, of course, sent me off on a bit of reminiscence on the programme.
I haven’t watched AJLT, as we are apparently calling it, (I was away, missed it when it aired, not paying again to watch it). I went on a browse fest which inevitably led me back down memory lane to the outfits from the films, then the original shows and I came across this…
I loved the shape of this dress, it’s simple yet striking and the print is amazing. So that sent me on another hunt for an approximate print. Of course, I couldn’t find one but then I remembered this…
Totally different print, but it sprung to my mind as perfect for this dress. I’ve been nursing this poly satin in my stash for about 4 years since I fell in love with it. I got it from Stoff and Stil (now called Self Made), a Danish fabric supplier who has some lovely items. I had no plan but I remember it was a good price and I was able to buy 3 metres of it.
For the pattern, I used a system I’ve been trying out for a bit. Tailornova.com* is a program with which you can make your own patterns. It’s not exactly drafting it yourself but you can create a bespoke pattern by combining garment elements using this software.
I discovered this when I made my Bootstrap Fashions dress form and it uses the same principles. You enter your body measurements and select the features you want in your garment e.g. raglan sleeves as in this example. You can alter things such as bodice shape, hemline and sleeve length and it offers a variety of sleeve styles and necklines. You can even upload images of your fabric so you can get a fairly good idea of what it will look like made up. Once you are happy, you download your pattern as a PDF. There is also a 3D rendering of your garment which is still in beta and to my mind is less than inspiring, however, I hope in future they will refine this. I think the software is intended for “real” designers as it offers a quite pricey subscription service, which I’m not keen on, but I bought their taster package of 30 downloads which I think will be sufficient to allow me to play about with the system.
With this particular pattern, I had selected in seam pockets, but ended up omitting them because of fighting the fabric – I also thought the pockets were too shallow so I’ll draft my own in future.
I think at the moment their options are a bit limited, e.g. there are lots of shirt-style collars but I couldn’t find many of the necklines I would like, such as a cowl neck, plus there are no coats or jackets available on the entry-level plan, (almost a deal-breaker for me – you know I love me some coats) so I think they have a way to go. In addition, the 3D preview has a few glitches to work out, but I think, overall, it’s an exciting option.
So I downloaded my pattern and got going. I needed to widen the neckline. I didn’t quite replicate the boatneck raglan (is that a thing?) but I opened it up from the original. I chose to bind the neck with self-bias but maybe I should have stuck with a facing. I used the software to select the three-quarter sleeves and adjusted the length. I could see enough from the photo that a deep hem (approximately 10cm) was used to stabilise the shape so I incorporated that too.
So far so good, but, once I started to make this dress it was just a battle with the fabric. This cloth is extremely finickity. It frays prodigiously, shows needle marks if you have to redo anything and will snag if you look at it the wrong way. Make sure that your fingernails are filed and there’s nothing pointy lying around. It is also slippery as anything, so uncooperative all around.
It’s an easy pattern to sew but the fabric looked a lot the worse for wear after making it. I love how it came out – the abstract pattern is gorgeous and the dress looks pretty much how I wanted it to. However, I’m dreading wearing it, as I’m afraid of damaging it further. Oh well, I suppose the answer is to just wear it and see and make sure I don’t stand next to anyone who will scrutinise it closely.
I actually wore this “Out Out”, the day after I finished it and was complemented not only by my friends but by a photographer who happened to be doing a shoot in the restaurant where we ate. So I think it’s a winner, I’ll just wear this as much as I can and mourn it when it gets too tatty.
Has fabric ever made you sad?
Thanks for dropping by,