Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Liberty Tween Dress: New Look 6444


Genetics are a wonderful thing. My daughter has inherited, via a random combination of nucleobases zipping around at the moment of conception, not only my teeth (er, sorry about that one, Tyger), my dark hair and pale skin but also - and let me assure you folks, I consider this one to be the most important - my LOVE OF LIBERTY FABRIC!

So when we went to The Fabric Store armed with our copy of New Look 6444, and she pointed out a fetching blue Liberty print and asked if her dress could be made out of that, my answer was somewhere along the lines of "Hell, yeah!"

It's come up rather nice, if I do say so myself!



It was easy to sew, but I did query the way the ruffle elastic was attached. Basically, the pattern instructions asked for you to sew a line of bias binding a few cms down from the ruffle edge, threading in the elastic as you sewed. Once I did this, I asked Tyger to try it on to see if the bodice was the right size (we'd already both agreed that the off-the-shoulder version was a bit too grown up looking for both our likings, so we wanted it to sit on the shoulders, and not easily slip off). So she tried it on, and then we both looked at her reflection in the mirror in dismay.

Me: "Um, honey - I'm not super keen on that wavy edge above the ruffle. Thoughts?"
Tyger: "Can you get rid of it? It's WEIRD!"

Weird, as I've learnt the hard way, holds no currency whatsoever with the tween crowd, so I did what I thought I should do regarding the ruffle in the first place - I made a hem at the top edge of the ruffle, then threaded the elastic into that. No mucking around with bias binding casings if I ever make this again - my way gives a neat finish, which both Tyger and I consider to look much better.

Apart from that design quibble, it was a very easy pattern to put together. Despite the fact it is meant to be her Christmas dress, she has worn it 3 times already, and has already asked for another. That, my friends, is a win! Trust me - those tweens are a tough crowd to please!

Project Details
Pattern - New Look 6444, version D, size 10 (even though she is twelve and tall for her age, she is very slim, so we went for fit rather than length. The length is fine, anyway)
Fabric - 2m Liberty Tana Lawn from The Fabric Store
Notions - Elastic

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Frocktails 2016 Dress aka Lady In Red


Chris de Burgh was, all things considered, rather proud of his back catalogue. He'd had some big hits in his day, but the one song he slightly regretted writing was that ever popular classic, Lady In Red. It wasn't the song itself that was the problem, but the fact that the mischievous imps he called his friends never failed to send him a pic of a lady in - you guessed it - red whenever they came across one. The little blighters had totally blown his data limit for the month by sending him an assortment of pics from some seamstress in Melbourne who had donned a red dress for an event called Frocktails.

Chris sighed as another pic notification dinged on his phone. Who were these people, he thought jadedly to himself, and what the hell is a Frocktails when it's at home? He stopped to look at the pic, and despite his general weariness of all girls in red dresses, he couldn't help but think that this red dress wasn't actually bad as far as red dresses went.

Tossing the phone onto the sofa, he then sat down at his piano to finish composing his next hit. He had been inclined to call this one Lady In Absolutely Nothing, but remembering the pictures filling his phone he thought better of it. and called it The Great Non-being instead.



Oh dear - my apologies to Chris de Burgh, but ever since that night I have had Lady In Red on constant repeat in my brain. Wearing a red dress to Frocktails will do that to a girl! Melbourne Frocktails 2016 was a blast, and it was such a pleasure to see so many other fellow seamstresses all in their best, most inspiring finery. Old friends were caught up with, and new ones were made - it was a wonderful, wonderful night!

I had already made a version of Vogue 9100 the week before (as yet unblogged), and was so darn pleased with how it turned out that I immediately began dreaming of another one. The first one I made was in cotton, but with the tight bodice and full gathered skirt, I knew that the next one should be made into something sumptuous that with a skirt so full it could fill a room! Dashing into The Fabric Store with a scant 20 minutes to spare before they closed for the day, I caught sight of some red silk dupion, and knew my choice had been made.

If I may say so myself, the gorgeous lustre and the full body of the dupion made this dress! Sometimes the pattern itself that you use isn't overly complicated, but when pared with the right fabric it can become something very special indeed, and I humbly think I may have achieved that with this frock!

The pattern is one of those marvelous Custom Fit ones, where you can get a very accurate fit on the bust, which was brilliant because it made me look like I had actual cleavage, for once in my skinny minnie life! The super fitted bodice (I did wear a strapless bra, but I could totally have gotten away without one, so tight was the fit) combined with the fullness of the skirt meant that my waist looked pretty small. Ah, love a bit of trompe l'oeil!

The only issue I had with this pattern was the fact that I was unlucky enough to purchase one of the versions with the skirt pattern pieces printed wrong. Thankfully I had already read about this on Pattern Review, so was able to redraft the pieces before I cut out my fabric. I was told by Clegs, where I purchased the pattern, that if I cared to bring it back to the store they would happily replace it for me.


All in all, I am thrilled with this dress. It had everything I love in a frock - full skirt for swishing about it, pockets, great fit and the shine on the dupion makes me feel very regal indeed. It was perfect for a night of dressing up (thank you ladies, for organising Frocktails!) and I'd also like to say a big thank you to photographer Kirsten Simpson for her amazing pics of my dress (and everybody else's!) on the night. Her work is all the pics on this post, except for the very top one. What a talent!

Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 9100, version A, size 8
Fabric - 1.6m red silk dupion from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper

And last but not least, here is my other favourite lady in red - or orange to be absolutely correct!