Above is my first item made as part of my MMM ’14 commitment and it’s also the culmination of a long succession project. Off and on over the course of six months I’ve been tracing a Topshop midi-length woven dress to create my own: a princess-seamed front bodice with waist darts in the back bodice, short sleeves and a gathered skirt. The original is starting to look a little limp as you can see below so I needed an heir to the throne.
Rather than jump in with sewing princess seams for the first time with a woven, I decided to ease my way into it by sewing a knit version.
And what a knit. I love polka dots, I dig studding, and I embarrass myself over knits, so you can understand why this fabric came home with me from Simply Fabrics in Brixton. It almost feels like a neoprene fabric but is quite thin. I’ve over-exposed some of these photos so you can see the gold studs clearly.
Not gonna lie, it was rather a struggle to sew with the studs and the finish on the fabric. I used a ballpoint needle as usual but it skipped a lot of stitches the moment I picked up speed and a stretch needle might have been more suitable. There was a lot of cries of ‘why do you hate me?!’ during this dress. (A bit of melodrama makes sewing more fun right?)
To fit the gathered waist, I folded both the bodice and the skirt in halves, then quarters and eighths and marked with pins, and then matched the pins up so the fabric was evenly distributed. I did a bit of a stretching of the bodice to match the larger skirt but I tried to avoid stretching the whole thing out.
[I checked the Colette tutorial on gathering with transparent elastic but it seemed to require enough elastic to go the moon and back, so I probably read it wrong!]
Some notes on the construction:
- When copying the pattern, I used this method to copy the back bodice darts.
- I added a 5/8 inch seam allowance to my traced pattern. To cut it for a knit, I placed the back bodice piece on the fold without the seam allowance to allow for no zip being required. I sewed up all the pieces with a 5/8 inch seam but did tweak the fit once it was done by taking in the sleeves and waist.
- Darts were sewed using a triple stitch.
- The skirt is the width of the fabric cut in 2.
- The princess seams over the bust and the waist seam have shown a little strain since sewing up which is disappointing. I may sew over these seams to make them stronger.
- Given the gnarly stitching inside, I left my sleeves, neckline and hem unhemmed but you can get a nice clean edge on this fabric so I’m pretty relaxed about it.
I’ve already worn it twice so far this MMM and it definitely fits the bill as a fun party dress so I’m more than happy. With a few tweaks in the upper bodice, this is ready for a whirl as a woven.
The polka dot dress is (almost) dead, long live the metal polka dot dress!