Metal polka dot dress

Metal polka dot dress G.jpg.jpg

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.

Original polka dress collage A.jpg

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.

Metal polka dot dress collage C.jpgNot 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!]

Metal polka dot dress collage B.jpg

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!

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This entry was posted in Dresses, Knits, Me-Made-May '14, Self-drafted patterns and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Metal polka dot dress

  1. That is such a beautiful dress. I think I would have a hard time sewing with those studs on there, but they make the fabric so beautiful.

  2. Janey says:

    Great work on the dress, that fabric is to die for. Really need to make the time to head to Brixton one day!

  3. Katie says:

    Still love this fabric so much! Very impressed that you self-drafted, it looks ace and very RTW.

  4. Marie says:

    Eeep, so glad I got to see this up close and personal! It’s seriously lovely and you’ve done a great job rubbing off that Topshop dress. Which, coincidentally, I have (and love) in the maroon colour ;o)

  5. Pingback: MMM ’14 days 8 – 21 | the secret life of seams

  6. Pingback: MMM ’14 days round-up! | the secret life of seams

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