Monday, 17 September 2012

Crafter Math

Craftermath: The resulting and overwhelming mess left lying about after creative pursuits
Pattern: Sally Shirt Dress from Serendipity Studio


Fabric: Cotton/lurex from John Lewis (again!)

Size: Small
There is always plenty of craftermath in our house, but I felt it also related to this dress as it was born from craft and maths. More on that below.

I love shirt dresses. They're classic, smart, but flirty and fun at the same time. But they are impossible to find unless they're in fashion and even then they're often khaki, with a zip down the middle and only just cover the bum. Shudder. So, imagine my joy when I found the Sally Shirt Dress pattern from Serendpity and the realisation I could make my own. As many times as I like!

I loving trying out the patterns from smaller designers and this was no exception. I was fascinated by the design idea of making a big sack dress, then taking it in using pleats to fit each wearer perfectly. There's maths involved which was fun even for a number-phobe such as myself. Using some simple calculations, all guided by the pattern, I figured out how many pleats to use and where to place them.

I'm always worried that things are going to be too small on me, so as usual, I ended up with something a bit loose, but the joy of this pattern is that I could just stick in another pleat around the back, and BAM! a beautifully fitted dress. The only other adjustment I made was to elongate the pleats at the top of the back to stop it being baggy, and the same for the first pleat on each front side, under the arms. I guess this is a small bust thing.

Even though they're far from perfect, I love making buttonholes so found the eight required for this dress quite therapeutic. Hopefully they will hold!

I love the little touches on this dress and if I make another (quite likely) I think I'll go for a plainer fabric and add contrast accents, such as the sleeve trim and the fun bias-cut hem (pic below). Also, the pattern has instructions for a tie belt or a buckled belt. I didn't make one although I think a belt would look lovely, particularly in a contrast fabric.

Bias-cut hem. I think it's marvellous with the check fabric:

My only criticism of this pattern is that some of the instructions aren't that clear and I think assume prior knowledge. I worked some things out based on prior experience (i'm such a seasoned expert now, of course ;-) ) but others I needed to look up. Thankfully I had my trusty sewing bible to hand. I love this book, it's incredible and made all the more beautiful because it cost about £2 at a village fete.

Me and my sewing bible:

It has the problem that all shirt dresses have, in that when you sit down and the inevitable spare tyre(s) make an appearance, there is some gaping between buttons. I'm not sure how to combat that and also have the dress fit nicely when I'm standing, so i shall just wear a modesty top under the dress.

I love this dress. It makes me feel girly and like I want to roll in some hay. Although I probably wouldn't for fear of losing a button.

Looking a bit like it's the first day of school!

P.S. It just dawned on me that if i had done the buttonholes vertically, they might not be so gapey. Ah well. Next time.


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