Monday, 4 May 2015

Hackety-Hash: Lady Pencil Dress

Hello folks!

It's the Bank Holiday weekend over here and I'm having a nice relaxing Monday off after all the over-indulgence celebrating my boyfriend's birthday and our 5 year anniversary. His birthday is actually on Tuesday and I'm in the process of making him a shirt (just over halfway through, might finish in time?!), but today's post is something that should have been finished ages ago except I snapped my twin needle when adding the final touches, had to wait a while for a new one to be delivered, then was too wrapped up in a course I was on to get round to finishing.

So this is the dress! It was supposed to be a palate-cleanser between gift projects, a nice little bateau-neck Lady Skater with short sleeves made with this stripy stuff I picked up for £1.50 from the scrap bin at the Knitting and Stitching show. However I didn't think through positioning the pattern pieces and only realised halfway through that to be able to get the Lady Skater skirt on I would have to omit the sleeves, and piece the back skirt by having a centre back seam. This might have been fine, except I managed to cut the skirt pieces as both the same side, so would have had to have one piece wrong side out to be able to match the stripes. ARGH. I also didn't have quite enough fabric for the bodice and had to piece the front bodice at the shoulder- I just winged it and managed to hide the seam within a black stripe (hopefully nobody will ever notice).

I left it for a while as I wasn't loving the idea of having a wrong-side out skirt panel, as although the pattern is the same on both sides there's a real textural difference. The right side is ridged, and the wrong side is flat and smooth for wearing against the skin. Then a brainwave struck - maybe if I used the Gertie Easy Knit Pencil skirt pattern as the pieces were narrower I might be able to get all skirt pieces matching up with the right sides out.

It worked- but as you can see I've got a bit of a curved hem going up in the centre. I didn't want to lose any more length by straightening it out so have kept it as a 'design feature'.

So this wasn't in any way the easy project I wanted it to be, nor did it end up in the dress I was imagining! It's OK and wearable as a day dress though (and hell, it only cost £1.50 plus £4 for the new twin needle), even if the skirt does have a tendency to ride up when walking. I don't think the Lady Skater bodice and Gertie Easy Knit Pencil Skirt are really a match made in heaven- I should have perhaps remembered that the waistband on the skirt includes extra length for the elastic and facing so there's a bit too much length in the torso. Plus I should really do a swayback adjustment (as you can see from my first Lady Skater) and maybe even an FBA to get it fitting nicely. You can see from the back view there's a fair bit of creasing in at the waist.

I am quite proud of my stripe-matching though. It's not 100% perfect, but you can't really tell that there's a centre back seam in the skirt (can you?). I bought a walking foot recently as I plan to make a dress in corduroy soon so I used this to help get better control over the stripes, but I should have remembered to swap back to a standard foot for twin-needling as they somehow got snagged up and broke the needle. Lessons for next time!

I don't think I'd make this dress again, even though I like the shape. I'd probably try and get the front and back on a piece each if I could and maybe modify a pattern like the Jorna dress to get the right effect. Or just make up a sheath dress pattern in the first place!

Hope everyone's had a great weekend, I'd better get back to shirt-making (wish me luck!),

NorseOtter xxx

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