Wednesday, 15 July 2015

'Emergency' Staple Dress - Protection from the heat!

Hello everyone!

Here's my latest creation- an 'emergency' speed sew to keep me cool for the last couple of weeks' high temperatures. While I've made a Staple Dress previously for a friend and liked the style, it wasn't high on my to-sew list until the heatwave. Suddenly I needed something office-appropriate, light and body-skimming and I needed it fast, so the April Rhodes Staple Dress jumped straight to the top of said list! The photos are a little rushed for this one as I was a bit self-conscious in such a public place, and the dress is in its third wear by this point (it was needed for a reason and has served its purpose well!), but you get the gist- there isn't much to dwell on detail-wise with a make like this anyway.

While I didn't quite manage to make this up in an evening as I'd hoped it came together pretty quickly after tracing my size. Based on my measurements I went large for the bodice graded down to medium for the waist and hips, but think that perhaps next time I would just go medium all over as there is perhaps a little too much ease on top. This is made up in viscose I picked up for £2.50 per metre in a lunch break jaunt to Mermaid Fabrics- as it was an 'emergency' dress I wasn't in love with the pattern but quite like that to me it's somewhat reminiscent of Japanese gift paper.

It's such a nice easy pattern- a front and a back piece with the waist shaping created by shirring. You're free to add as much or little as you like depending on how cinched in you'd like your waist to be- I went with 4 lines of shirring for this one, which I believe is the same I did for my friend Holly's version. I'm not sure if more shirring would have been more flattering, or whether it would spoil the drape. I quite like the back view but feel I look a little frumpy from the front, but that may be because I'd just stuffed myself with Caribbean takeaway (hence the can of Ting you see) so wasn't looking at my most svelte when these snaps were taken.

What else can I say about this nice and breezy, beautifully simple dress? I made up the dropped hem version, just to make it a bit more different from the one I made up for my friend. I like it, but I'm not sure if I handled it perfectly symmetrically! I'm not the most patient when it comes to hems- when the end's in sight I do tend to rush to the finish line so they often let me down. And, I'm not showing them off here, but I also made inseam pockets. In such a lightweight fabric I probably shouldn't have bothered as they added to the construction time and actually are too lightweight to be useable for subtle phone storage- even an Oyster card drags the waist down a little!


Have you ever had to whip something up really quickly to cope with a change of weather? What are your favourite quick sews?

Until next time,

NorseOtter xxx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Magenta Elisalex

Hello from sunny London!

I actually finished this dress last weekend, but it's been too hot to put it on! I've been meaning to make another Elisalex since the first one came together so well (I never properly blogged it because I was desperately trying to finish it in time to take away for a long weekend in Paris). For something I made up so early in my dressmaking journey I'm quite impressed- one of my first FBAs and the fit isn't bad at all- the only thing I resolved to change for this version was to add inseam pockets and shorten the length.

The length on my original Elisalex I like for formal occasions- but it does limit me to walking with tiny steps and can feel a little unflattering (bad choice of shoes for those Paris photos too, but in my defence I was on my feet all day!). This length is much easier to wear.

I was debating whether or not to add sleeves- and although it meant I couldn't wear it this week I'm glad I went with them, as I think they look really nice. I'll need to tweak the fit of the sleeves for next time though (and there will definitely be a next time, I have some great Ikea furnishing fabric languishing for a more Autumnal version). The armhole is a little tight, so no reaching for high shelves in this!

Another thing that makes this a little unseasonably warm is the lined bodice. I had some leftover polycotton from my first Elisalex so used this again-but I should really make the effort not to always just use up scraps as a) a contrast lining is harder to keep hidden out of sight and b) polycotton is quite warm next to the skin, not as breathable as I'd like. I'm going to have to invest in some subtly-coloured natural fibre lining fabrics next time I have a fabric shopping spree.

Showing off the pockets here (and squinting as I've hidden my glasses in them). I'm someone that really likes a good inseam pocket- it's nice to be able to stash a phone or keys on your person without having to bother with a handbag all the time, especially if you can do so without spoiling the line of your dress!

And here's the back view for you. I love the scooped back! The neckline is perhaps a little wide for me- it keeps falling of my shoulders but it doesn't both me too much (and the dress hanger, which bothers me more!). Next time I'll bring the shoulders in a little along with the armhole redrafting. I've got a separating metal zip in centre back there that I picked up cheaply in a bundle at Brixton's Simply Fabrics - not really the right thing but a perfect match in colour on the tapes so I went with it. 

I didn't pay too much attention to the pattern matching with this- the checks are printed in quite a loose, wobbly grid so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to line it up perfectly even if I had made that extra effort. The result means it's better lined up in some places than others, but seems pretty well balanced at centre front and the waistline, so I'm happy with it! I almost forgot to mention that this fabric was a Secret Santa gift from last year's work Christmas party- my Santa was the very talented Frankie, who has her own handmade lingerie and nightwear business Pennyface Apparel. Being given this fabric was such a good score- and I still have 3m left for another project! 

As it's been so hot I've nearly finished making another dress which I hope to share with you soon (sorry corduroy Gingers, that languish unfinished still). I got rid of a lot of summer dresses recently in a clear-out of anything too old or ill-fitting, but now realise I'm a little short on cool day-dresses. Here's my friend Holly looking stunning in the Air Hostess Megan Dress that I foolishly made without muslining so decided to give away. It fits her much better! 

Anyway I'd best get to making, or the fox that is my constant sewing companion (see below- note the Elisalex instruction booklet) will miss me!

Until next time, 

NorseOtter xxx