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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

More tortoise, less hare

I have been working on a dress pour moi. To recap, it is a Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress, made using chiffon and crepe de chine, for no reason or occasion other than I really liked the fabric in question.

On Sunday afternoon, conditions were just right for a spot of dressmaking. We had eaten a big roast lunch, after which everyone in the house found something happy to do - the littlest was having a sleep; the next girl up sat down to paint; the living room floor was host to all the Lego (and the eldest two sisters working alongside each other in peace - for once); Mark was strumming on his guitar, and so, I... sloped off upstairs to sew.

That isn't quite accurate. I ended up spending the afternoon cutting out the remaining pieces of my dress. There I was, sprawled over the double layer of fabrics, doing my best to line up the patterns and keep everything nice and straight during the cutting process. It was a slow process. But a happy one. Three hours later, I finished the cutting out. I just about had enough fabric to kind of match up the chevron pattern across the panels. There is a bit where the bugs don't quite follow the pattern they should, but I don't mind. The chevrons and the balance of black and white sections is pretty much consistent enough for my liking, and I am hopeful the dress will look decent when it is done.

I don't know about you, but one thing I like about making clothes is that I often have memories associated with the making. So far, this dress has memories of an evening spent with a couple of old friends, chatting, eating a Victoria sponge, and admiring a new baby. It also has memories of the sounds of children playing and singing and generally doing their own thing without arguing. Anything is possible.

I am treating the two fabrics as one layer. This is taking time and a lot of pins, so the chiffon doesn't shift and get left out of the seams when it is sandwiched between the crepe de chine. After some sewing last night, I have reached the point where the dress is starting to look a bit more like a dress. No sleeves or zip, but I have tried it on and get a sense of the finished thing. I am pondering whether to leave it sleeveless - what do you think?

I can report that it fits and will do up at the back without needing any adjustments. This is a bit of a relief, as I didn't make a toile, and kind of winged it over the pattern adjustments across all the different panels. I opted for a size 10 bust, and a size 12 at the waist, and back to a size 10 at the hips.

The best bit so far is the swoosh factor the fabric gives the skirt. It has a beautiful weight and hang. Worth the effort over double layers. Now I need to give myself a good talking to and swear to hand sew the hem when the time comes. I must follow through, and resist the urge to rush bits.  More tortoise, less hare.


  1. Lovely fabric. I vote for sleeveless. You can wear a shrug or cardi then as needed K xXx

  2. Sounds like a blissful Sunday afternoon! Dress is looking amazing - great choice of fabric! Somehow I feel it would look more typically tea dress-ey with sleeves, but it very much like your version without.mcan you tell I am rubbish at making decisions? Even for others!

  3. Children playing happily without fighting!!! Wow that is indeed heaven. Could you baste one sleeve on to give yourself a better idea? But sleeveless looks nice. Looks like it's going to be and amazing dress when it's done.