Thursday, 9 October 2014

Winter dresses

Ooh, it's c-c-cooold here this week! I can't believe how quickly the weather's turned when we had such glorious weather last week.

In case you didn't know, I was on holiday last week in West Bay Dorset and it was fanstastic. We stayed in an apartment by the sea and I just could not stop looking at the wonderful sunrises from our balcony (yes, we had a balcony). I am no photgrapher, that's for sure, but even I struggled to take a bad picture of this! Below for proof!

I digress, but I just wanted to sneak this photo in somehow!

What I really wanted to talk about was my wintery Maya dresses. Not because I want to shove this pattern in your face, but because I have been sympathetic to the thicker fabric and made some choices along the way that are not something that would be put in the instructions (although I have not altered the construction method).

This first one is a plain cord dress that I plan to wear as more of a jumper dress. Here I have paired it with my Dolores tee, tights and clogs. I really love corduroy (is that the correct spelling?) and have been yearning for more of it in my wardrobe for a while. It is definitely under-used in general in my opinion. It's so lovely and snuggly and so cheap! I would really like to add a coat and trousers to my cord collection, but not sure how that's going to happen yet.

The main thing I did here was to topstich the seams down, so they are kind of a mock lap and fell seam. I did all the french seams, but then stitched all the seams down towards the back of the garment so they lay flat. French seams are not really intended for thicker fabric, so this was a good solution!

I also machine stitched the hem down rather than hand stitched, as this is a sturdy garment and I felt that a handstitched hem may have been a bit too flimsy. Also I really liked how everything was topstitched and didn't see a reason to stop using the machine.

Before stitching the hem, I attached this ribbon to cover the raw edge and make a pretty finish. I have had this ribbon in my stash for ages. I have a habit of buying things like this with absolutely no use for them what so ever, so was really pleased to give it a purpose.

I cut the pockets with the grain going across. I cannot make up anything with stripes without messing with the grain somehow. This is why they appear darker in the photos, because the nap caught the light differently. Always pay attention to the direction of the nap on these fabrics if you want to avoid dark and light bits...

The facings were cut from a thinner cotton twill in my stash, that although didn't match, was a dark colour that wouldn't scream out. I think the cord would have been too thick for facings and may have added too much bulk, but these are the kind of things you have to decide once you're handling the fabric.

Some topstitch seam detail on the shoulder. I really like how neat it all looks...

This is a view of the inside. All edges are encased without the need for an overlocker. I am so in love with this finish. It's so exciting (to me anyway) to be able to make something from start to finish on one machine and still have a good standard of finish. I always think of my mum with things like this, as she only has a sewing machine and when she was over earlier in the year I showed her French seams and she loved it!

Next dress on the winter dress list is my revese shibori denim dress.

This has to be my favourite version by far and is definitely the one I have worn the most! It didn't start out like this. To begin with it was just plain blue and was hanging up ready to be photographed for ages, but then OWOP (one week one pattern) came along and I actually wore it and I felt boring. I liked it, but it felt like things I already wear and I wanted to spice things up a bit, so I did some pleating on the flat dress, tied it up with some string and got the bleach out. James was slightly horrified, as he liked it plain, but even he has to admit that he prefers it now!

Stupidly I deleted the 'before' pictures that I took on the camera. I tend to go through and delete blog pics, to make room for kiddie pics, but didn't actually save them anywhere beforehand. Doh! Luckily, thanks to the wonder of instagram, I have some fuzzy images of before.

I love really getting up close to the denim and looking at it. Sounds a bit sad, but the texture is amazing! I have an urge to dip more denim into bleach, but don't have anything to dunk yet. All seams were top stitched down as per the cord version.

I'm not sure if you can make out, but I have used poppers rather than buttons down the front of the denim dress. Word of warning is to not do this! I then had to go and handstitch the bottom half of the placket down inside the dress to stop it from popping open constantly. I also made it so it unbuttons the man way instead of the lady way, but there was no way I wasn't using this as a pattern sample.

Hope you're all surviving the cold and rain (if in the UK). Ta ta for now!