|I had to take a break from drafting novels. I'm a third into the second book in a trilogy of historical adventures set in Late Rome. Sales of the previous six novels are brisk enough for me to celebrate 2012, so a bit of sewing was very relaxing over the last two weekends.|
I had a remnant of pin-striped wool/mix of only 1.1 metre (150cm wide) that I thought would make a good pencil skirt long ago. But it's been sitting alone in my sewing box (I don't really keep a stash) for two years-plus. I finally decided to take it out and use it.
Obviously, a pencil skirt just wasn't enough motivation for me. Then, I thought of my daughter's "shovel-neck" sheath dresses, made twice; once in underlined lace and the other in a high-tech pleather and lined. Both were hits with her, but were so short that, of course, I could have made either version from a handkerchief.
Could I squeeze a sheath for a grown-up out of so little fabric?
I looked at two Burda designs. Although they're very similar, and both are designs that offer ample seaming for a nice fit, I noticed that the pieces of 02-2011-131 give you more leeway in squeezing the most out of a short length of fabric
On my blog Chanel No. 6 I show the technical designs for the pattern used for daughter's sheaths, model 115 from October 09, and below that, the model from July 2011 I settled on, as photographed above, for the pin-striped remnant dress. I think of both as the sewist's quickie take on a fancy Galaxy dress, so popular years ago.
I made a couple of simple changes to 131. First I added a burgundy satin lining, (also a cheap remnant of one metre) underneath the inner front facing and substituting for the upper back facing. I omitted the interfacing on the sleeves as I didn't want wings, just sleeves, and as I had three layers rather than two at the neckline, didn't interface that either. I'll confess my corners on the dress neckline were a bit wonky, as it was difficult to align the dress seaming to a facing that had no matching seaming. This gave me an unfortunate little bubble of too much fabric at the critical inner corner of the neckline which I tacked down by hand.
Most important, I wanted more pieces (and more flexibility) for an economical cutting layout. So I inserted the zipper into the middle of the center back, adding a seam where otherwise I would have been "cutting on the fold."
I used Nancy's technique for sewing the lining directly onto a sheath dress, stitching the neckline to the facing+lining and then sewing the raw edges of the outer sleeves along with the lower sleeve opening in one go, as if the sleeves were simply extensions on a sleeveless dress. (Note that to squeeze the facing out of my metre of fabric, I couldn't get it up to the fold. So I added a center seam. Next time, I'd just cut a lining in the color of the outer fabric with the same seaming as the dress pieces and discard the facing piece altogether.
I also shifted the walking vent to my new center back seam from the side vent Burda designed.
I always prefer a back zipper construction to a side zipper placement because sewing the side seams absolutely last before hemming means that you can pop on the dress at the end of construction and simply chalk along where the side seams will give you a glove-like fit. (If the zipper were in place on one side, you wouldn't have that kind of symmetrical fitting flexibility.)
In the end, this dress isn't the wowza item I would have liked to give you for the end of this year, but it's perfectly respectable as a "found" dress made from a forgotten remnant.
I'm not sure the neckline is for me, as I don't have a formidable and flawless chestbone area, but for what's it worth, here it is the week of Christmas. (Yes, it's that bright in the Swiss mountains in the winter! The gray cashmere cardigan is really not even necessary in the midday sun up here.)
This photo shows that weirdly, I've lost weight around the waist since I fitted this dress a few weeks ago. It's not actually wrinkled around the midriff—I am. I can either add a belt or take it in some more, as I'm planning to wear it at the annual Geneva Writer's Group Agents and Editors weekend in early February.
Happy New Year and support your favorite authors by buying books in any format or form you like. It's been a big learning curve this year for this writer and I'm dazzled by the e-book revolution. Eat, Read, Sew, that's my motto.