|My Jungle January dress. It's actually draped rather than drafted but who's going to split hairs?|
I've had this fabric for approx. 4 years. It's in panels - three across the width of the fabric, The coloured part is just over 150cm wide.
One of the reasons I've pulled it out, draped it, pulled it this way and that, then finally returned it to the stash about 100 times is because I just wasn't quite sure how to make something from it. The length of the print is too short for me to get a knee length dress out of and I don't wear dresses shorter than that unless I'm wearing tights which restricts me to colder weather - we don't have a lot of that here in Brisbane. I thought it would look better if the urn was centred on the front and back but then it would really be cutting it fine on the hips where the prints ended. With this print, I didn't want seams messing things up but what about the sway back - how could I deal with that? I didn't want the print finishing across the middle of my bust - that always reminds me of an empire line gone wrong but I also didn't want that tigerlily making me look like Eve in the Garden of Eden using a tigerlily instead of a leaf either. Add to that, the bottom of the urn isn't even perpendicular with the grain, it's at an angle. Well, lots of things that just added up to "too hard basket". Finally I decided that as I had two lengths of it (ie. 6 panels), I'd just do the best I could and still have some left over if I got a better idea at a later date.
I marked out two panels that were perpendicular to the bottom of the urns, sewed straight up the sides and got to work. Due to the angles of the urns and one panel being on the edge of the fabric, one panel had to be wider than the other - it's a design feature. Too hard to work with without shoulders, so I found some black knit that was used years ago to make a few skirts, chopped off some offcut looking bits and sewed them to the top. Unfortunately, the back piece was a bit narrow.
At this stage, I had the hem pinned and marked and it was perfect. A lot of time was spent pinning, marking, sewing, cutting (repeat ad infinitum) to get the sides right. More time working out the shoulders (which involved stretching the back up to get rid of the sway back puddle). Now, I could have removed that too narrow back piece and put a wider one on - that would have been the smart thing to do, instead, I added a little panel on each side of the back piece (I'm all about the design features).
My intention was to overlock the whole thing but because I was flying by the seat of my pants the whole time, I started with the sewing machine - with white thread (easier to see and unpick and no loss of fabric). As that seemed to be going ok and my new overlocker which isn't thrilling me was threaded in white, I decided to switch the sewing machine to black thread and carry on winging it. The armholes and hem were twin needled but the necklines have a deep (6 cm) seam allowance that is currently just hanging down inside the neckline - I'll probably tack them down.
Of course, by this stage all but two of the hem pins had fallen out and the chalk marks were long gone (although, they're still nice and prominent down the middle of the back and front). I had to redo the hem marking but things were looking a bit weird, in the end, I decided "it'll do" because I wanted to wear it out that night. I'm sure the hem's not perfect but I don't think there is anything too noticably wonky going on.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Now I'm thinking I might just make a shorter one with sleeves to wear with tights for winter
I'm glad I finally made something in this fabric, as soon as I saw it in the store I had to have it. My favourite thing is the smoking lion, it appeals to my sense of the absurd and socially not kosher.
The blog post with more pics is here.