Friday, 20 September 2013

Minerva Blogger Network: Batik DKNY V1349 dress

Wow, I can't believe it's time for my second post in the Minerva Blogger Network. You can see my first (the Sun Studios McCall's Shirt Dress here).

This time around I opted for something a bit bold and different, and a move away from Summer. Anyone else done with summer sewing? To begin with I chose a Vogue pattern: the DKNY V1349. I liked the styling of this in the pattern pictures, it's very editorial (as Nina Garcia would say) and I liked the fact that it could be fun to make by combining up to three different prints.

V1349 pattern picture

However, in my version, I decided to go for a solid colour and just one print in order to demonstrate how you can bring some wilder prints into your life without feeling too OTT. Here's how it turned out!

My dress features an amazing Batik print in shades of blue, white and black from the Minerva cotton range. I teamed it with a solid black poplin to subdue it slightly and give it some nice clean lines. With regard to S/S 14 trends, I think I'll store this dress away until the spring. Donna Karan showed some similarly interesting blue prints and Victoria Beckham showcased three dresses in her 'Victoria' collection, which had a very similar loose fitting silhouette. I did try the dress on with tights, but I like it with bare legs and my 'boy' shoes.

The pattern consists of subtle princess seams and a shoulder yoke, which means you do not have a shoulder seam. The shoulder yoke can also be a contrast print but I decided to keep it black in this garment.

There is an invisible zipper on the back and the lining finishes the neck and armholes.

When I made the muslin of this dress I cut a size 10 on top blended into a size 12 on the hips/length. I loved the fitted finish on the bust, but as the dress was styled to be 'loose fitting' I cut a complete size 12 on the finished garment.

Another plus about this dress is that it's a day-to-evening look. I discovered that it works equally well with a white shirt underneath for a bold, office look and then on its own for cocktails at Janet's bar (right, Spoolettes?)

Hold on, Don, let me take off my glasses and let my hair down. 
Now show me your report. 

A few things to note about this pattern:
  • When sewing seams, some have an ‘awkward’ finish with a sharp point. Make sure you catch those sharp points as you come to the end of sewing the seam. They create a nice flush edge on the neckline and other areas when sewn properly.

  • The fashion fabric and lining are not constructed traditionally. The outer fabric is constructed and BEFORE the side seams are stitched, the lining is stitched to the neckline and armholes to finish those seams. Then, the garment's lining AND dress side seams are sewn in one continuous seam. 

  • Don't forget to clip seams (neck line etc). It does say it in the instructions in the symbol boxes but doesn't remind you again in the actual steps. 

  • This pattern requires Staytape on the neck and armhole edges of the lining. If you have it, great, but if you don't, don't worry! I used a strip of silk organza instead. My lining did still stretch on the neck line at the front for some reason (possibly because my organza was too much on the straight grain?), but I rectified this easily by creating a little pleat, which actually looks quite nice, and as this lining is very light, it didn't create any bulk. If I make this dress again I will try just stay stitching the neck line instead with a lighter pressure foot and tension.

  • The Batik is a light cotton, so make sure you stabilise the zip seam with interfacing before sewing the invisible zipper. 

  • I ended up with the dreaded back neck gaping again. On the size 10 muslin, it was fine but I think the extra room on the 12 caused a problem. For now, I have added some darts, which don't look out of place as the back is quite geometric in style anyway, but in future I will take extra from the zip seam. 

  • Ever so slightly, I find that this dress wants to pull back at the shoulder. This is more a standard fitting issue I have with my shoulders and commercial patterns (particular these types of shift dresses) and an easy modification when I make this pattern again. 
Overall, I enjoyed making this pattern. I liked the unusual construction and the interesting lines of the shoulder yoke. I think this dress has alot of versatility in terms of season, day/evening and shape. I also love the extensive colour/print options you can play around with.

If you love my version, don't forget you can buy my kit from the Minerva website here.

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