Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ready for Autumn: the Lady Skater dress

Confession time. I didn't think I would ever make this pattern. It's not that I didn't like it, I just didn't think it was me or how I would wear it.


I saw some of Lauren's awesome versions and thought about how this dress would suit my plans to sew a more 'grungey' wardrobe for Autumn, and I got visions of comfortable, cosy winter dresses with tights and Docs and plaid shirts. Yes, people, at times I will be living like it's 1993, dating Eddie Vedder and drinking coffee with Matt Dillon.


Despite my recent grumbles about customer service, I ventured back into Rolls & Rems (Lewisham) and found this amazing winter knit jersey in a beautiful charcoal. People must have thought bitch be crazy as I held it up against my bare arms and stroked it with my face, but seriously, I cannot tolerate itchy fabric or fabric that leaves a little hairy trail on my coat. However, this fabric is probably some of the best fabric I have bought in a while and this dress....WELL I LOVE IT!

I'm wearing this dress with my new polka dot tights (Marks and Spencers, £7) and my baby pink 3-hole Dr Martens. Polka dots are enjoying a little comeback this season, see the adorable skirts and jackets in Miu Miu's collection for full-on polka love, or team sheer polka dot fabric with harder, masculine pin stripes for a city chic look as seen in Vogue (Sept 13). This might be something to try WHEN I can eventually find some polka dot fabric I like.

I also tried this dress on with my beloved boy shoes and it looks great as smarter wear for work, so it will definitely rank as one of the more versatile pieces in my wardrobe.

This pattern was a total joy to work with - Amanda, I salute you! Because I loved my fabric so much, I decided to make a muslin to check the fit. According to the pattern sizing, I was a 4 on top blending to a 3 on the waist. However, after making up the muslin and despite an overall pretty good fit, I noticed my the waist was sitting too low and I also had a fair bit of surplus fabric around the arm and armhole.

To rectify this, I shortened both bodice sections by 1 inch and cut a 3 on the entire bodice and sleeves. I also shortened the skirt an inch (which, when combined with my shortened bodice) gave me the length I wanted.

I wanted to do something different with the neckband and cuffs, so I decided to order some ribbing fabric, which is typically used for sweatshirts. I purposefully ordered a different charcoal so that it would stand out. I love the finished effect and for some reason I now think of this dress as an Alan Partridge 'Sports Casual' - right Roisin?

Making up this pattern is so quick! Once you have done a muslin and corrected any fit issues, you can literally cut and sew this baby up in a few hours, maybe quicker. I mainly used my overlocker to sew and finish the seams, but also used my regular machine to first sew any tricky bits such as the neckband. I added clear elastic as per Amanda's instructions and I think this definitely helps this dress ALOT. I got 5 yards off eBay for next to nothing.

For my regular machine this fabric loved a stretch needle (size 75/11) narrow zig zag and my pressure foot set to 1. On my overlocker I set the pressure to the lowest it would go and, after testing scraps repeatedly, there was no stretching. YES!

I wore this dress on a little cinema date with Mr S in Canary Wharf and it was so warm and snug I didn't need a coat. Well, this week has been nice weather wise anyway, but I'm confident this dress will see a lot of action come colder days.

I am definitely making another version of this dress. I have just ordered a sample of black bamboo jersey to make either a short or 3/4" sleeve version for under a plaid shirt to be called 'The date with Eddie dress' (see these Vans from my mood board as inspiration). I need something easy and comfortable while we write songs and make out. You know, normal stuff you do with a grunge sex god. 

Have you made this dress yet or are you planning to?

{Playlist: The Replacements - Here Comes a Regular}

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