I've been super busy the past couple of weeks - both at work and with lots of crafty bits and pieces at home too!
On Friday night I did the most part of the sewing on a new dress to wear to our friends' wedding, which was yesterday (there's nothing like a deadline to get me sewing!).
This isn't the most flattering pic of me or of the dress (the bloke scrubs up alright though! =)), but it was the only one I got that shows the full dress! (bad blogger, I know!)
The fabric, I am almost positive, is cotton - its silky and kind of shiny, and so very crushable (just putting on my seat belt in the car ruined my front pleats!) but it was gorgeous to wear! I have another good length in the opposite colours - yellow with turquoise (it's just a bit greener in real life than it looks in this pic) spots - which I picked up for $5 a metre and that might just also end up as a dress!
I used a bit of a mash-up of two patterns - with quite a bit of creative drafting! I wanted the same skirt as my other spotty dress (simplicity 2886) it does have pockets, after all!!) but, inspired by Michelle's gorgeous tea dress, I wanted a bodice with pleats at the neckline, and then gathers under the bust for shape.
I found a pattern with the bodice details I wanted (New Look 6966), but when I got it home I found it only went up to a size 16 (I generally need a 16 or 18) - and after measuring the pattern pieces and comparing to my own measurements I could see it was going to just be a smidge to small. So I had to add a sizing-up to the FBA I would usually do! I mostly did this just by comparing the pieces to the corresponding pieces from simplicity 2886 - which was actually really helpful for putting the two together, because it meant that the skirt and bodice fitted together perfectly.
I learned a lot from this project - mostly that with the help of online tutorials and my Cal Patch book I can add whatever details I like to any basic pattern I have. In this case I actually did the sizing and FBA on the bodice lining piece which doesn't have pleats, then used a 'slash and spread' method to add the pleats in - of course the gathering across the bust made it very 'forgiving', but it was still exciting to see that I could draft these details into the patterns myself, and that they would work out!
It was really helpful with all the tweaking I did to the pattern to work with a (kind of) muslin before I cut into my lovely fabric. Really it was more of a 'practice' dress - I did a lot of the drafting with tissue paper, a pencil and my french curve and ruler - but I also did quite a lot of basting, trying on, tweaking, unpicking and resewing. Each change that I made I transferred back to my paper pattern so I have it for later, and - best of all - I have not one by two lovely new summer sun dresses! (and both with pockets!!!) =)
In the end it turned out just a teeny bit to big in the bodice, but overall I think it pretty lovely (even if I do say so myself! haha) - it did get lots of lovely compliments at the wedding yesterday!