Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The shadows you were casting nearly swallowed the night

Hey guys! Ready for another round of "Cam obscures interesting seamlines with a ditsy floral print"? Yup, me too! This weeks contestant is Vogue 1353!

Oops I did it again... We should probably just let the Britney Spears' lyric shame spiraling commence... You see I managed to take the pattern known for it's sharp, sculptural neckline pleats and hide it in a small-scale pink floral print making it utterly unrecognisable from a distance. *Facepalm* Luckily for me the pleats' architectural, 3-D nature makes them noticeable from the side and up-close (Or atleast that's what I tell myself ...). Also what the cotton voile lacks in pattern-highlighting-plainness it makes up for in a beautiful soft hand that makes gorgeously soft pleats. I think something with more body would probably work better for the skirt pleats but for the neckline I prefer softer, more subtle fabrics.

(Sidenote: If it looks like all the pictures for this post have really weird angles/poses it's because they were the only ones you could see the pleats in... Essentially, this dress is a nightmare to photograph!)
Hey look!! Neck pleats!!!
Magically, this pattern actually fit really well straight out of the package. I made a straight size 12 and the only fitting change I made was to pinch out 1 1/4" at the CB neckline tapering to 5/8" at the CB waistline. I'm pretty sure this is because of my rounded back or some-such but I have to make the same alteration for pretty much every pattern I make. Damn you laptop/sewing machine/scoliosis/generic teenager posture!!

Like I said I didn't make many fitting changes but I did make a lot of aesthetic tweaks- not enough to alter the essence of the pattern, just enough to make it fit my proportions more.

  • Lengthened the bodice 1 5/8" at the lengthen/shorten lines. The bodice is drafted to sit 1" above the natural waist- or so that handy notch told me. On my toile it just looked super weird, like I had a tiny torso, so I compared it to some other dresses and lengthened it so it so the waist sits at a more natural spot.
  • Shaved 5/8" off the armscye at the shoulder, tapering to nothing at the underarm seam. The bodice is also drafted to have really wide shoulders. You can't really see it on the pattern photos but it's more obvious in real life. Combined with the short waist it was not a good look (Think baby goblin trying on her mother's dresses!)
  • Hacked 2" off the hem and abandoned the hem facing for a 1 1/2" hand hem. Yup, that's right, my brief flirtation with longer hemlines is over. No shame.
  • Added pockets. Pockets make everything better. Fact.
  • Didn't stitch down the skirt pleats. Not much to say about that, I just like more swishiness.
  • Inverted the neckline pleats. I'm adding this to the alterations list to make you think it was intentional, but the truth is I totally sewed the neckline pleats backwards and I didn't even notice until I was taking the photos *Face palm* The good thing is that the pleats still look really nice regardless of the direction they're facing, and if there are any pleat purists in the vicinity then hopefully the floral print will throw them off the scent... Hopefully...
Oooh inverted neck pleats- How scandalous!

I have to warn you that I really like this pattern! (Read: I REALLY LIKE THIS PATTERN!!!) It's a classic silhouette but it has a bunch of interesting details which elevate it into a whole new sewing experience. I haven't worked with a lot of "Big 4" patterns before so I was really interested to see what it would be like, especially since V1353 is a designer pattern. I have to say Ms Unger did not disappoint. There were a ton of notches, everything fit together beautifully and there were even separate pattern pieces of for the neckline interfacing and hem facing (which you don't always get with indie patterns) and a thoughtful/economical cutting layout.

Can I also give a shout out to the big-ass knife pleats in the skirt?! I was pretty convinced that the huge pleats would look weird or I'd mess up the pleating in some way, but they look great and they add SO MUCH VOLUME!! I'm a total convert (Also Big-ass knife pleats would be the name of my rap album, just sayin')

Hems plus Big Ass Knife Pleats :P

An interesting thing about the bodice is that  it has those weird princess seams, where the seam doesn't cross the bust apex and there's a tiny mini-dart at the apex on the middle section (There's probably a technical name for that but I have no clue what it is...). Then the lining had the same princess seam, but there was a waist dart as well... Gasp!!

The princess seams with the bust darts aren't uncommon in patterns but I've never seen a princess seam with a bust AND waist dart before. I'm now really curious why you would chose to do both... Does it provide better shaping? Surely it can't be easier to draft...? But, I can't deny that the pattern does fit really nicely, so who am I to question Kay Unger's pattern making authority? (Although I will day that with the two sets of princess seams, two sets of darts and all the pleating it's A LOT of work- It pretty much felt like I was making two dresses, but it was totally worth it sooo...)

Now onto fabric. This is is the exact same cotton voile as my gathered S1873 just a different pattern/colourway. I really love cotton voile (hence buying more of it) It's super light and airy but handles easily and holds a press unlike some fibres *cough-rayon-cough* I bought the main fabric in half-price sale, then when I went back to buy black cotton lawn to line the bodice I found one last remnant of it, the exact amount that I needed. Clearly it was fate. For the skirt lining I cut up an old black rayon dress that didn't fit anymore. I have to say I now a full convert to the church of fully lined dresses. It' just soooo swishy!!! Aaaahhhhh swishy skirts feel soooo goooood!!

Also how have I never self-lined a bodice before?? When I made the S1873 dress I used an old pillowcase as the bodice lining (Don't judge :P) so the lining had a slightly heavier/crisper hand than the voile,  and it sometimes feels like the lining/voile are competing (Does that make sense?) Whereas, with self-lining the bodice and lining have the exact same hand so they complement each other nicely. And lets not forget how divine it feels to wear voile. Essentially, what I'm saying, is this might be the comfiest dress I own! Yup, I went there!

Dress lining
With the full lining and the french seams on the skirt and pockets (VIVA LA FRENCH SEAMS!!!) this is probably also one of the best finished dresses I've made. Good finishing on dresses makes me happy in a way that's both hard to describe and replicate. There is no type of joy comparable to seeing a perfect french seam or an invisibly catch-stitched hem and knowing that your time and effort have elevated the garment to a whole new dimension. I'm going to level with you now, at this very moment I'm at my desk and this dress is hanging up next to me, inside out so I can see the pretty lining- That's how good it makes me feel!

Sidenote; This dress is 100% dog approved

I sometimes think sewing blogging is one of the life's weirdest/hardest occupations. We're trying to use pictures and words to explain intangible/unquantifiable emotions, as well as tactile/physical practicallities. I sort of feel like to accurately explain to anyone reading exactly how I feel about this dress I would need them to come here and dance around in it for a day. But maybe they still wouldn't have the same emotional reaction to it, because they didn't make it- it's not a realisation of their vision, and extension of their style, a display of their skills or a facet of their growth as a sewist/artist/person. Maybe this dress is uniquely mine and my attachment to it will never be accurately explained by pictures or words or even touch. So instead let me just tell you in the simplest terms how this dress makes me feel. Happy. This dress makes me happy. And you can't really do much better than that.

Also I want about a dozen more versions. Specifically, I want a large-scale cornflower blue/white print cotton voile version... And a dark blue silk one, and a plain one to show off the pleats... And maybe one made out of rayon, to see how that affects the pleats... Basically I want a lot of dresses, but lets face it, that's not exactly new information.

Sidenote: This dress is also 100% dog photo-bomb approved

Ps. On the off-chance that you're looking at this and wondering how the backdrop to my pictures is the same even though I just moved cross-country, then you should know that I made the dress in August and took the pictures at home before I moved. I then took the hanging shots in my new room were the lighting is shit. Continuity be damned!!

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! Where did you buy the fabric from?