Last Monday I wrote about my obsession with books. That I can sit down for hours browsing through craft books admiring the lovely photos and dreaming about my future garments. One downfall is that there is so much inspiration, that I sometimes am overwhelmed and instead of starting something I lose myself in crafting dreams. The second problem is always the dreaded fitting. On the slim and tall models in the books (perhaps with a lot of tape, pins and photoshop) all the presented garments look wonderful. Real life me – neither tall nor slim – and the garments look – ahem – differently. But not this time. No, I was victorious, and I even used my nemesis, the woven fabric. But let’s start at the beginning.
Two weeks ago, I was for in Leipzig a short vacation (beware one day I will write about this and dumb the millions of architecture photos on you) and during this stay I bought a sewing book: Cottage dreams from Sabine Lorenz. A book full of romantic dresses with tiers, frills, and long skirts. I think I am in love with every single patten in this book. Sadly, the publisher made a mistake while printing the pattern sheets and so not all are garments of the book have a complete pattern (ahhhhhhh – but the publisher promised to send the corrected sheets soon). After one week of intense rain, I dared to take the book into my hands and hoped that the one pattern I wanted to start with had a complete pattern sheet: and yes, I was lucky. My choice fell on the midi-length dress “Sarah” with ruffles on the sleeves which is completely new to me. The dress is one of the easier designs as it is only semi fitted (no zipper or buttons) which serves me well, as it is made from the unforgiving WOVEN fabric (I think I should be careful not to write this too often or I will conjure up a kind of fabric monster which haunt future sewist in their nightmares). And the body of the dress is very short, more like an empire waist, which also suits me well, as I in general must shorten the body of most normal waist patterns.
Cautious as I am, I have chosen a gifted curtain fabric to first make a muslin to test the sizes and the fit. By the way I just learned the English proverb “once bitten twice shy” which describes my state of mind regarding dressmaking with woven fabric. Funnily in German the proverb is much more brutal. It translate roughly “the burned child fears the fire” :-DDD A lovely feature of the book is that it gives you not only a size chart but also spells out the measurements of the finished garments. I decided to use a size M for the whole dress although my waist and hip are a size L in the chart, but the finished measurements of the dress Sarah are very wide for hip and waist.
Cutting the fabric was easy because in contrary to my usual tiny scraps of bargain fabric I had two metres of this flower curtain. Sewing the dress was also no longer a hurdle for me, as I finally seem to understand how this type of dress is made. The only new part were the ruffles on the sleeves. But, dear reader-who-wants-to-replicate-this-and-and-has-never-done-it-before (wow, what a name :-D): ruffles are easy too. The sleeves consist out of three pieces, the sleeve cap with upper arm, the ruffle, and the forearm. First the upper part of the sleeve is gathered (it’s a puff sleeve) and attached flat to the body of the dress. Then the ruffle is gathered to the width of the upper sleeve and both, ruffles and bottom part of the sleeve are attached in one go. I tried to sketch it for you, but I am not sure if the schematic is understandable…?
Afterwards the side seams of the body and the sleeves are closed and the gathered skirt is attached (nothing new here, so I shortened the description). Tada: Dress is nearly finished and I after trying it on I am kind of surprised that it fits well without major modifications.
As always, I think the shoulder seems could be higher up (or the back could be smaller, not sure which one, or if it is ok as it is). But the rest is really to my liking. So much, that I will right now (while I am writing this post) dye it dark blue, in the hope to get a wearable dress.
If you are anxious to know if this worked out and if I now have a lovely deep blue dress, you have to join in on our Needleworkmonday Live Chat today 4 October 2021 at 7pm (BST) – more information in this post. You can find the link to the Live Chat pinned in the #general channel of the Needlework Monday Discord. (Or you just read my next Mondays post :-DDD)
If you want to see more beautiful projects with yarn, fabric and most of all needles, follow @needleworkmonday on hive blog. Or even better grab your needles and keyboard and join the #needleworkmonday community. You can read more comments on this post on my hive blog.