During my recent review of fabrics to be used during the Autumn and Winter months I came across this length (2 metres) of Cobra Corsage printed on a stretch cotton base that was bought from Minerva. Originally I had intended to make some slim leg trousers but have still not sorted out the very best pattern to use. I knew that I needed/wanted a new pinafore dress and thought this fabric would be ideal. Hmmm, though which pattern to use?
After a search through my previously used patterns (I did not want to have to make a toile of an as yet unused patterns) I decided to try a repeat of the hack Vogue 8577/Sew Over It (SOI) Penny dress skirt.
In truth the only parts of the Vogue 8577 and SOI Penny that are used in my version is the yoke and bodices but even they have been amended. The ‘old favourite’ half circle skirt pattern from the Penny dress by Sew Over It does not normally have a centre front button opening but I added to the centre front seam (originally a fold line). I also added my standard side seam pockets that are attached to the waistline seam to prevent them flapping about!
To cut the dress from this meagre 2 metres was really ‘pushing’ it and I did have to reduce the length and then the width of the skirt panels at their hemline and also cut the front facings in pieces that were then combined to produce the full length required.
It was only when I came to put the part-stitched bodice onto the mannequin that I realised the glaring error in motif placement! When cutting out I had been concerned that I had a good-sized motif placed at the shoulders, just under the yoke seam but overlooked the checking of the other motifs. Now I have the same large, dominant motif on either side of the lower bodice front. Unfortunately even with a generous overlap of the buttonholes and the addition of a wide elasticated belt, these two motifs are rather ‘in your face’. An important lesson to learn when next I use a fabric with such large motifs.
I used some plain Black anti-static lining from New Threads Quilt Shop for the bodice but did not line the skirt as I would always be wearing a slip.
Having managed to construct half of the dress I then fell ill and was unable to continue for nearly two weeks. The dress was on the mannequin – taunting me. However, I finally managed to return to the project. I was fortunate that even after reducing the skirt panels, they still fitted onto the bottom edge of the bodice at the waistline seam.
Having searched through my button stash I selected from a range of painted wooden ones that I had bought in bulk from eBay.
I worked 9 buttonholes, 3 on the bodice and 6 on the skirt, before laying out the dress to try and coordinate the buttons with the pattern around the buttonholes. I think that I have succeeded quite well in this.
Finally, I came to the hem of the skirt. I had to reduce the length of the panels when cutting out and therefore did not want to make a deep hem and lose anymore length. The solution was to have a narrow seam with bias binding (as demonstrated by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour).
I did not have any satin or plain cotton bias tape so decided to make a feature of the binding. I used a fat quarter of some French General quilting cotton to make 1¼ inch wide binding. I stitched to the hem of the skirt using a ¼ inch seam before turning to inside, edge stitching on the machine and finishing with a hand sewn hem of the binding to the skirt. I am really pleased with this finish and will probably use it again whenever I want a narrow hem.
So in conclusion, some good points and a couple of disappointments for this project. Finally, although the fabric has a great print design, is lovely to cut, stitch and press it is terrible at picking up lint. I have been forever picking off threads and ‘fluff’ so perhaps it is just as well that I did not make trousers from this fabric.
Completed 11th February 2020