I previously used the front of a superking duvet cover to make a dress detailed as Dunelm Yellow Shirt Dress project #44, now it was the turn of the reverse of that cover to trial make a new design.
I made a quick sketch and using the bodice block from my ‘Harley’ dress proceeded to draft the new style. First I drafted a square neckline and then repositioned the darts into a Princess seamed bodice, incorporating the new neckline into those seams.
I wanted a completely different short sleeve – using the cut and spread method I increased the sleeve head so that it would have plenty of fullness gathered at the shoulder. Inspired by a costume in a Jane Austen dramatization I also added a frill to sit between the sleeve head and the armscye.
The skirt would be a simple gathered rectangle with a wide band of the contrast fabric set approximately 5 inches above the hemline and I would possibly add patch pockets, also with the contrast fabric tops. Well, that was the plan!
I cut and stitched a toile using plain White polycotton fabric that would then be used to underline the bodice (the fabric is not as opaque as I would like). I was very pleased with the fit and so proceeded with cutting out the striped fabric. The stripes were mounted on the underlining and the bodice stitched together.
First hurdle was to work out how I would finish the square neckline: a facing, binding, what? I continued with making up the sleeves which were lined with the White polycotton (makes the curved hem much easier to finish) and inserting them with the little shoulder frills – a delightful design feature.
Still not knowing how I would finish the neckline, I continued making up the skirt and attaching to the bodice. By now I was pretty disenchanted with the dress so there was no point in spending more time inserting the contrast band near the hem. The skirt has a 2inch double turned hem stitched in place by machine blind-hemming. I forgot to add concealed in-seam pockets so would have to add patch pockets which also means some pattern matching will be involved.
Finally I had to resolve the issue of the neckline. I made a shaped back neck facing to which I added my ‘Carousel’ label plus strips cut on the straight grain to neaten the side edges of the neckline that are slightly ‘off grain’. These were stitched in place, turned to the inside, under-stitched by machine and hand stitched to the underlining. The top straight edge of the neckline was simply turned to the inside and slip stitched to the underlining. If I repeat this bodice/neckline design I will make that centre panel longer so that there is more fabric to turn to the inside.
I made some long self-fabric ties and top stitched them in place next to the Princess seams on the front bodice. Tied in a bow at the back they give a little more shaping to the dress.
A good press and I modelled the dress. I was underwhelmed and was thinking of calling it a ‘dis-as-ter’. However, my husband thought it looked nice but no need for patch pockets. Just as well as I am currently still not in love with the finished dress but maybe when a few days have passed it will improve.
Project #50 completed 31st July 2021