Hi there! After the By Hand London Anna Trilogy weekend (Rose, Blue, Jungle) I dropped off the face of the earth! Thank you for the overwhelming positive feedback – you sure know how to make a girl feel good 🙂 mwah.
Today I bring you the Crazy Barbie Doll Dress, courtesy of the £15 Abakhan Challenge project. I’ve been running so behind with everything lately. I should have blogged this a couple of months ago – I’m sorry Will. Life seems to have been so out-of-control chaotic this year, I seem to be running at full pace and the finish line never gets closer…
So to atone for my blogging sins, I’ve decided to give away the piece of Abakhan fabric that I have left from this dress, it’s about 1.5m. So this dress actually only cost less than £7.50 in fabric – I’ve smashed the £15 – together we can make a £15 Challenge. BARGAIN!
I totally get that this is fabric that will have you squealing or groaning in horror. Me? I’m of the squealing variety… wait for it…
I know. All kinds of awesome. It’s a collision of plaid, paisley & floral – visual madness but it just sings to me… it’s like grandma’s rocking chair on acid.
I had planned to make an Elisalex from this fabric, it had a little more drape than I expected so I pondered what to do. Yes excessive amounts of fabric patting followed. I did so love patting this one…
Then suddenly I thought “I know Lizzy, let’s make us a sexy dress – a nice fitted one”. Note: I sometimes talk to myself like there is another person in the room – simply because I’m beginning to suspect there are two of me! – ‘normal’ Lizzy and the mad obsessive sewing Lizzy who owns a drunk monkey that does exceptionally bad topstitching some days… and when he’s not doing that he’s throwing empties at the wall and howling for popcorn… he’s a very naughty monkey but immensely entertaining… if you think I’m being delusional – it’s simply my excuse when sewing does not go as planned – it’s the drunk monkey in my sewing room taking control – never me – never…. I digress…
If you follow my blog regularly you will probably notice that I don’t wear/sew fitted dresses often, I feel very self conscious – rather like I did in my Gertie’s Littlest Wiggle Dress. I’m just awkward. Yes I know I can hang my legs out of a By Hand London Anna – not just once but twice! I can’t explain why, I know I’ve got the figure for a fitted dress but I just don’t feel like ‘me’ in them (maybe it’s the drunk monkey sniggering at me in the corner as I sew “Lizzy, oh Lizzy, people are going to ‘look’ at you in that *snigger*”). I like to think I can choose to find my legs in a maxi – but in a fitted dress – there is nowhere to hide! Perhaps it’s lack of opportunity or confidence because I’ve always been the small skinny girl and not felt I had curves to parade… fret not, I’m OK with it. In fact blogging has made me more confident about ‘me’ – me as a person (albeit a slightly loopy but actually happy person) and my appearance. This dress was more than a £15 challenge – it was a body confidence challenge!
Which sexy dress did I try? *deep breath* I chose this one… the Vogue Options 8280, the infamous Galaxy-style dress.
OK I know it’s not actually ‘out there foxy lady’ but it’s a departure in style for me. I do actually have some sexy girl dress patterns stashed… I’m just building up the confidence… be patient people… I’m still bashful when I look at them…
I’d read several reviews about the puffiness of the sleeves – and since my arms transform into toothpicks when topped with a puffball, I decided to make the sleeveless version…
And since it’s a tribute to Grandma’s rocking chair on acid, I decided to pair it with a little swatch of upholstery suede I had hanging around. Perhaps not the ideal choice but it seemed fitting… and that trim on the neckline? It’s upholstery trim as well 🙂 and the belt? Op/charity shop my dears.
So what do I have to say about Vogue 8280? It is all dead easy with the exception of those sleeves – or ‘flanges’ if you like fancy words. They are NASTY little fellas to stitch in – beware. Read the instructions carefully and go SLOW. The drunk monkey was in stitches (the laughing sort) watching me trying stone cold sober attach them to the bodice.
I don’t mind how this looks on me. I’m not completely in love (except with the fabric) – I wish I had made the flanges (that word makes me feeling like I’m going to flap my arms and fly away) in the rocking-chair-on-acid fabric instead of the contrast fabric. Ah, you live and learn.
Things I don’t love about the pattern:-
- Only the bodice is lined: easily fixed, lining a skirt is easy.
- The skirt doesn’t have a kick pleat: easily fixed, just needs some basic drafting.
- The skirt could do with being pegged: easily fixed.
- The flanges are not stitched down to the bodice so they flap a little when you move your arms about: easily fixed – just gotta keep the drunk monkey busy with popcorn for a bit.
- I should have put in a longer zip: I never ever learn, I make this mistake ALL THE TIME. I think it’s the proportions of my waist to my shoulders & hips but I need a long zip, everything is a wiggle to get in and out of! Or perhaps I should make less fitted things?? Maybe sack dresses are me?? Maybe my bone structure IS trying to tell me something.
Things I do like…
- I do like how this design has the potential to broaden the shoulders, particularly with the sleeves (just need to figure out how to minimise the puff). It reminds me of the effect of the Elisalotte back – which makes my shoulders look like an Olympic swimmer!
- It makes my waist look smaller which in turn increases the appearance of other… lady lumps…
- Once you figure out those ‘flanges’ it’s a easy sew.
AND THE CRAZY BARBIE DOLL?
So why have I called it the Crazy Barbie Doll Dress? Well the fabric is definitely slightly mad I think you will agree.
“LOOK DAD!!! Mum looks like a Barbie Doll !!!” is what my youngest daughter shrieked out when I walked down the stairs in this dress. I asked her why (given I’m currently a brunette and not very tall – nothing Barbie doll about me). “Well because you look skinny and your boobs stick out”.
OK thanks for the clarification my darling child – I shall not feel self conscious at all when I wear this…
MORE ABOUT THE FABRIC
Ok the fabric is from Abakhan Fabrics. Remember they sent me that massive box of ‘stuff’ to give away at the Epic Bloggers’ Meet-up organised by the gorgeous Rachel of the House of Pinheiro.
I know. Huge right? This box came up above my waist!
If you went to the Epic London Bloggers’ Meet-up in April, you probably went home with something from Abakhan Fabrics (huge thank you to Will) – and a huge thank you to all the lovely girls who helped me get all of that stuff to Goldhawk Road!!
I have about 1.5m left, enough for a sheath dress, a cropped jacket, a waistcoat – lots of options. I’m crazy about this fabric but I think the love must be shared… it’s 50% polyester, 50% cotton. It doesn’t press crisply – so keep that in mind when choosing your pattern.If I was to keep this, it would become a By Hand London Victoria blazer (with a contrast lapel) or a Charlotte skirt with the hem frill. However I’m handing its fate over to you!
So if you would like to be in the draw – leave a comment and let me know.
Fret not if you don’t win – you can pick this fabric up from the Abakhan Fabrics website for just £1.33 a metre now! Go on, I know you want to *nudge nudge wink wink*…
I think I need to sew some more fitted dresses.
And tell that drunk monkey to SHUT UP.
To win the fabric: just comment below, letting me know you would like to try some of this crazy fabric (you can just comment about anything and let you know you don’t want the fabric – I’m nice like that). Open internationally and closing on August 18, 6pm (my time, Sydney Australia). Winner has three days to respond, otherwise a redraw will take place.
Can you hear that drunk monkey laughing or is it just me??