Last year I cheated on a birthday dress project because my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful vintage 1950s lace dress…
This year I got SewBusy with less than a week to spare. That is the SewByTheSeatOfYourPantsSewBusy way.
Naturally I opted to pick a dress with at least 15 bodice pieces… because that is the ObstinateSewBusy way.
Naturally I opted to match a fabric with the pattern which was an IN YOUR FACE SewBusy option.
At the Melbourne Frocktails fabric trip in September, we spied a bolt of black/white gingham sitting on the counter at Alannah Hill. Several of us loved it, I think it was MyMessings, Petticoat & Peplums, Busy Lizzie and Bimble & Pimble (I’m getting old – forgive me if you are not in the list…). I suggested we do a Gingham Face-off and see what happened. We decided it could be paired with anything: piping, contrast fabric and whatever took our fancy – just use 2 metres of the fabric (I’ve used much less I think I have enough for a sleeveless shirt!).
I originally planned a shirtdress (my first thought), then I thought a Grainline Archer, then a strapless dress… then I was seized with a severe bout of IndecisiveSewBusy.
Then in one moment, I decided it had to become this…
Oh course! Let’s pair regular gingham checks with an irregular darted, pleated, seamed bodice with a crazy pleated, gathered skirt – hell yeah. And make those perfectionist stitchers’ eyeballs boil looking at all those mis-matched gingham checks… that’s the SewBusy way.
And I give you The Hot Mess Birthday Dress…
Today is (or was) my birthday. I totally understand if you don’t approve (of the dress – not the birthday). However I love it.
This dress has had mixed reviews… personally, I adored sewing it. I think it’s a little too short – but I love the pattern and would definitely make it again.
In typical SewBusy way, I loathed this pattern on sight. It was only when I pictured it with this fabric I went YES!, punched the air and purchased it.
Personally, and I totally get if some of you are rubbing your eyes at my crimes against pattern matching right now, I love how this pattern teamed with directional prints or a plain fabric. I think the whole point of all those crazy darts, pleats, tucks, gathers and more, is that you ‘see’ the hot mess of the bodice and skirt. It’s madness and I love it.
The bodice has tucks, darts and pleats. The bodice is underlined and lined. The bodice – without the contrast band, back bands ties and straps is a mere 15 pieces. The skirt is pleated, gathered and flat in places. It’s all kinds of crazy. It’s a blast to sew.
Things I did differently…
I attached the lining to the zip in the same way that the Sewaholic Cambie bodice is lined. I think the way this bodice is finished is messy *sniff*. The Sewaholic way of finishing conceals all the seams – soooo much nicer.
I boned the bodice with Rigalene – it’s easy enough, you just sew the boning to the wrong side of the bodice lining seams (minus the seam allowances). It provides a nice structure to the dress – I recommend this!
I changed the ties to have a straighter shape, the petal/balloon shape of the pattern ties just scared me.
I did do a tiny bit of pattern matching down the centre back bodice seam – don’t know why I bothered as the ties cover it… I marked the seamline on the pattern piece – I find this the easiest way to match checks.
Freaking me out…
The length of the skirt… I added 1.5 inches to the contrast band. I wished I added 2 inches to the main skirt pieces, it’s just sooo short! If I make this again, it’s going to be loooonger.
Final thoughts…This dress has had some shaky reviews and some good ones. It is not a walk in the park but it’s not that difficult either. Really. There are a billion and one steps (I never exaggerate) however if you mark all your notches, dots and more, it’s not that complicated. Really. Just go slow.
Check the finished measurements and choose your size from there. I like about 1 inch of ease in a fitted bodice so I made size 6. If I went by my body measurements, my size would have allowed 2.5 inches of ease in the bodice… way too much for this style of fitted bodice/dress in my humble opinion.
Pattern: Simplicity 2250
Fabric: from Alannah Hill, $10 a metre with black rayon fabric contrasts.
Confessions of a birthday blogger… I have more pictures of the interior of the dress… but it’s my birthday and I wanna have a drink, it’s late… *shuffles off stage left with a glass on Nant in hand…*