Saturday, 14 March 2015

Bird Dress


I am feeling especially happy with my latest sewing creation, on two counts. First, (and not least!), I have managed to finish it! (Something I'm proud of given the lack of sleep this week, unsociable hour baby 'alarm calls', a huge work deadline and general baby busyness). Secondly, the fabric is in a gorgeous inky, peacock blue that I had been keeping an eye out for for some time and then by happy happenstance stumbled across in , The Sewing Shop, Canterbury...AND in the Sale ! Lastly, I had been saving up this birdy beauty in my sewing box for about ten years, retrieved from an old Noa Noa top that I loved 'til it could be worn no more, but now taking its new place here :o)

The design is by Lynn Mizono for Vogue V1410  :

I immediately fell in love with the quirky shaping, its definitively Japanese elements (unsurprisingly) and the versatility of the style. It sang to me on so many levels that I danced a merry dance inside at having found a pattern that ticked so many boxes. That said, I have still made some necessary tweaks and adjustments...(just a few), these include shortening it, adding sleeves, changing the neckline and replacing the suggested button to draw it in at the front, with my bird panel.
Another option here is to use a piece of ribbon or another panel of contrast fabric, which is what I did for my toile :
It is a pretty fabric-hungry pattern, asking for 3 metres. I didn't quite use all of that, but was left with just enough over to add some 3/4 length sleeves. The pattern pieces are voluminous! A front and a back, large as you like and reminiscent of my advanced pregnancy body..(where was this pattern when Eloise was an 'inside baby' ?!)
Making a toile for this dress was definitely time well spent, as this was where I discovered that the rather long length wasn't quite working for me. As well as shortening it at the hemline, I ultimately 'took out' some of the middle of the pattern too, so that the bulbous curve of the dress' design starts a little higher up.

I also found that the marked positioning of the tailor tacks where the dress is drawn in at the front of the bodice were not so well placed for me either. I brought these a little higher too. I also found that the neckline was slightly 'baggy', (an issue I have found echoed in reviews by others sewers making this dress). This was resolved by continuing my folds all the way up to the neckline and then adding a couple of small darts.

The back of the dress also features a couple of darts to pull it in and shape it a little. Again, I just moved these to where I was most happy with them :
Having decided to add sleeves, I hunted down a pattern in my box that had long sleeves. I then measured the sleeve pattern piece, as well as the armholes on my Mizono dress. The latter being a couple of centimetres larger, I enlarged the pattern piece my making a clean cut down the middle, carefully opening out the pattern piece at the top to the required extra centimetres and then backing it with some card to create a new sleeve pattern that would work for this dress. It worked a treat and the new sleeves eased into the dress beautifully. The nature of the fabric helped with a little bit of forgiving stretch, but actually the fit was pleasingly good. 
(See 18th June 2013 post re using a similar method to add extra room in the back of a skirt).

This has been worn and washed twice already, giving me to believe that it may now be one of my new 'reach for' wardrobe staples. Also prompting me make a couple more in different fabrics. My linen stash awaits its call up for a Summer version.

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