A few days ago, I posted on Facebook that I was taking a couple of days off from quilting and writing articles, and was going to sew up this pattern.
It’s from Lekala. You choose your pattern, enter your measurements, and are emailed a pdf for a personalized pattern. I’ve tried them before, with moderate success. But the style lines on this dress were so interesting, I had to try again. I really wanted to use those bust darts radiating from the left armhole!
I knew I wanted to use a solid-colored fabric so the darts and seams would show up. Several months ago I ordered this lavender fabric from Fabric.com, thinking that I might use it for this pattern. The only description of the fabric was that it was a poly/spandex woven.
I spent most of the first day tiling and taping my pattern, and making a muslin, and altering it to my taste. I was pleased that the muslin fit pretty well, straight off the pattern. Yes, it’s made for my measurments, but there are still little alterations needed, specifically for my slightly wonky right shoulder, which is a bit lower than my left, and for my right shoulder blade, which protrudes a bit more. I also had to take a little in at the upper chest. (Note: In my experience, Lekala patterns are made to fit much more snugly than I like, so I cheat by adding a little to the measurements I use. Also, the armholes are higher and tighter than I like. I haven’t quite figured out how to change my measurements to allow for that.) I also decided that I wanted the dress to be longer than the pattern, so I added 2.25 inches in length.
When I had received the fabric, I pre-washed it, thought it was just a little odd, and put it away. But I really wanted this color to go with the necklace my daughter made for me for Christmas! When I cut out my altered pattern, I thought again that this was unusual fabric. It’s a tight gabardine weave, crisp, with a little stretch, and a very cool, smooth feel. I tested it with the iron, and it handled medium heat well, with no iron marks, it pressed in good creases with steam, and seam allowances barely showed through. I thought it should be easy to sew, although I still wondered about the odd feel.
On the second day, I got to sew. This pattern is really very simple to put together, but DO NOT follow the (very minimal) directions included with the pattern! The directions for the armhole and neckline facings absolutely will not, cannot, physically work! If you know how to sew, you’re fine, but for someone not sure of how things are put together, this would be a disaster.
I’m pretty pleased with this dress! It’s not meant to be a special occasion dress, more of a let’s-go-to-our-favorite-Mexican-restaurant dress.
I considered making the flap into a real welt pocket with flap, then decided that I really wouldn’t use it, and to just save myself the time. So it’s just a decorative flap.
I’m not sure what I was doing here, but it shows the right side of the dress!
I’m not entirely thrilled with the fit of the back, but it’s not bad. I added a couple of vertical darts to give it a bit more shape at the waist. But this dress isn’t special enough for me to want to spend any more time fine-tuning the fit.
I absolutely love the fit through the chest and bust! And look at those diagonal darts! I edgestitched the darts to make them just a bit more visible, because, after all, they are why I made this dress.
And here’s the necklace for which I made this dress. Isn’t it awesome! My daughter is a jewelry artist, so I’m the happy recipient of many of her lovely pieces.
This pendant was made with polymer, acrylic, silver, tiny pieces of gold leaf, and a citrine! You can see her fine jewelry at AnniePennington.com, or contact her for ideas for custom work. She has also recently started a new line of fun, whimsical pieces with RadishFightJewelry, where you can find necklaces made from the same kind of colorful polymer mosaic as mine, although without the silver and semi-precious stone.
Now, back to my dress, and that unusual fabric. I discovered why it just seemed strange. When I stitched those darts in the back, I made the first ones too long and too far from the center. So I took the stitches out, and started to press out the creases. Steam alone didn’t do it, so I spritzed it with water.
The water beaded up and didn’t soak in at all! (Sorry, the color is wrong, but this is the same fabric.) I didn’t notice it when I pre-washed it; I just threw it in the washing machine with other fabrics I was pre-treating. This fabric is almost completely water-repellant. It’s rainwear fabric!!! I have a raincoat dress!
I would like to ask online fabric sellers to please, please, write more accurate descriptions of their fabrics. Some sites are very good; EmmaOneSock and Gorgeous Fabrics are two that I’ve ordered from often. Others, like Fabric.com, are obviously not great. I would never have purchased this fabric if it had been described as rainwear fabric! It all turned out fine for this dress, although I wonder if the dress will be hot to wear. Will I make the pattern again? I don’t know; I like it, but I don’t wear dresses all that often. But if I do, you can be sure that I won’t make it as a raincoat dress!