Do you hoard fabric for years because you get scared to cut it? Or talk yourself out of using it because your idea won’t do it justice? Well then, how about impulsively cutting it after years because you’re mad how long it’s been in your stash and mad at yourself for past indecision?
This brings me to today’s dress. In hot weather I want to waft around in viscose dresses. Preferably loose fit with wide armholes. After finishing a version of McCall’s 8090 (to be shared very soon) I decided the skirt was perfection. And I could add a different bodice to create an equally lovely dress.
I rooted about my stash and found Kwik Sew 4111. I liked that it was a blousey bodice that they had gathered in to the waist. I decided to use it without the gathers.
I also shortened the bodice by 7cm, drew a v neckline and swapped the zip for a keyhole back. I’m sharing my altered pattern pieces for reference. The tie belt is a simple pair of long rectangles sewn all around with a turning gap. I added belt loops at the side seams to stop it wiggling around!
The keyhole is mostly for show because I can get the dress on over my head in one swift motion. Let’s dive onto the construction so you can make your own keyhole back dress.
Sew the shoulder seams of your bodice, then the shoulder seams of your all in one facings. Place everything right sides together and sew around the necklines and armholes. Clip, notch and trim the seam allowance.
Turn everything out to the rs through the shoulders. That’s the fun bit right?
NB: Start here if you only have a neckline facing! Fold over the centre back facing over again so it’s RST with your fabric. A thin piece of binding acts as a rouleau loop and is sandwiched between the layers facing inwards. Sew the seam down the centre back stopping at the end of the facing.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk. You then finish by making the centre back seam and stop sewing about 20cm from the top. Then continue as normal with your pattern instructions.
Please don’t think of me as terrible birthday brat but I wanted to share details of day 3 from my long weekend of celebrations. I still have one more day to go before I head back to reality and another press day on Tuesday.
My family weren’t free to catch up until the Saturday after my birthday so we made plans to have afternoon tea at Weetwood Hall near Adel. This 17th century manor house is popular for weddings and parties and there was a wedding going on as we arrived! We sat in the indoor terrace. All the beauty of a garden area but safe from the elements!
We dined on gorgeous sandwiches (I had the veggie selection of aubergine and hummus, avocado and salsa, and cream cheese and cucumber plus a huge onion bhaji). Then there was a dessert tray of scones, treacle tart, brownies, lemon posset, candyfloss and choc ganache lollipops!! Fizz, wine and Earl Grey tea finished the table off nicely and we chatted away the afternoon.
Sometimes you need a baggy dress. When you have this much food to eat its practically mandatory!! I haven’t been fitting into my clothes very well lately so a baggy dress fits well into my life right now. I’ve been inspired by DIY Daisy’s floaty dresses which are quite straight up and down while still feeling figure flattering.
I drafted a basic bodice with grown on sleeves and removed the darts from the front and back. Then I adjusted the front to a wrap extending into the waistline (rather than the side seam) using a v neckline as a guide. It sits high on the shoulder then drops in a steep v, crossing just under the bust. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.
The excess fabric was used to make bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. It was an awkward assembly in that I had to bind the front up to the shoulder and leave the ends unsewn first. That meant I could construct the bodice and join to the waist then install the zip. Then finally I could bind the top of the zipper and remaining bit of neckline. Of course I used my blind hem foot to edgestitch the binding. I got impatient before adding a hook and eye at the top… a job for later.
I decided to topstitch the wrap in place as I can’t be arsed worrying about flashing people. I don’t have a lot of boob to flash but no need to take the risk. The waistline is slightly raised to help the body feel and the rayon means the dress is delightful floaty!! My favourite part of the dress is this stunning print.
Susan Driscoll designs the most gorgeous prints and I was overjoyed when she released her rayon collection ‘Soiree‘ with Dashwood Studio. I actually bought three of the designs! This print is called Fragment and it reminds me of geology and gemstones. It’s all my favourite colours in one design. It looks a little navy in my pics but is on a black base. I got this dress out of 1.5m of 45″-wide fabric by the skin of my teeth!
Do you think you can identify rayon? It’s known in the UK as viscose and is a natural fabric made of plant pulp. BUT sometimes shops just call drapey polyester ‘viscose’ which blurs the lines and sometimes it’s mixed with polyester… the same way any other fabric base can be mixed with polyester of course.
You can get rayon challis, rayon linen, and rayon jersey plus much more. 100% rayon challis is prone to shrinking, goes hard and rumpled when washed then goes back to being silky and smooth when dry. It doesn’t melt under heat or make static when you wear it. Its breathable and luxurious to wear and it’s my favourite fabric type! You need a sharp needle and sharp pins as its prone to snagging and you need a large space to work on so the fabric doesn’t slide as you work or cut out.
I hope you enjoyed this post and the details of my self drafted dress. I’m building up courage to cut into the Secret Garden print above and figure out what style to sew. If you are keen to try pattern drafting I recommend the Aldrich book series. I also attended a great evening course at Leeds Art School which taught me other methods of drafting if you don’t get on with Winnie Aldrich.
Finally thanks do much to everyone who commented on my tile dress on the blog and on Instagram. I definitely appreciate it!! Cheers to you all!