Wednesday, June 12, 2013

[in stitches] A New Dress for Daughter

Years ago I picked up a vintage reproduction pattern of a tabard-style dress.  The pattern, no longer in print, featured a quick-to-sew "Walk-Away-Dress" that had no sewn sides.  Instead it wrapped from front to back, and back to front to create the closures at the sides.  I made one for myself and liked the dress well enough, but there were a few issues.  Minor ones, that kept me from making any more dresses from the pattern.

While browsing through one of my favorite sewing blogs, I saw an older post about the Walk-Away-Dress.  In the post, an updated version of the dress pattern is featured.  Alas, THAT gorgeous pattern has not been reissued.  But a similar pattern from Vogue was reissued (and is, of this writing, still available).

But there was still something that kept me from making the dress.

Flash forward to a week or so ago.  I had finished a very sewing-intensive costume and wanted something fun to make. Plus, I was hoping to work on something that could try out some new skills.

I decided to make the Vogue dress, but not for me, for my daughter.  I also decided that I wanted to try my hand at pattern drafting by adding a peter-pan collar to the dress.  My daughter chose a darling cotton lawn fabric of blue with dots of white and green.  For the collar, we settled on a true red fabric.

As the pattern that I picked up ages ago was the wrong size for my girl, I did have to due some alterations.  I was excited to try out Nancy Zieman's Pivot and Slide technique.  The adjustments were so easy to make using the pivot methods and quickly produced a new, well-sized pattern.

I used my toile to underline the bodice, but decided against underlining the skirt.

The dress worked up quickly, though I did pause at one point to see if my local sewing machine shop had a specialty foot for attaching bias tape.  (They didn't, alas.)

In putting together this dress, I did feel pretty good about my collar pattern and how that all came together.  It also proved to be another lesson on bias binding, but I've only concluded that I'd really rather just get a specialty foot and technology to the fiddly work for me.  And I think I may become a devotee of the pivot and slide technique.

I would like to make this pattern again--again with the collar, too.  I think that the collar really sets this dress apart.  Linen may be a nice choice, or another cotton lawn.  But if I did it for myself in the cotton, I would probably underline the skirt, too.

Do you like to try out new skills when you sew?  What sort of projects do you enjoy?

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