Time for some dressmaking!

It’s been a while since I last had any inspiration for my next dressmaking project. I bought some nice watercolour floral fabric from Leiden in The Netherlands back in March and while I have some patterns I’ve yet to use, I hadn’t really decided whether I was going to use it as a maxi wrap dress or a tea dress.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Watercolour floral fabric I got from a market stall in Leiden, The Netherlands, 3m for €18 (£15)

Since summer is just around the corner, I felt it was only appropriate to start wearnig the floral shirt dress that I made at the end of last year. I didn’t realise until I wore it today that I hadn’t worn to work before. My colleagues were complimenting my dress and we talked about how great it feels to be wearing something that’s unique and you know the time you spend making something of your own (this dress was my first and took approx 26 hours total over a week). It got me thinking that I’d like to make more now and then to feel pride in knowing something I’m wearing is not widely available.

I then decided I was going to do something with my Dutch floral fabric. The only question was, what was I going to do with it? My OH found some pretty nice fabric and gave me the entire bag which had a long length of silver-grey snakeskin voile and white suede. I haven’t yet decided what to do with the suede, but I think I’ll make the silver-grey voile into another tea dress or a maxi skirt. The patterns that I’ve been looking at are from New Look, BurdaStyle (which I had previously blogged about) and Butterick.

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New Look #6723, $4.99 from PatternReview

I had already bought this pattern after reading the Adventures in Dressmaking blog where another blogger had written about her making own lace dress inspirted by Erdem. I still haven’t made that dress yet, finding good quality lace is so hard to find! I do like the style of the cap sleeve dress though, although I won’t be using a band under the sleeve and will instead hem it so it’s left as a flutter sleeve. The sweetheart neckline is not something I would normally go for, but when you look for images of dresses other people have made using this same pattern, the curves around the neckline aren’t as exaggerated as I imagined. I’ll think about it some more, but I might just convert it to a V-neck instead.

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Floaty dress 03/2013#113, US$5.40 (£3.60) from BurdaStyle

This is also a pattern I already purchased a while back but never had a chance to make. You’ve probably got the idea by now that I’m looking for a knee-length tea dress and while it’s somewhat similar to the New Look pattern, this has a higher neckline and makes the dress more demure. The front of the bodice is ruched giving it a better fit.

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Butterick 5745, normally £7.25 but now on sale for £3.62 from SewDirect

When I was thinking about summer dresses, this pattern immediately popped to mind. It’s slightly more fitted with a flared swing skirt which makes for a comfortable wear if it’s hot. You’ve also got a choice of 3 different sleeve styles (sleeveless, cap sleeves or half sleeves) to suit your needs.

Having thought about it, I prefer the look of the New Look pattern and knowing that I’d be more comfortable with a V-neck bodice instead of a sweetheart one, I’ll start working on it tomorrow and see where I get to. When making adjustments to a pattern, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing because once the fabric is cut, there’s no going back. There are plenty of tutorials out there including the Adventures in Dressmaking blog which teach you how to re-invent pieces you’ve already got, lengthening pieces or making the fit slimmer, so I wouldn’t worry. To make a V-neck with the New Look pattern, I’m not going for anything fancy. I just need to pin the pattern to my fabric and leave enough fabric above the line of the pattern to give it a V-neck shape. I’ll post more photos when I get started on it this weekend.

Now, about my silver-grey snakeskin voile, I’ve decided I’ll either use the floaty dress pattern or this other pattern also from BurdaStyle:

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Corset-style dress 05/2013#125, US$5.40 (£3.60) from BurdaStyle

I don’t know what it is, but with seeing everyone wearing shorter and tighter dresses, I prefer the style of well-fitted (not skin-tight) flowing knee-length dresses. Less isn’t always more and I feel like wearing dresses that suit your body shape is more flattering than trying to show everyone how great your body is. Not everyone needs to know about it and to me, feeling great about myself is more important than other people’s opinion (especially from the opposite sex) of my own body. The corset-style dress is more suited as beach wear and using the voile would mean having to use cotton lining underneath, although the soft flow of the floaty dress is also appealing. Personally, I prefer comfortable well-fitted bodices with an A-line skirt to balance out my slim waist with my wider hips.What are your thoughts on the styles I’m thinking about for the silver-grey snakeskin voile? Got any other dress patterns you’ve seen that you think I might be interested with an A-lined skirt?

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