Summer Sundress Sewalong Success!

Awww, isn’t it sweet- baby’s first pattern hack!

In my usual car-park place

In my usual car-park place, yesterday. The Dress Of Many Colours. The photo is rather “enhanced” to combat overexposure. But yes it *is* that brightly coloured.

The Summer Sundress Sewalong, hosted by Heather, came to an end on Saturday. I’d signed up for it back in June, and kept thinking “Oh I’ve got bags of time…”, until I realised that the deadline was only a week away, and Summer is disappearing fast, and I had various evening commitments this week. I had to get a wiggle on.

I opted to hack the Belcarra blouse pattern, because I’d thought all along it would be a doddle to add a skirt to it, because I’ve already done the adjustments to it and I didn’t have time to do anything that would need faffing about with (I was on a deadline here), and because I really like the pattern- it’s got enough coverage that I can wear this to work, if I want, and it’s got enough looseness to make it comfortable in hot weather.

Rather more photogenically, at Waverley Abbey

Rather more photogenically, at Waverley Abbey, today, at a picnic with my dance students

I made the Belcarra as per the pattern, except that I left the cuffs off and bound the armholes instead. I wanted to make the sleeves that tiny bit shorter- it is a sundress, after all. Although, when I was cutting the pattern, I totally forgot that was what I’d planned and cut the cuffs out anyway! I also cut the neckline binding while the fabric was folded so I had two pieces of that, when I only needed one. As it turns out, my spare neckline binding piece was *exactly* the right size for two armhole binding pieces. That’s a useful piece of knowledge for future Belcarras.

The big alteration though, was to add the skirt. I lopped off about 8cm from the bottom of the blouse (I didn’t realise how long it is when it’s just a blouse!). I wanted the dress to be drop-waisted, because I’m old-fashioned enough to like drop waists, and I think they are more wearable in hot weather. I wanted to go with pleats rather than gathers, because it felt like that would suit the style of the top half. I wanted fullness, so I used three widths of fabric, as I had a plentiful supply (Thanks Anne!). I may possibly have gone slightly overboard with the fullness, but that’s ok for a sundress, right? That allowed me to do generous inverted box pleats, and I kept them soft and big. I have to say, sorting out the pleats and making sure they would fit the waist of the blouse was definitely the most mentally challenging part of this make! They’re far from perfect, but I’m happy with how they’ve worked out.

The skirt is quite big!

The skirt is quite big!

I french seamed this dress throughout, because that seemed like the right thing to do- this fabric likes to fray, so everything is now safely enclosed.

While all the machine sewing was done in white cotton thread, I opted for invisible thread to hand sew the bias binding down on the neckline & armholes, despite knowing it’s a complete pain to work with, because I didn’t want any stitching to show amongst all that riot of colour. And despite telling myself to do the hemming by machine, I couldn’t bring myself to let that happen, and I’ve done it by hand- there is flippin’ miles of this hem! All with the invisible thread.

I got the hemming finished yesterday, in time to get a photo done in time for the Sewalong deadline while there was still some light, and I wore the dress today to a picnic I was hosting for my dance students, at Waverley Abbey. It wasn’t as summery as we’d have liked, in fact it started off very rainy and grey, but thankfully the weather cleared and all was nice. I was able to make the Gentleman Friend take a few more photogenic photos of the dress. And after the picnic, we went to watch the cricket on Tilford Green.

What I love about this dress? It is perfectly summery – loose and comfortable, pretty and girly. Somehow it’s got a retro vibe- not just the drop waist being rather 1920s-ish, I think I may have been subconsciously channelling the fashions of the 70s with this one! I feel like one of the Flake girls.

I will admit to having had some initial trepidation about the colours. This is a whole lot more yellow/peach/orange than I’m used to wearing, and it’s right up there next to my face!  But this fabric was a gift- I wanted to use it and do it justice. I won’t be wearing this in the wintertime, when I’m all pasty-faced and sallow skinned, but I think it works ok for me in the summer when I’ve got a bit of a tan. And if Anne thinks I can get away with these colours, then who am I to argue? And there are more than enough of my “regular” palette colours in this dress for me to accessorise/co-ordinate with.

I’d like to use this hack again. Is it possible to have a TNT hack? I’ve already got ideas for alternative skirt variation, and I’m wondering what stash fabric I’ve got that would work with it.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Summer Sundress Sewalong Success!

  1. Oh, nicely done! That fabric is simply luscious, and I’m absolutely loving your Belcarra hack! I totally flaked on the sundress sewalong — but in my defense, my Mom has been dreadfully ill so I’ve been distracted as well as away from my sewing machine.

    • Thanks Ginny! I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom, It’s hard to spend time on yourself and your own interests when you are looking after someone else, or even if you’re not doing the actual day-to-day caring, but still worrying about them. I do hope she’s feeling better soon.

    • It’s not like I’m any kind of perfectionist, I just like clean hems! And actually, once you get going it doesn’t take so long. Good to see you around again!

  2. That is one Fab – u – Lous dress! You can totally rock those brights, you look amazing. And every day will be a sunny day in that lovely dress, well done!

    • Thanks Jenna! Like I said in the post, I wasn’t sure at first that I could take quite that much orange and yellow, but actually, it’s worked out way better than I could have imagined. I can’t take credit for the choice of the fabric, as it was a wonderful swap from Anne, but I am congratulating myself on being open-minded enough to try it despite my initial reservations. I have a terrible feeling this may encourage me to go for even more bright colours!

  3. LOVING that skirt on this, it works SO well! Can a skirt be too big? – Never! Those colours look great on you, too. I’m awed that you finished in time, way to go!

    • Thanks Sarah. The skirt has proved to be quite susceptible to the wind, resulting in a few Marilyn Monroe moments, but so long as I’m wearing undies, that’s a risk I’m happy to take!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s