Thursday, 26 November 2009

Laura Ashley McCall's 5039 frock #3

Thank you for the interesting replies on what makes you love a fabric. I am thinking more about this myself, and am preparing to re-order my stash and disperse some fabrics that were crushes :), or maybe other people's crushes...

Daughter the first and I are attending a mocktail party on Sunday evening for her dance awards. The dress requirement is semi-formal (awful term, what does it mean?) or cocktail.
I feel this dress requirement is a tricky request for a 14 year old girl. Last year she wore a cotton voile smocked and beaded dress that she loved, but she was a little underdressed compared to the other very young ladies. However, I do not want her to dress like a 19 year old just yet.
We hunted through the stash, and she came up with some embroidered poly chiffon that she had picked, aged 6, for a flowergirl dress to wear to my brother's wedding. (My SIL vetoed it, so it has been lurking for a while, poly chiffon not being our usual style). Daughter the first obviously still likes this fabric. I asked her what appealed, still thinking about why we love fabric, and she thinks it is the sheerness and the embroidery. I thought it might be a bit twee, and reminiscent of 6 year olds for a mocktail dress. However, as it still appealed, I made it up in the Laura Ashley McCalls 5039 with an imperial batiste underlining/underlay. We added a cotton voile green sash at the empire waist for some jazzing up.I know I said this pattern was boring to sew, but it is also quick and easy. I am liking it more and more!
I thought it looked a bit like a garden wedding dress when she came out wearing it with a pink organza hat!

However, without the hat, it looked less garden wedding. I did wonder to myself how often she would wear it until she started talking about wearing it to the ballet in a few weeks (lets me off the hook for another dress), and to Christmas lunch. It seems to be a winner. I think she should wear her hair up to the party, for a more grown-up look.

The making of this dress has confirmed my aversion to poly chiffon. Originally I planned to made a full dress in the outer, and the lining fabrics, attached only at the neckline and sleeve cuffs. After sewing french seams in the poly chiffon for the skirt, I felt that curved raglan seams in a fraying, sheer, slippery fabric were not something I fancied, so I treated the batiste and poly chiffon as one layer for the bodice. I made sash keepers at the side and front from DMC stranded cotton in a silvery grey, using buttonhole stitch.

I tried a tip by Marji that I read at Stitcher's Guild for poly chiffon - to couch a perle thread rather than gather with a long straight stitch, but after attempting this realised that I should have zig-zagged seperately over two strands of perle cotton, then used a small straight stitch just inside the seam line to set the gathers. My misinterpretation, pulling up one strand of perle cotton, gave me lumpy gathers, and as I failed to remove the perle cotton before stitching the gathers to the straight pieces, I did manage to catch the perle cotton in the seam in several places, necessitating some unpicking.
If I ever get around to sewing the rest of the poly chiffon, or its relations in the dress-up-fabric box, I will try Marji's tip properly, as it has definite possibilites. I wish I had known it when sewing dozens of tu-tus and fairy dresses!
I would like to point out to Elizabeth that the rolled hem on that poly chiffon was achieved in about 30 seconds on my overlocker. I am not sure if I can face the rolled hem foot on my conventional machine - My previous experience suggests that developing any skill at this will take me a very long time.

Materials cost
Pattern - 3rd use, free
Embroidered poly chiffon (Pizzazz Fabrics) - about $12 per metre = $16.20 (the fabric is wide,and I used 1.35 metres, rather than the 2.2 metres called for in the pattern)
Imperial cotton batiste (Stitch Bliss) $17.60 per metre - $33 (imperial batiste is pretty skinny, but I still did not require the full yardage , 1.85m only.
Cotton voile (Oh Sew, Noosaville)- remnant from earlier projects, free
Thread $3
Elastic $1

Total $50.20

Absolute bargain silver sandals, $13 (I had to put those in, they were a great find)
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KID, MD said...

Very pretty, and very flattering on your daughter. I hope you both have fun at the party!

Gail said...

It is a lovely dress. I'm amazed that your daughter will wear it. My 13 going on 14 has become so picky lately and prefers cloths from her small but 17 nearly 18 year old sister's closet.

wendy said...

Beautiful! And you're so brave to willing sew poly chiffon. That stuff drives me nuts, and I don't think I've ever used it for anything other than doll clothes because it's so hard to sew well!!

Mary Nanna said...

It looks great - the green sash really makes it and gives it an edge. Happy for your sake that it was quick to whip up as it doesn't sound like too much fun to sew - slippery sheer fabrics are not my favourite fabrics to handle!

ejvc said...

Well OK, so you have a serger. I think that's the right thing to use on poly chiffon. But I bet your husband doesn't want it on his shirt hems, and nor do you.

I hand-baste my gathers, I'm afraid. This is why you can sew a dress for your daughter in a day and I cannot (aside from not knowing your daughter :-))

I've been doing French seams on this type of fabric for years with good results, also. But now that you have a serger you don't need to do that either. Serger, schmerger.

Oh yeah - pretty dress, has a kind of Regency feel to it with the empire bodice and the white!

Vicki said...

Lovely, and pretty cheap if you don't count your labour. Even a Target dress would cost that much and it would not be unique. Pretty fabric and it even matches your blog colours. All worthwhile when DD obviously loves it so much.

Digs said...

What a lovely, fresh dress, and your daughter looks a picture in it, especially in the hat. She's growing into quite the beautiful young lady, and the threads you make really enhance her charms.