After the disappointment that was the orange vest/waistcoat non happening I decided to go back to a pattern I had tried and liked recently – the Karen Drape dress. No. Yes. No. I’ll make the Nettie bodysuit. No. Yes. Oh, you get the picture.
I had altered the pattern for the dress I used last time to make it a little closer fitting which helps to keep the ‘drapes’ in place. I still tend to think I am bigger than I am – not small, but not as big as I think. I think it is an improvement. See what you think.
I bought two metres of polyester lycra from the discounted table at Barry’s at the same time as I bought the cloque for the last dress with the intention of making the Nettie bodysuit but I had decided that I wanted to try the altered dress pattern. Anyhoo, after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to match stripes I realised I would have needed to buy another half metre for it to work BUT if I disregarded stripe matching I had just enough to cut the dress AND the bodysuit. Score!
I think that the pattern suggested not using an obvious stripe but I was happy to have the stripe going off at an angle on the top of the front. I suspect if it had been a very regular stripe it may not have looked quite so good. As you see the back is just all horizontal stripes and I’m happy with that too. I actually much prefer this version to the original I made – I think the fabric suits me better.
I used a strip of lycra to bind the neckline this time and I am happier with the fit and shape – I definitely pulled the elastic a bit too tight on the last version. I can now confirm that this pattern is a keeper ladies.
On to the bodysuit. This is by Closet Case files and I have seen lots of these on various blogs and really wanted to try the pattern. I was perhaps a little hesitant as I can remember wearing these when they were popular in the eighties. Did I really want to go there again?
Since trouser waistlines seem to be heading upwards again, and tops are being more regularly worn tucked into the waistband I thought it would be good to try – you can’t fault a bodysuit in keeping you neat (unless you are Patsy from Ab Fab!).
As I had just enough to cut this out provided I made the sleeves short I got on with it. I graded the pattern out one size over my (lack of a) waist and just went ahead on faith. It is a pretty good fit – the lycra isn’t straining anywhere and isn’t looking too clingy. I would be happy wearing this as it is but I shall be allowing a little extra space on the shoulders next time (yes, there will definitely be a next time) as the sleeves seem to want to climb upwards since there is very little width on the shoulders. Apart from that I am very happy, and since the pattern offers lots of variation (including making it into a dress) I can see this pattern getting quite a lot of use.
Not a bad result from 2m of fabric!
Whilst I was feeling very sorry for myself a little while ago I was sent a lovely gift – the Karen Drape Dress pattern from Maria Denmark. It really did give me a lift, so thank you very much S! (Gotta love your sewing friends 😉 ). This looked like a very easy dress to wear – and suitable for so many occasions. As Maria herself says in the instructions ‘it is your new favourite dress’ and I think she may be right. Having said that some of you will probably be thinking that as I rarely wear dresses it isn’t up against very stiff competition. Oh ye of little faith! This really is a good dress and pattern.
On to the skinny. The PDF file had 40 pages, 10 are instructions and general information which I printed double sided and the remaining 30 are the pattern which didn’t take too long to trim and stick together. The front pattern piece is complete so it is rather large on its own, but there is only the back and sleeve after that. I didn’t trace the back as a complete pattern so I could have cut it in one piece but I will be converting that before I use the pattern again, I did cut two separate sleeve patterns (I even remembered to mirror them! Yay me!)
The fabric I bought – I know, you might have expected me to have had something suitable in that almost bottomless stash – was bought in Barry’s in Birmingham. It is a polyester cloqué, 150cm wide and I bought 2 meters. I could have cut this easily with 180cm of fabric so I will bear that in mind when I want to make this in something more expensive – I hate wasting both fabric and money. I think the print looks a bit animally – leopard or cheetah or stegasaurus, I’m not sure which. However, I am claiming this for Jungle January! If you want to weigh in with an opinion as to what animal it actually is feel free.
The pattern was very accurate to stick together – none of the ‘misses’ that you sometimes find on PDF patterns, and was a very easy pattern to sew. I would probably put the fabric on the floor to cut out as a single layer, despite the fact that my knees are protesting at the thought, as the front pattern piece is large and didn’t really fit on my cutting table easily.It would be much easier to copied this pattern so that it could be cut from a single layer of fabric (it would make any pattern matching much easier if necessary too). I had no problems matching notches, or mismatched seam lengths, or anything else. The sewing was also very quick – once you have organised those tucks on the side front (and Maria has made a blog post to help if you need it) you only have to sew the pieces together and then put clear elastic into the neck (again, a helpful post if you should need it). Honestly this is a dress that a beginner would find hard to foul up. I didn’t have any of the really thin clear elastic available when I was making this and used some that was a bit thicker. I may have pulled the neckline a little tighter than the original as a result but that isn’t going to stop me wearing this dress.
When I tried the dress on I felt it was a bit large over the hips (I basically don’t have hips – or a waist) so I went back and overlocked a bit more off the side seams. It is a very soft fabric so I would be a bit careful about being too hasty about altering the pattern for this, and the alteration is a very easy one should it be needed. Having worn this a couple of times now it may be that it is still a little generous so I may be brave and cut a size smaller next time. I think that it needs to be a reasonably snug fit across the tummy and hip to prevent the slight asymmetric effect I am getting. I am inclined to over estimate how much ease I need – I think it comes of always being bought clothes ‘to grow into’ as a child. I was a little concerned that it may look stretched over the bust but it is fine, and those friendly tucks over the tummy hide a multitude of sins!
Yes Maria, I think I had just finished my ‘new favourite dress’!