I've been trying to get decent photos of this dress all week but the skies have been quite grey, the light so low and now the husband has arrived back from Nairobi with some weird bug or other and taken to his bed. It's also freezing cold and what you don't see is the thick socks, vest and hat I'm wearing to keep the blood circulating. I shot these with the self timer .. always a challenge focusing on yourself when you're standing the wrong side of the lens so, after a lot of tinkering with the camera settings, I'm going to have to call it a day with this lot!
The minute I saw this wool I had to have it. The colours, the pattern, the feel of it .. it's gorgeous. But it was also pricy, so I hesitated to cut until I was completely happy. I wanted to make a dress totally simple in style, absolutely no gathers, darts, elasticated anything .. I just wanted to show off those lovely checks without distraction.
A long search led me to lesson 3 in this book. I liked the flared skirt and the fact it is roomy enough for me to wear a top underneath if I want. I left the sleeves till the end, not cutting out until I had finally made up my mind as to whether to plump for short, three quarter length or long. The pattern gives plain, loose, three-quarter but I settled on making a cuff and did similar sleeves to my Tova dress, which I love. Once I had the pattern drafted, the dress itself was a cinch to make and the wool, I hasten to add, was a dream to sew. No shifting about and fraying like the flannel and it feels so soft and silky.
I deliberately chose not to try matching all the checks but concentrated on marrying up just the sleeves instead. I'm quite happy to have a little discoordination, perfect isn't always best. I didn't bother to line it either, to eliminate bulk, I have a navy slip which I might wear instead.
One irritation about this book is the fact there are no body measurement sizes included, only finished garment measurements. You mustn't always assume that these books follow a standard sizing chart either, when comparing the garment size to those printed in other books there were slight discrepancies. I went up a size to make my dress (to give me the option of layering) but took in the side seams a fraction so it's not so sack-like. I also added a fair bit to the overall length as these Japanese patterns are normally a little short for me.
I wasn't sure how to prepare the fabric in the first place. I can't bear the idea of regular dry cleaning so after chatting it over with both the shop and with the font of all knowledge (my Mum), I put it all into the washing machine on a hand wash cycle and crossed my fingers tightly. I intended to give it the quickest of spins but then promptly forgot and it went the full cycle. Thankfully it survived, so no misshapen, felted mass of fibres and if there was any shrinkage it was evenly done and I'm non the wiser.
Perhaps by now you may have picked up on the number of checked garments being created in the harmony and rosie household. Well, I'm thinking this may be the last but you never know. Never say never. And am I crazy about this dress? Oh yes, siree, I'm going to be wearing it on Christmas Day!
Happy frantic preparations!