Saturday, April 28, 2012

My knit dress TNT

Originally I sort of copied a RTW knit dress for this pattern and it has evolved over time. The dress in question was too small, had darts, was backless and various other things I wasn't after, so it was a combination of a basic shape and being reworked to fit my measurements and shape without the features I didn't want and with the features I did want. I thought about using Winfed Aldrich's book but as my other attempt at using her book had yielded an incredibly baggy 'close-fitting' block that had to be altered to within an inch of it's life, I decided this was the better way to go.

This was the first one, made a couple of days before I went to Sydney for a weekend. It was my first attempt at knit bindings which got better as they went along. Unfortunately, the dress was a bit too short and too 'fitted' for me and tended to ride up with wear - not good unless you're keen on constantly pulling your dress down and/or showing the world your taste in underwear. The big problem with this fabric? Those lines of squares were printed wonky - not even a slight diagonal but an arc! Grrrrr! I have another length of this fabric in a different colourway. It's some kind of synthetic, very thin knit. I think it was about $2 a metre. This  is the only pic and that trip is probably the only time I'll ever wear it unless I lose weight which, with my work out regimen (apparently, it's not enough to just have the gym membership, you actually need to attend) is unlikely.

Second iteration - I've made it long enough to forego the tights and given it sleeves and a funnel neck. Another very thin synthetic knit that tigerboy thinks feels slinky - I think it feels a bit plasticky. What was I thinking making a sleeved dress in a thin, plasticky fabric? There aren't too many days of the year I'm willing to wear this one, just thinking about it makes me feel like I'm sweating. Of course I also made it bigger, naturally, it was too big this time and the hip curve wasn't right so, on, off, on, off, on, off, trying to mark where it should be. Well, lesson learned there - I hadn't overlocked the neck and all of that on and off, squeezing it over my head every time resulted in runs in the fabric from the neck down. I was still determined to have a slight funnel neck so I had to make a new neck/chest to insert - the pattern is so busy you can't tell but it's there - kind of shaped like a small bib. I drafted the sleeves and they don't really have the traditional sleeve shape but hey, I think they work just fine (wouldn't attempt that in a woven though) - to be honest, drafted is severely overstating it, I just traced the armhole for the top part of the sleeve, extended the sides down to the length and brought them in to the width I wanted at the bottom, nope, not the traditional sleeve shape at all. I also had a sway back issue to deal with - a slightly curved (down) horizontal tuck graduating to nothing at the side took care of that. The front neckline could do with a little more room - I always forget that my neck (and presumably everyone else's) goes forward - you need to allow for that. In the side view it looks like it's kicking out at the back - that would be because I'm doing my trademark twist to see if the camera has taken the pic yet.

Third iteration. I threw this one together one day to go out to dinner that night. You'd think that I would have marked the hip curve on the pattern wouldn't you? Especially after wrecking the neck on the previous one but oh no, no I didn't. This one was intended to be for winter, it's a ribbed knit with maybe some cotton in it but it still feels very synthetic. I didn't bother with the sway back tuck for this one because I planned to wear it with a belt.I lightened the first pic so that you could see the ribs - check out those glowing legs! I used the blind hem stitch on my machine for this dress - first time I've ever used it - and it worked perfectly on this fabric, awesome! I think I should have slightly pegged the skirt, oh well, it's not likely to get worn much in Queensland anyway. I do normally wear black shoes with it but as you may have guessed, I don't really go all out for these photoshoots.

The fourth iteration (and, I think the only one to be made this year). Wouldn't you know it, this was the night before we had to get up at 4am to fly to Sydney. "Easy, peasy" I think to myself, "I'll just get the pattern out, and knock it up before I go to bed". Well, that might have been true had I been able to find the pattern - after a long time of frantically searching for it I realised that I'd have to start from square one ........ again.  So, a search through my clothes to find the previous dresses, copy one of those and ok, now I can kind of relax and knock it up. Yet another very thin synthetic knit, although this one is really soft (read, difficult for my SM to handle) and not plasticky. I have a lot of this fabric. Years ago I made a black skirt for travelling from it (actually I made two - wasn't happy with the first one), a couple of hours before the cab to take us to the airport was about to arrive - tigerboy was practically hyperventilating, at least it took his mind off his fear of flying ;-)

Quite a bit of last-minute sewing happens in tiger world, tigerboy is slowly learning not to let it drive him nuts (he's the kind that starts packing for a trip a month before hand, with the aid of his regularly checked and updated excel spreadsheet - I kid you not! Thankfully, my spontanaeity sends him so bonkers that he's usually speechless until it's all over and then I can talk him back down.) He's trying to be proactive, a couple of months ago he told me that I needed to plan my sewing for a trip to South Korea, Iceland, England and Spain ha ha ha, it's not happening for months, of course I'm not starting now. Good try tigerboy!

And wouldn't you know it? I've now found the lost pattern, complete with sleeves and bib neck for the next neck I stuff up - any wonder I couldn't find it, I'd put it where it was meant to go with all of my other patterns, as if I would have looked there!

This pattern I made is exactly the same for front and back - I just put the sway back tuck in after the fact and rely on the stretch factor to compensate for the boobs. I think I'll branch out into one with a shaped centre back seam or at least some front darts ........ still thinking on it.

EDIT: I forgot, the slinky dress was also made with this pattern.

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