In which I hack my self titled Aurora dress
Happy Monday! And its a good one for me because I get to post about a dress I am super excited about sharing. Made for Indie Pattern Month Hack -It, its a hybrid of the excellently drafted Moneta bodice with the striking drama and flare of the Gabriola skirt.
Say WHAT!?! Yes I combined a Colette and a Sewaholic to make a super Indie pattern dress.
Let me start off by saying how utterly delighted I was when TMS threw down this challenge. For weeks my little grey cells churned putting together countless combinations. In all that time the combos always involved a woven + woven or knit + knit. It didn’t occur to me to mix a pattern drafted for knits and a one drafted for wovens. That is until – rather serendipitously – the shelf in my sewing cave fell off the wall (hubs had used a screw that was too short for the thickness of the plasterboard). Let me make it clear – I was very upset, angry even. One of the plastic boxes that housed my vintage patterns was shattered and the work I’d put into organising all my sewing patterns was gone in an instant. PLUS I was losing valuable sewing time!
With loud sighs of resignation and all my patterns and books in one jumble on the floor, I lowered myself into a sitting position to begin the clean up effort. Lo and behold, right there, next to each other perched atop a pile of jiffy envelopes (I keep my PDFs in large envelopes) was the Gabriole next to the Moneta. I squinted my eyes slightly (as I do when I am on the brink of a making a connection) and I was like “BOOM!! That could work….but wait Gabriole is a wovens patterns and Moneta isn’t…….“. This thought was immediately followed by this one: “Dude, you made a tailored jacket in 10 days – you can figure this out. Commit and resolve“. And that, as they say, was that.
Thusly committed my grey cells turned to the obvious challenge. After much umming and ahhhing I came to the conclusion that the best way to get a good fit would be to construct the dress Lady Skater style i.e. sew bodice at shoulders only then make up front skirt and attach it to the front. Make back skirt and attach to back. Finally sew from under arm to hem in one pass. That way I was able to get the fit I wanted at the waist and hips while also matching up the chevron points. Allow me to wax lyrical on the beauty and genius of Tasia’s design element there. The way that yoke hugs the hip is fantastic (Mr SNS’s words :-).
Regarding sizing I cut the smallest skirt size (Size 0) and that fit to the bodice fine with about 1cm excess at each side that I trimmed off.
Before sewing I also had to consider structural issues.The weight of the skirt for starters. There are 6 panels and 4 yoke pieces hanging off the waist so stabilisation was key. I attached clear elastic to the lower front bodice and back bodice. I also added it to the upper yoke seams for extra support. That way the skirt doesn’t drag the bodice down. I am pretty chuffed with that. Plus I nailed the front point where the yokes meet the bodice.
There is one fly in the ointment -the armholes and neckline. I tried everything I could think of but they still stretched out. In the end I realised that this beautiful, lovely, drapey, metallic jersey does NOT like being stitched. I used my overlocker on all seams so I was non the wiser when I set up my twin needle to finish off the necklines and armholes. I did this same finish with my Lekala side drape dress. While the finish was perfect on that fabric it didn’t work here. Goes to show how fabrics can be different but are of the same type. (My take away from this – Always test on a scrap before using twin needle or zig zag especially for key areas like a neckline). Probably a clean finished self lined bodice next time to reduce chances of stretching out. Any pointers on this would be greatly appreciated.
So when it came to the hem I decided not to stitch it because it has such a beautiful drape. Hemming was causing stretching out and creating a fluted look I didn’t like. I love how the drapes just fall straight down uninterrupted. I then just used a 3 thread overlock to finish the hem and I am very happy with it. The 3 thread overlock is light enough to not interfere with the drape at the hem line.
It was a quick sew only taking 2 sittings to make. I love this dress and feel so elegant in it – but also quite sporty. The colours work well together – these knits were stash items for far too long and honestly I am impressed that my younger sewing self saw the beauty of this fabric and bought it with no idea what to make with it. The dress used just under 1.75 m of the grey and less than 1 m of the purple. At only £6/m its great value. Score for stash busting!
I really quite love how this dress moves and looks.It was hard choosing photos to use because this dress does not take a bad picture! I had to get my hubs to select the pictures otherwise there would have been 40 or so pics. Although I have already added all the pictures to my photohosting site so if you want to see more pictures of the dress in action you can click to my Photobucket album here http://s935.photobucket.com/user/ydolem80/embed/slideshow/Blog%20Pictures/Aurora%20Maxi%20Dress
It also reminds of the Madeleine Vionnet dress Kate wrote about on her blog Fabrikated. Styling wise, it works well with all sorts of belts. My only challenge with styling it was shoes – I feel like going around barefoot in it but that is not very practical is it. In the end I settled on the tan sandals but I think it needs some silver/ metallic shoes to go with it. What sort of shoes do you think would go with a dress like this? Flats obviously – I need to be able to keep up with all my little people
I will leave you with a couple of indoor shots…
To summarise if you wanted to make an Aurora:
- Stabilise. Stabilise. Stabilise.
2. Do not make bodice separately then attach a skirt. Best off doing it Lady Skater style.
Oh and speaking of Aurora – that was the first name that came to mind after I committed to combining the two patterns….perhaps I had too much vintage Disney on my mind….:-).
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs. I appreciate you reading my ramblings. Until next time : Happy Sewing everyone 🙂
Peace and Love