Because New Zealand is far away from the rest of the world and only has a small population it means the cost of some things can be very high, a good Vogue pattern nowadays is often around $30, and a lot of the time shops don’t stock what you want as there isn’t enough demand. So when a few months ago Leimomi asked if anyone wanted to split postage on an order with Decades of Style I put in a request for the Dorothy Lara pattern. As I don’t really do vintage style I bought some spotty fabric from The Fabric Store with the idea of making it a bit more of a modern vintage style dress. The ladies at the counter told me that the pink dye in the fabric wasn’t colour fast and was I sure? I thought “Eh, I’ll wash it a couple of ways and see how bad it is”, figuring I could always regard it as a prototype and make it again in the future if I liked the pattern. I cut a long test strip and cut it up into three pieces and washed it in cold water, salted water and a colour fixative – no joy, my pretty white with bright spots fabric ran and ran all the way home! In fact the dye is so unstable even the tiniest amount of “glowing” from two wears has turned the underarms a light pink.
And then Leimomi suggested the 0 degrees of separation challenge and paired us together, sending me into a paralysis of intimidation at the thought that our work would be compared. I procrastinated hard on this as I watched all the fabric and pattern links being made and various people earned pseudo doctorates on chaos theory and fabric stashes. Finally after months of dithering I made up a muslin in my size based on my measurements, figuring I should at least try to do it properly. I’m glad I did as I took it along to the April open craft night at Made on Marion and Leimomi had a look and recommended I go down two sizes in the bodice and one in the skirt. There is a lot of ease in this pattern.
She has made a couple of versions of this dress and found that the front has a tendency to gape a little which my muslin was doing so suggested I shorten the binding which is cut on the bias and stretch it to pull it in a little. I did this, cutting about 2.5cm from the binding, but even so I think it still gapes and would take another centimetre off again if/when I make up the next version.
One of the features of this dress is all the gathering. The instructions say to gather then top stitch but I found that if I gathered with a small stitch length and the right side of the fabric facing down I got just as nice if not nicer effect and could skip the top stitching.
Taking the photos after Yum Char was a bit of a laugh and we romped all over Te Papa earning ourselves lots of smiles from bemused Museum visitors.
Overall I like the dress, it’s a pretty thing and I was very coveting of Leimomi’s version so I think I’ll be on the look out for a beautiful border print and have another go.
Post Script: I judge most of my clothing on how scooter friendly it is. Dresses can be tricky and because I was trying not to crease my skirt too badly before photos I didn’t tuck the skirt under me like I normally would, so as I was driving up the hill to the Meet Up the wind flicked the skirt up and over my head, yeah so, half of Wellington now know the colour of my knickers – blush.