Saturday, May 12, 2012

An unusual dress

Wacky warning alert... this is it!!  
I've liked how Caroline is making good use of old Tshirts lately.  And Tim did a clean-out of his wardrobe recently, and part of the toss-out pile was a few old surfie Tshirts, in shades of blue, navy, grey and black... there were cool prints and interesting stitching details... and my brain started ticking over.  I saw artistic possibilities.
Also I have just bought a few new patterns recently, and Vogue 1281 was mysteriously part of my haul, a very pretty, extremely flatteringly shaped, draped cocktail dress.
This is the thing, you see; when it comes to sewing I like to be challenged and so I prefer the more interesting, difficult and intricate styles and it so happens that these patterns are also usually the most formal and prettiest of little cocktail numbers, totally unsuited to my actual lifestyle.  Most of my days are very casual; I walk my dog, I go to the beach and climb over rocks and walk through the bush, I work at home and I do the housework; so what is a girl to do?  Well I'll tell you what this girl does; she still stubbornly ploughs ahead and sews up the challenging and intricate patterns she loves, but by using the most casual and grungiest fabrics I think this rather formal style has happily become a very cool dress with a deconstructed urban style that fits in very well with my tastes as well as my actual lifestyle.  I am thrilled with how it turned out, and could not be happier with my new dress!  This is now a perfect everyday dress...
WIN!
I used four Tshirts for the main pieces of the dress, and another one for the lining pieces.  I cut them and sewed them together, arranging the different colours to be evenly spaced around the finished dress, and to have the prints and areas with the interesting stitching details that I liked to be prominently featured.  One of the Tshirts was plain black with no interesting stitching or detailing but was of a very lightweight and beautifully soft knit compared to the other three; so this one I used specifically for the potentially bulky part of the dress; the pleated, draped and knotted areas all coming together on the centre front of the bodice.


Picture taken around 11am;  Temperature at the time 22C.
Overnight low: 14C; Today's high: 29C 
Gloriously sunny and warm!  Maybe the last really warm day of the season.



Details:
Dress; Vogue 1281 modified slightly, using 5 of Tim's old surfie Tshirts
Thongs; Mountain Designs
please excuse the sandy bottom...!




Pattern Description:
Dress has no side seams, very close-fitting, lined bodice, single layer, pleated shoulder strap looped through front pleated drape, front wrap skirt cut-in-one with back, raised waist and invisible back zip.  Strap and bodice: Narrow hem.  Bodice lining: Elasticised upper edge.
Pattern Sizing:
6-14.  I made a size 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
in essence, yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty easy.  Step 8 and 9 takes a little bit of concentration to get it right.  I had to redo this when it didn't work out the first time.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the style of the dress, the draping, the interesting bodice and neckline!  The pieces fitted together perfectly well.
I personally didn't like the instructions to hem the upper edge of the bodice before attaching to the pre-elasticated lining pieces.  Instead I constructed mine to sew the bodice and bodice lining pieces right side together, so there is no visible stitching on the outside.   I really think that visible stitching would take away from the dress, particularly if one was sewing this as a dressy cocktail dress which is I suspect the purpose for which pattern is intended.  Not that it really makes much of a difference in my particular dress, which is a very casual style using very casual fabrics, but that is just my personal preference in any case.
I thought the stitching line along the bodice lower edge left it with a weirdly wide seam allowance, and for no discernible reason...  I left it wide but I still don't seen why it is like that.
Fabric Used:
Cotton knits
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my dress using slightly stretchy knits, so I eliminated the invisible zip and sewed up the back centre seam.
I extended the right skirt edge by enough so that I could sew the skirt edge down on the inside to a joining seam inside the left side of the skirt.  This was only possible because I had made a pieced skirt piece, but in any case I think it would be essential to extend that right skirt edge to wrap around more fully underneath anyway.  Unless one plans on wearing a slip underneath the dress, or lining it; since there is absolutely nothing to stop that skirt from flying open in a breeze!
I found the strap piece to be pretty long and needed to shorten it considerably... by 10cm!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again.
Conclusion:
It is a gorgeous style, very flattering to a woman’s curves.  I liked that shoulder strap, how it frames the decolletage and the face in a very lovely way, that chic front draping, and how it joins in at the back asymmetrically.  Interesting!
You could eat to your heart's content at a cocktail party or dinner, and this dress would allow you to do so very comfortably!
I love this dress and plan to wear it a lot!

54 comments:

  1. I really like this dress. I have had been planning a similar idea but a shift made using all of my leftover knit fabrics. If this was your wacky dress, I don't think it is wacky at all, more ingenious or perhaps I am a little wacky as well.

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  2. Very clever! This has come together beautifully. What a lovely dress and perfect for your lifestyle.

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  3. Absolutely stunning dress! I am in awe! You made the most beautiful dress and recycle at the same time.

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  4. I have a serious blog crush on your sewing Carolyn. I love what you do with fabric, patterns and your sewing machine. This dress looks absolutely tremendous!

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  5. Completely fabulous! Do you have the most amazing wardrobe in Perth?

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  6. What a creative take on this pattern and so perfect for you. This was a delight to read about and see.

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  7. What a terrific idea using old t-shirts. I don't think it's wacky at all I actually like your dress better than the one on the pattern envelope.

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  8. This pattern never really appealed to me, but you have elevated it into a really lovely and fascinating make. Nicely done!

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  9. All I can say is you are one cool woman!! Love this dress and your post.

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  10. That is really amazing. You are very clever. Mave

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  11. Gorgeous! And so you :-).
    I do like making unusual designs out of casual fabrics, I'm much happier in a Vogue designer sweatshirt. The flip side is dress-up clothes that are very simple but made in fabulous fabrics. I can't quite decide which I like best. I guess middle of the road is really it?

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  12. Great dress! I just made something wacky, too, and did a similar blog post about it. It seems like we're on the same wacky wavelength.

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  13. You are so creative. And I too wondered who took your photos.

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  14. this is a beautiful dress! and lovely details, you made a great use of these tees!

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  15. Fabulous! The style works so well on you, and the interesting mix of fabrics really makes the design elements of the dress stand out.

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  16. Amazing job, no one would ever guess it is old tshirts. Beautiful.

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  17. This is sooo great Carolyn! An awesome project and lovely lovely dress. I am going to look out for this pattern next time!

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  18. So this is the wacky dress. I love it. It's completely my cup of tea but I never would have thought to make a pieced t-shirt dress from that pattern in a million years. I will be thinking differently from now on! The way the seams are joined with the curled raw edges is so designery and stylish - and your dog is adorable x

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  19. You've inspired me!
    Creative use of old t's
    Practical use of an awesome pattern that I would have normally overlooked
    Wearable daily dress that is cute, comfortable and unusual without looking like an old house dress

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  20. This is why I keep coming back to your blog. You're so damn creative that I keep hoping to suck up some of that through my monitor. I would have never thought to do that & I'm truly impressed with your thought process & the resulting dress.

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  21. This is so stellar. I love the idea of making what is basically a fancy cocktail dress out of old t-shirts. Looks so comfy but with such an awesome silhouette! Inspirational as always m'lady!

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  22. FAB-U-LOUS. Wow, this is a perfect marriage of style and materials!!!

    When you do your post on costs, this is going to be almost free. :)

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  23. But this is lovely! When you said whacky dress, I was picturing - well - a whacky dress. This is beautiful and interesting and awesome! (I would load up more compliments in that sentence if I could.) I love it!

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  24. WOW! I love your version a million times better than the pattern sample. What an awe inspiring job!

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  25. I just love this dress! The colors and prints are perfect. I wasn't excited about this pattern when I saw it, but your version is fabulous.

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  26. Fabulous, clever, love it. And you know I feel the same way - too many fantastic Vogue cocktail dress patterns not enough events in my life. I must take a page from your book and just make from interesting fabrics and wear them anyway.

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  27. Okay, that is about the craziest, most amazing dress I've ever seen! Yay for creative thinking!

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  28. So glad to hear someone else loves the challenge of pattern design within a life and lifestyle that is totally different. I agree with you.

    I am working on Vogue 1305 which will be worn as an around-the-house dress. I don't have another source for fabrics I use, but you've made me realize the results could be spectacular, like yours!
    Kudos!

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  29. This is seriously clever! And so pretty too! I didn't care for vogue's version at all, but I love yours.

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  30. I love the asymmetry of this dress. This is so fantastically unusual. Genius to use up old tees.

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  31. stunning! and brilliant. :)

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  32. Beautiful! I just love your dresses that combine different fabrics, and the way you've made a dressy look into a casual one. Inspirational.

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  33. This turned out fabulously! I love the fit and it is even more amazing that it is made from recycled clothing. I pinned this to Pinterest!

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  34. I am very impressed with this dress. I love how you have made it work with your lifestyle with the fabric you used. Food for thought for me, as I live a casual life too.

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  35. Lord you are a clever clogs! So wonderful!

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  36. it is fabulous!!! i love it ~ it looks so comfy and the colors are great!!

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  37. This is just gorgeous - I love that you've taken something a bit formal-ish and used fabrics that make it such a practical day dress. I REALLY like this - to the point that this pattern is now on my radar next time BMV has a sale!

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  38. What a fabulous project and a stunning result! I love your use of tshirts to turn a cocktail dress pattern into everyday wear. I would never have looked twice at this patter...now I am off to check it out.

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  39. I rejected this pattern when I saw it and I am wondering why now! Your dress is wonderful - and a great way of using fabric that would otherwise be wasted. I work at home too - and am currently sitting in PJ pants and T-shirt. I really need to raise my game!

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  40. If I had to chose one favourite thing about your sewing, Carolyn, it would be that you made wonderful clothes with your 'scraps'. To me this is the ideal approach. Sadly, it does require more skill than the usual way of constructing clothing. Keep it up, please - can't wait to see more!

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  41. It is wacky, but also very cool! I like your use of that print on the front drape bit. In the photos, it looks almost iridescent!

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  42. What a fantastic marriage of fabric and pattern! I love how you've interpreted this dress and made it your own.

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  43. Oh, so fun! I think it is wonderful! Definitely better than my refashions lately, but you have years more experience .. and now I know why my blog suddenly had over 200 page views a couple of days ago. :)

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  44. This is really a neat dress! Looks very nice on you.

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  45. The dress turned out fabulous! A great combination of elegance, urban cool and comfy, I think!

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  46. I was thinking about buying this pattern today. And WOW, what an interpretation! It's a great idea to use tshirts for a dress pattern like this! I love it. Thanks for the inspiration Carolyn! :D
    irem
    http://sewingyourstyle.tumblr.com

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  47. Just found your blog from your pattern review. WOW !! Love your images. Need to spend some time looking at your blog ! Also love your take on this dress. Brings to mind the designer Alabama Chanin (just bought her book from Amazon ) Your take on using t-shirts is fabulous ! Will keep watching this space. Very inpirational. I've just come back to sewing after many many years and find it hard to do the casual while still having interesting patterns. I need look no further! Thanks for your blog.

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  48. I love the dress you made. I didn't like the example on the pattern cover, but now that I've seen your version of it, I think I shall buy it and also make it from jersey fabrics! Thank you so much for your post and for the inspiration.

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  49. Oh my gosh I LOVE this dress! I'm trying to catch up a bit on blog-reading, & was noting to myself that you look elegantly fab in any setting you walk through, but this one stopped me in my tracks & I HAD to comment!

    A cocktail dress out of t-shirts - BeYOND inspirational! An eye and mind-opening concept; thank you :D

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  50. Lovely dress. Great choice of fabric

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  51. It's beautiful! I never thought I'd say that about a dress made from old t-shirts, but it's true!

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  52. I just found your blog because I bought this pattern and was wondering what kind of luck people had making it up. This is amazing. I was also going to use leftover knits and now I am positive that is what I am going to do. Thank you so much for writing up this review. You have definitely inspired and now I have to check out the rest of your blog!!!

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