Friday, September 21, 2012

Wedgwood blue damask, with brass zips


A new dressy-wess!  This is dress 109 from the Burdastyle magazine issue 09/2008, part of the Pattern Pyramid spoils that I had my clutches on for One Glorious Week!  I did manage to trace off a couple more of the treasures within (hehehe) before sending it off on its way to gladden the hearts of new and eager seamsters….
Brocades and damasks rich in surface texture have been popping up on the runways; and exposed zips have been hot hot hot for a few years now… so my new dress is fabulously current, ticking two trend boxes in one neat little package.  Trendiness doesn’t usually power my wardrobe choices, I tend to do my own thing….  but it does feel nice to have something that is the dernier cri every so often, oui?  Oh oui!
above: at left, glossy gold damask at Marchesa; at right; Balmain damask jacket and shirt,  heavily textured Azzedine Alaia skirt.  both pictures from Vogue Australia magazine

The damask from Fabulous Fabrics was a gift to me from Sam, for last Christmas.  The delicate lace-like figuring against a rather divine background of pale Wedgwood blue whispers “luxury” to me; bringing to my mind the type of expensive upholstery that would fit right into a chic Parisian salon.  I think it contrasts beautifully against the slightly industrial feel of the heavy brass zips that I used for the pockets and the front opening.  Shimmering luxury and tarnished toughness: together in one dress.  I love the clash.
The dress is completely lined with coffee-coloured polyacetate lining also from Fabulous Fabrics, and I bought the heavy-duty brass zips in Spotlight, of lengths reasonably close enough to those stipulated in the pattern.  Initially I was disappointed I could not find zips with pale blue tape to match the colour of the fabric more closely, but in Perth you take what you can get, haberdashery wise.  I counted myself super lucky to find four matching ones! And I came to like the white; how it holds its own; clean and fresh against the delicacy of the blue and the gleam of the brass. 
The three pocket zips are all jeans zips, and a touch longer than called for in the pattern, dictating that I cut my pockets all a bit wider.  That long centre-front, open-ended zip is 10cm short, but I opted to not hem my dress correspondingly 10cm shorter, ahem!  I hemmed the skirt to my tastes, longer than the zip.  I’m OK with that!
I left off the belt loops, so I can choose to wear it with or without a belt, whichever I so desire  :)  I like it equally both ways.
The three pockets are all perfectly functional, but the zip teeth on those hip pockets are on the scratchy side against my tender skin. And the breast pocket would look strange with anything bulkier than a credit card or maybe a single slender hanky inside.  That one is pretty much purely decorative, although I have completed it to be a perfect self-contained little pocket.  I cannot bear fake details in clothes, like zips that go nowhere and pockets with no pocket bags that are sewn shut.  Loathe that.
I liked the instruction to topstitch closely along each side of each seam, and followed it.  A subtle detail, and adds a bit of extra something...
The fabric is gorgeous, but I found during construction it is the sort that finds snags on fingernails that you could have sworn were perfectly smooth!  :S  so I will just have to wear and wear and wear my dress and thoroughly enjoy it for as long as I can!
Later edit: I added a full-length zip placket to the centre opening... those zip teeth are sharp against the tender tummy skin!

Details:
Dress; Burdastyle magazine 09/2008, dress 109, in a pale Wedgewood-blue damask
Belt; Country Road, from yonks ago
Shoes; akiel, from an op shop


Pattern Description:
Fully lined, sheath dress with high stand-up collar, princess seamed front with a centre front opening by full-length, exposed, open-ended zip, inseam hip pockets and single slanted breast pocket all with exposed zip closure.
Pattern Sizing:
European sizes 34-42; I made the size 38
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, in my opinion the instructions are absolutely excellent!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern as is ... there was barely any shaping, and when I tried on the basted dress and looked at my reflection in the mirror the words “Easter Egg” popped inexorably into my mind.  I looked like an egg!  Not the image I really wanted to evoke, so I made alterations so the dress skimmed closely to my figure.  I'm very happy with the shape of the dress now, though  :)
I really love the look of that double topstitching on either side of the seams.
The instructions on lining the dress are really excellent; an elegant and tidy solution to lining a dress that I am sure I will refer to for other lined dresses in the future.
Fabric Used:
Damask
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
There was re-fitting aplenty necessary to transform it from a cocoon to a shapely dress …
The instructions direct you to topstitch closely to either side of the seamlines; I was glad I delayed this stitching until after basting all the seams up to check the fit, and I recommend to anyone else to do the same!  
I did not transfer my fitting alterations to the lining pieces.  Since it is quite blousy on me, there is a bit of extra wearing ease in there, always a good idea in a lining.
A minor consideration, but one you have to take into account before cutting the pocket pieces: since the zips are fully exposed, the length of the zips you buy strictly dictates the size of the pocket openings.  There were only a few limited zip lengths available to me, so I cut the pocket pieces in sizes to exactly fit the zips I bought.
I made the belt carriers, but ultimately left them off.  I thought they made the dress look tacky with no belt, and I wanted the option of wearing it beltless.
I added a full-length zip placket in underneath the central opening zip... (here) my industrial strength brass zip looked awesome but those teeth are sharp against the tummy skin!  Ouch!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think I will sew this again.  I know I always say this and then I pounce joyfully onto the next new-and-shiny pattern to cross my path  :)  but I do think this will have an encore.  The pattern has classic clean lines and I think has the capability to change its personality depending on the fabric chosen.  I do recommend this on-trend little number, if lengthened a tad it would make a lovely smart little dress for the office.  You just have to locate a long enough front zip!
Conclusion:
Well, now that it fits me, I just love it! the high collar, the simple, sleeveless, streamlined silhouette.
The exposed zips are very on-trend and the rich damask fabric I chose ticks off another trend I have noticed cropping up in high-end designers this season…

49 comments:

  1. Yay. Everything about this dress is gorgeous. An encore sounds fitting to me.

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  2. Hi Carolyn.
    I should have used a different word like amazing instead of gorgeous. Sorry:)

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  3. I do love topstitching - it looks amazing on these seams and I'm really loving the fabric you've used. The zips at the hips in the contrast look fabulous. You don't worry about sitting down with a gap at the front hem though.... ?

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  4. So,gorgeous is taken, as is amazing. Hmmm. I like this dress. It suits you very well, and the zips are an edgy contrast to that lovely damask.
    You make beautiful clothes, and look so comfortable in yourself whilst wearing them.

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  5. I really like this dress! The fabric is beautiful and I agree with you about fake details! I hate that too.. why bother (of course in RTW I understand it's for cost - but why do half a job?) I also hate details on front (like pleats etc) that are not on the back... just looks cheap in my book.

    Your topstitching is perfect and so are your exposed zips!

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  6. I am with you on the fake details thing. Quite a few years ago I was in the market for a new wool coat and saw a beautiful one in quite a posh shop but when I was trying it on I discovered that the welt pockets on the sides were fake and I couldn't stick my hands in them. Who wants n expensive jacket with fake pockets? The sales assistant didn't seem to understand. At least I am confidant enough to make my own one how ;)

    Your dress is gorgeous, I love your description of the fabric and well done on finder four matching zippers in Spotlight, that is worth a gold star :)

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  7. What a fantastic little dress! On Trend - definitely! I love those exposed zips, something I've been wanting to try, but like you have very few options in metal zips.

    Thank you for your comments on my blog. Liana really is a darling.

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  8. Love the zipper/damask juxtaposition. The dress fits you very well, and looks so trendy. As always, your sewing is top-notch. Enjoy wearing this beauty!

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  9. Very chic I must say, and loving the zippers. It's so unexpected against the damask...

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  10. Stunning and love the combination of the damask and the metal zippers.

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  11. This is lovely and the combination of fabric and pattern is perfect. I actually cut out this dress in brown cord last weekend with the intention of wearing a long sleeve tshirt under it in winter, but I hadn't thought of wearing it as is in warmer weather. I agree with you about the topstitching; it really does add something.

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  12. To the curious kiwi often on expensive jackets the pockets come basted up. So it holds it shape. The once you buy it you cut the basting and voila you have a functional pocket. Best of course to check there is a pocket bag but this is normally the case.

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  13. Lovely dress Carolyn, really unusual material. A denim one would be nice too.

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  14. Carolyn, this is a great silhouette on you and you have managed to mix tough (zippers) with sweet (damask). I love this dress-look for my review of a similar dress in the next few days.

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  15. When I grow up I want to sew as well as you!! The dress is exquisite!

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  16. Nice sub-tropical take on the Baroque trend! Your sewing is always inspiring.

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  17. That is lovely fabric and looks like lace. You have chosen a very classic style with some lovely details to spice it up...love it!

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  18. Interesting combination, the formality of the fabric and the sportiness of the zip. I always think of the 1960s styles when I see zippered clothing. That vertical stripe has to be flattering.

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  20. Oooh - very nice. I really like the way you've lengthened the hem but kept the zipper at the original length. It's a great edition of BWOF.

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  21. The combination of lace and the brass zippers is amazing...I love how you come up with things that I would have never thought of in a million years! Besides the fit is great and with the tan belt and shoes...just marvellous! Oh! what´s your secret for sewing at such speed! ;)

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  22. Gorgeous dress, love your combination of fabric and notions. Amazing job.

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  23. Beautiful combinatioon of style, fabric, construction, and of course, you!

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  24. I love the clash of cultures between the hardware and the fabric!

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  25. Beautiful! Love the contrast of the fabric with the zippers.

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  26. What a beautiful, beautiful dress!
    Um - did you know that you can shorten metal zips? That way you don't have to resize pocket openings, etc. Here is one tutorial: http://www.craftpassion.com/2011/06/how-to-shorten-metal-zipper.html

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  27. lovely color and I have never been a fan of the exposed zips but on this dress it works beautifully.

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  28. Beautiful dress. Definitely worth making again.

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  29. That looks amazing on you and the colour is perfect. That is a great style which can be adapted we for any occasion. I know what you mean about zips - we don't have any special ones here either, so you did well finding those. The detail in your work is 'key' even though some people (retail assistant) don't get it. Love it and your work. Ps: thanks for your kind words - I have my daughter to share those moments.

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  30. Love it, Carolyn. And what a jump back to the '90s - I had one almost identical, including zips, with long sleeves. Super!

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  31. Gorgeous dress Carolyn. I like the contrast of the frothy lace with the utilitarian zips

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  32. Carolyn, this dress looks beautiful and I like the zips in with the lace - I too would be tempted to sew it again.

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  33. Love the dress - the combination of feminine damask with the exposed zips looks fantastic.

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  34. That is one sleek and chic dress on you! Very nicely constructed.

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  35. Lovely, luxurious fabric! I adore the double topstitching on the seams, and agree - fake pockets are just wrong lol :)

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  36. The dress is lovely and you look beautiful in it as always! Love the photos too.

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  37. Love it! The edgy zippers with the very classic fabric- wonderful!

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  38. You never fail to blow me away, girl!
    *****, as usual.

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  39. Just stunning! You are so clever to envision this in such a gorgeous fabric. Ingrid

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  40. What a great find in the magazine and the fabric. This dress is city-cool. I love metal-y zips everywhere.

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  41. without the belt, it sort of gives the vibe of a sleek superhero woman type outfit. She would have a cool dress but of course with some industrial details. Or maybe that's just my odd imagination. mmm, yes, 10cm shorter would have been -- ahem -- quite short, no?

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  42. Good attitude! Well,this outfit is totally rocking one..i love this color..its looking stunning on you.Also you are very beautiful any outfit would compliment you.

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  43. Amazing fabric choice!

    http://seelovemake.blogspot.com

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  44. I love this! The contrast of elements makes a great statement. You always make the most lovely garments. :)

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  45. Lace and exposed zippers! SO cutting edge! It's fabulous!

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  46. This dress is amazing, and you look fantastic in it - I love the fabric and the exposed zips and the length on you and the sewing, everything. Beautiful.

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  47. Total winner here. Love the softness of lace against the toughness of the zips.

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  48. l just say different, amazing and comfortable... concept of brass zip along with three pockets increases the beauty of the dress...

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