Thursday, 23 August 2012

Puritan Angles

Some lovely fabric arrived in the post the other day - wool and linen mix - very fine, almost cotton like. It is a pale washed out denim colour with white snubs. Wrinkles with the linen content but is soft with the wool. I'd ordered 3m and was keen to use it all in one go - one way of eliminating scraps! I'd worn Paco's half-circle skirt recently and had forgotten how lovely it is to have fabric swishing around so opted for a full skirted dress for the fabric. Only problem - don't have a pattern for a full skirted dress. OK OK really and truly this is the last dress - no really.
Undaunted, I patched up Paco's half-circle skirt pattern with the top half of McCall's Easy shift dress and cut out on the fold. Sorry Paco, I didn't cut bias.

I then took the front and the back, pinned them on Doris and then pinned in the darts to fit her.

The dress pattern has a centre back zip but I'd forgotten about this when cutting out on the fold - I was going for a side seam zip - so my darts on the back extend all the way to the neck. Note the acute angle of the back darts to fit my sway back.

Once fitted to Doris, I sewed the darts and the side seams and finished these off as the fabric frays like mad. It is also a little fine and see-through, so needed lining. but I didn't want to loose that swishy feeling of linen around my knees and made a shift-like slip that finishes just below the hips and is straight. I attached the lining to the neck facing and then sewed the facing as usual to the dress. I didn't line the sleeves, just stopped at the armhole and caught the lining in the seam.

There's always a problem though, isn't there?


While beautifully fitted and finished this dress had puritan overtones - a little too prim and proper - no wow. A white bonnet on and no make-up and I could be Amish. Not quite what I had in mind.

There was an idea hiding at the back of mind and while wasting time (project avoidance technique) on the internet the other day I had another look at Vogue's new patterns and fell on 1312. Sleeves, fitted bodice, full skirt - remind you of anything?

So I set my mind on how to alter the puritan's hemline.

I made hemline darts.

First, select your position for the darts. I have 8 on mine: two centre, two side and 2 in between. The centre hemline darts are longer than the others. The longer the darts the more exaggerated the effect.

Mark the centre of the dart, measure 4-6" either side of this and 4-6" up.   Fold along the centre line and stitch. Trim off the triangle and finish the raw edge. Press the living daylights out of the dart.

 This is Doris wearing her new Puritan but darted hemline dress with her back to a mirror so you can see the effect. Points and shape to an otherwise plain dress.

 There's a strange thing going on around here - me and Doris are becoming the same shape - she's putting on weight I'm sure of it. I'm off to compare measurements.

On a real person it looks like this...

 And I can do a Vogue position too

It still has a swish factor and is just this side of slightly different as opposed to this, which won't really work too well in the classroom.

I'm now reconsidering the Vogue pattern. We'll see when the next sale is on.

Marianna, over at sew2pro is putting on a Japanese pattern magic book challenge. I'm thinking that these hemline darts are moving in that direction but tame in comparison to some of the ideas contained therein. Great, she's given me something to mull over, dwell on and have an excuse to sit around and stare into space.


  1. First post reading of the day, and I am laughing already - just so love that 'Vogue Pose' that you have going on!!!!Brilliant making and fitting of this dress...

  2. Time for us to go bed over here.

  3. Too funny;) Fun dress!!!

  4. Hurray for the cat in previous post. They seem to really like sewing blogs, don't they?

    I can't believe you're getting so much sewing done though. This dress is very grand!

    Thanks for the mention, by the way. Really look forward to your Pattern Magic contribution and don't worry too much about upsetting your students!

  5. I agree with your productivity must be the thought of start of term again. great fun dress

    1. Ohh back to work already so sewing will slow down from now, but certainly not the desire.

  6. Those hem dart really took this dress from puritan to modern. I really like that it is in a light color, which looks great on you, rather than the dark dreary color that Vogue used for their version of the similar skirt dress.