The ‘T’ dress is complete.
I even got some photos about a month ago when it was still warm enough to stand outside in a cotton frock but this was before I’d managed to turn the hem so I didn’t feel I could legitimately write a finished object post. I truly finished it the day after my birthday and wore it to work complete with PURPLE tights.
I was glad that I’d already taken some pictures in the sunshine as November has been grim with the end of a hurricane and now snow and sleet to contend with. Despite my tendency to wear the same clothes in all seasons, thermal base layer and stuffing myself into an oversized cardigan being my approach to winter, I do feel a little daft having taken so long to make up this cotton tunic dress. I need to get better at judging the gestation periods of slow design so I stop finishing wool jumpers in May or August and cotton frocks after the clocks have gone back.
Now let the judgement commence:
I love this batik print so much that all the flaws of this dress do not matter. I will wear it and love it and even just stop and look at it on the hanger and feel immense happiness at the vibrancy of the spots of contrasting colours against the orange ground. Speaking of which, I think perhaps the batik could (or should?) have held its own against a plain fabric and the same for the green William Morris print. When I wore this out for the first time (with purple tights and my new PURPLE DMs!) I did feel a little overwhelmed by the swathes of green and blue and did I say green!?. But once I was inside my favourite bar in Aberdeen – now called Krakatoa (always the Moorings in my heart!) – I felt quite at home under the neon lights.
The sewing is functional. It emerged from the washing machine this week unscathed – if showing a little more of the thread I’d sewn the gathers with. And, although I have little love for ironing, my excitement at the fabric spurred me to crack on and get this back in the wardrobe ready to wear. I was nervous putting this in the machine. Not that anyone else can see, I don’t think much of my seam finishing. Zig zag edges always feel a bit rough and crinkly and my previous attempt at french seams was far more aesthetically pleasing – and has lasted really well to boot.
The top stitching I was so critical about really doesn’t show with the variegated thread I used on the neckline. When I look closely I can still see an angular lurch on the front but given my first time epic fail at attempting this neckline I am so thankful that I didn’t lose this fabric and it turned into a wearable garment.
Its other main failing is the sizing. But again I am trying to see the positives here. I measured this pattern (and myself) A LOT! I was perfectly ready to adjust things – at least I thought I was. But when the garment measurements came out fine round the bust and I lengthened the sleeves and skirt (perhaps a little too much!) I thought that would be enough. But when I measured the vertical shoulder to under bust distance I worked out that my measurements were nearly four centimetres longer than the pattern. Which you would expect. There isn’t any vertical difference between the sizes and this being a Japanese pattern it is probably not aimed at the 5’8″ woman. But I brushed it away thinking – if it ends a little high it won’t be unwearable, it’s an empire line after all. And it could really do with having those four centimetres built in. So next time (really?!) YES next time! I shall add those four centimetres by putting two above and two below the bust darts by extending the straight side seams. This hardly moves the seams out horizontally and puts the extra fabric on the vertical plane. I had a quick go bashing out the drafting of the altered pattern and enjoyed the problem solving so much that I almost want to make one straight away. But I think onward is best. And I am glad that even if I didn’t follow my instincts that length was needed in the bodice – I did get a realistic idea of how the flat pattern would make up into a three dimensional garment. The more sewing I do the more I will be able to trust my judgement and ACT on it.
My first attempt at adding pockets is a success! They could be angled a little deeper but they have nestled in beautifully and stay closed neatly when I haven’t got my hands stuffed in them. Chuffing pockets!
Not so keen on the voluminous sleeves. This isn’t my fault 😉 But I have had the experience with a corduroy smock dress that I ended up altering to turn garibaldi sleeves (much like those in smock ‘B’) into tiny little fluttering tea dress cap sleeves. And in this heavy cotton it is quite a challenge stuffing myself into a cardigan. I also came up against the problem that even though I wanted full length sleeves I wouldn’t be able to cut two at a time out of 45″ wide fabric if I extended them the simple way (I just continued the line straight out). And it is VERY difficult to pull a cardigan over long sleeves if you can’t keep hold of the cuff with your hand as you shove it down the sleeve. Annoyingly they are just a smidgen too short to grab onto – although I like the wrist flashing orange cuffs. Cute. If a little hippie choir girl. Maybe it’s the hair on top of it all. I could definitely do with a trim…