To err is human… : Pelican Dress

This project is again using birthday fabric from my mother (aren’t I a lucky lady).  I was calling these birds cranes but I think subsequently I stumbled across it somewhere online where they were definitely called pelicans and discovered that the design was named ‘Ship Shape’ (kind of obvious come to think of it seeing as pelicans are sea birds – I’m supposed to be good at birds now!).  The print is so crisp and the colours are lovely, if a little zingy, but I was somewhat cautious as the ships have flags with the ‘ordinary’ heraldic cross which even in grey and teal presents as a passable St. George’s flag and, as I’ve been living in Scotland for nearly three years now, my English nationality is not something I care to draw attention to.

I think from the offset I had this pegged for my next ‘T’ dress with some adjustments so I was on the look out for a fabric for the neck trim.  It is far too hard to match fabric online and I hadn’t found anything in Aberdeen but when I moved down to Dundee we found the cutest little hardware shop which happened to have a really well stocked budget fabric section (Zenova Fabrics on Peter Street).  So I picked up some plain grey cotton in a plausible matching shade.

Tula Pink Elizabeth fabric in 'Ship Shape'
Tula Pink Elizabeth fabric in ‘Ship Shape’

I was redrawing this pattern before my recent online exploration of standard pattern adjustments.  So the Full Bust Adjustment was a mystery to me (although with my déjà vu sewing brain I swear something like this was mentioned in a textile technology class, probably to the gaggle of favourites with the generic measurements that mean they would never have need for a pattern adjustment anyway – I was probably doing my Art homework, wearing a scowl and ignoring everybody… charming!).  So, I was aware that I needed more length on the bodice (to get over the bust) but that the width was fine so I did a weird Frankenstein lengthening of the sideseams above and below the bust dart (and on the back piece to match).  I guess it worked to some extent.  The darts are pointing more towards where they should be pointing but it’s not an FBA (more on that when I get my Emery sorted).

I just traced off up to the dart, extended the line, moved my pattern and carried on tracing.
I just traced off up to the dart, extended the line, moved my pattern and carried on tracing.
And of course I redrew the other pattern pieces to match.
And of course I redrew the other pattern pieces to match.

But things we did learn from this project: I made heaps more effort with the cutting out and making sure the large pattern repeat was symmetrical.  The design wasn’t printed with symmetry along the central fold so I worked out the line nearest the centre for pinning my pattern pieces.  This amuses me considering what happened later.

Bang! How's that for symmetry?
Bang! How’s that for symmetry?

And the neck line was very straightforward.  Easy when you know how…

Clip and flip. Lovely stuff.
Clip and flip. Lovely stuff.
Good good. What could possibly go wrong...
Good good. What could possibly go wrong…

I wanted to try for full length sleeves so I traced the sleeves for pattern ‘J’ (these are just longer versions of ‘T’) and found a horizontal ‘lengthening’ point at the upper arm to add a few centimetres.  But.  After all my fussing about matching the pieces with vertical symmetry, I eased off at the sleeves thinking – sleeves aren’t symmetrical anyway – and managed to cut out the sleeves upside down. Jokes!

And what is even funnier (and probably beneficial in terms of motivation to complete this project), I didn’t even notice it until I took this pic straight after finishing…

Dead chuffed. Lovely stitching. Let me just Wotzap a pic 'look what I made'. Wait! ARRRRGH!
Dead chuffed. Lovely stitching. Let me just Wotzap a pic ‘look what I made’. Wait! ARRRRGH!

Poor drunk pelicans.

I'll get over it. Maybe it breaks up the pattern making it look less like a curtain!
I’ll get over it. Maybe it breaks up the pattern making it look less like a curtain!

It also didn’t occur to me that matching the side seams was important (although this might cut into a lot of fabric).  Future goals.

Anyway.  It was done before Christmas and made the journey to London for the all gin and no turkey Christmas!

Tipsy?
Tipsy?

Leftover wedding bellini mix and a magic pâté are the perfect antidote to a broken oven.

And matching umbrellas.
And umbrellas to match.

Best Christmas EVER!

Uke can do it! It's certainly on and comfy enough to strum the ukulele and roll about on Christmas day drinking gin and waiting for the turkey to look less lively...
Uke can do it! It’s certainly on and comfy enough to strum the ukulele and roll about on Christmas day drinking gin and waiting for the turkey to look less lively…

Not the best frock ever but the skills are being honed even if the brain went on holiday for cutting out those sleeves.  It’s clear to me now that I need a proper cup size adjustment for these ‘Stylish Dress Book’ patterns and I might even be starting to work out what the problem looks like once you’ve pulled the frock over your head.  Baby steps.

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He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

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