white wool crepe dress – part 2

Progressing!

I spent a day at a friend’s house this week and used a new sewing machine she had just gotten. LOVED the machine! So simple, it does everything I need it to do, has a seam cutter, easy reverse stitch to start and end your seams, and a very delicate pedal to control speed. Excellent machine! It is now on my amazon wishlist!

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Here are some photos of the work progressing. The trickiest bit was hand-stitching, with microscopic invisible stitches, the cuffs, so the lining would not show when they’re flipped over.

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This is the dress as it stands (or lies.. heh) now. A work in progress, but looking good! I’m missing the zip, the hem, buttons on the cuffs and some invisible stitches to finish a few things, like the collar, the cuffs, and any other details I notice.

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This will have been the dress that it took me the longest to do. It is also the most complex project I have undertaken. I did make a wedding dress, but that didn’t have sleeves. Or a waistband piece. Nor was it fully lined. Nor did it have cuffs! Honestly, if I pull this off, I’ll know I am able to tackle much more ambitious projects.

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white wool crepe dress – part 1

My latest project’s pattern comes from burda. I saw the magazine on a trip to Bavaria, and bought it. Amusingly, it is all in German, which makes making the dress a lot harder as I cannot follow the instructions!!

I loved the shape, so I decided to turn it into my holiday project. We’re in January now, and it’s still not finished, but I still think of it as my holiday project given I started it over the Christmas holidays. Maybe I’ll wear it to dinner for Valentine’s with The Man. We’ll see.

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I bought a lightweight wool crepe from a shop on Goldsworth road in London, near Shepherd’s bush. Specifically, it was from Unique fabric’s, a really small place with some very good natural fabrics. While I was there I could not resist and I picked up a viscose-cotton blend that was obscenely soft and inexpensive! Curious to see what I’ll make of it. Most likely a summer dress of some kind.

Step one was, as usual, copying the pattern off the burda sheets onto new sheets. I did it with a small Sharpie I have, which writes in blue. I loved the effect on the paper and was surprised it did not bleed through onto the burda pages.

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I then cut the fabric, both outer wool crepe and inner satin cotton lining (the light pink you’re seeing in the photo) together in one shot (across 4 layers), using pinking shears.

Assembly started off easily and quickly. First the required darts, then putting together the bodice, then the skirt, and then attaching them together. Getting the princess point in the waistline was a challenge. I think I managed. But attaching the bodice to the skirt was another challenge, which I decided to take in two steps. First, I attached the wool outer bodice to the wool outer skirt. And ideally I would then have sewn the lining sides together. But. I did not feel that the wool was strong enough to hold the entire weight of the skirt up on its own, so given I’d made the skirt with the lining thickening up the wool, I decided to hand-stitch the waist seam across all layers, in a neat little seam that would hold the weight.┬áIt took a while, but it wasn’t too hard to do.

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The tricky bit was the sleeves. At this point I was on holiday at my parents’ where there are no working sewing machines as far as I am told. So I stitched everything by hand, much like I had to for the teal silk dress over the summer. Given I was just putting together sleeves, and it was going to be delicate pleating work anyway, I was happy to do that by hand. Now that I’ve come home though I’ll be taking the sleeve apart on the long seam, and restitching the lining and outer long seams separately along the stitching line I put in by hand. The shape is fine, and cuff works, I just need it to be fully straight and with a clean inside seam.

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My next challenge, and which will be part of the next post, is to make cuffs to put on the sleeves. I have never made cuffs before. I am terrified. But it’ll be worth it I think. That dress looks really nice!!