The “Texan Gingham” Dress
Fabric: 3 metres of green and white gingham ~$12
Pattern:McCall’s 3394, gift from Sew Weekly Sewing Circle member Crissy as part of the 2011 pattern swap
Notions: 55cm invisible zip ~$5
Time to complete: 5 hours (including 1 hour of alterations)
First worn: 7 January 2012, to yum cha with friends
Wear again? Yes, though ironically not with the belt
Total price: ~$17
When I saw the theme for this week’s challenge, I knew I had the perfect candidate in my wardrobe – a blue and floral waist belt that I purchased about three months ago, only to find that it doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe. Clearly, this week was the time to remedy that!
Belt in hand, I hunted through my stash, trying to unearth a length of fabric that a) was long enough for a dress, and b) went with the belt. It was a toss-up for a while between yellow-with-cupcakes and this green-and-white gingham. It’s only been a few weeks since I made a dress with cupcakes on, so the gingham won out. Sure, it clashed a bit, but that’s all part of the fun, right Oona?
To do this belt justice, I figured I need to make a dress. A 1950’s style dress (because the belt’s a little bit 1950’s, don’t you think?) With a waistline that showed off a belt nicely. Enter McCall’s 3394, with it’s fitted, dropped waist and full, pleated skirt. “Perfect!” I declared to myself, “the pleats won’t get in the way of the belt feature!”.
Despite the look of resignation I gave to the sheer number of pleats on the skirt of this thing, the dress took surprisingly little time to make up. I made a couple of alterations – switching out the side zipper for a centre-back invisible zip, and doing a basic small bust adjustment by removing the side bodice darts. The real issue came with the fit – even though the pattern was half a size too small and I decided to go all crazy-like and just make it up in that half a size too small, it ended up being about a full size too big in the bodice. And the dart points were too high and didn’t taper nearly enough, causing odd pleat effects above them. So the quick unpick (what we call a seam ripper down this way) and I got to be great friends and spent about an hour resizing the bodice. It was an hour well spent though – the dress is now a winner, and I know what adjustments to make to the pattern next time.
Why “Texan Gingham” dress? Coz this pattern came all the way from Texas! (Thanks Crissy!)
Ironically though, now that I’ve made it, and the fabric and pattern were chosen specifically for the belt, I don’t actually like the belt with this dress. Oh well, back to the drawing board for something to wear with it! In the meantime, I have a navy belt that’ll go well with this dress….
(The tree with the red flowers in the background is a Pohutakawa – also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree as they’re all beautifully in bloom this time of year.)