The “Papa was a Roaming Gnome” Dress
Fabric: 1 yd cotton polka dot gnome border print $3.99 (£2.46), 2 yds cotton red & white polka dots $7.98 (£4.92).
Notions: 22″ Zip $1.37 (84p) with coupon, and hook & eye and thread from stash.
Time to complete: 12 hours.
First worn: 16th September 2012.
Wear again? Yep, absolutely, once it cools down enough to wear sleeves again.
Total Cost: $13.34 (£8.22).
Challenge: “Polka Dots”.
I’ve always wanted a Vivienne of Holloway polka dot dress. The problem was when I lived in the UK that, let alone the £89 price tag being out of my reach (that’s about $145), their sizes weren’t accommodating to me either. The largest size they do is an XL which they equate to a 22-24. Now this sounds fine until you check out their size guide which says a 22-24 has a 38″ waist…..I don’t. I have a 44″ waist and even with my best steel boned corsets, a 38″ isn’t within my reach. And wearing corsets in 105+ temps definitely isn’t a goer.
So I thought I’d make my own version…
No, I’m not quite sure what the face was all about either.
I knew I wanted a full skirt so I’d need a fair bit of material, so I popped to my favourite discount fabric store to see what they had. In fact they had tons of different polka dots…well, all white dots of different backgrounds at least, reds, greens, pinka, blues, oranges….but although they have fab prices and often an excellent selection this is what you have to hunt through to find anything you want:
That’s a picture of the knits, but the cottons section is just the same. If you want a bargain you have to be prepared to be a fabric diver. I am a fabric diver. After one of my most spectacular reverse 1 and 1/2 somersaults in pike, I pulled out of the fabric mountain a piece of red and white polka dotted material. At first my heart sank to see that the piece I’d grabbed was only about 6 inches wide…….BUT, although most of this 6 inches was polka dots, it had the kitschyest gnome border print on it. Quite often if you find a small bit there’s more (if you’re prepared to search), so a few deep intakes of breath and further dives (4 and 1/2 forward somersaults in tuck), I manged to find a whole yard of the same fabric. Nothing more though. But is better to have dived and found a yard of a something silly than to never to have dived at all.
The something silly came home with me and as per usual at the start of the week, sat on Betty my dressform until I decided what to do with it:
The problem was it was too short to be the border around a full circle skirt that I wanted. I didn’t really want a whimsical pencil skirt out of it. Luckily I’d bought some plain red and white polka dot fabric too, so I decided to use the silly gnomes for the bodice. Choosing the Vogue 2902 for the circle skirt was pretty easy, but it took a bit working through my pattern pieces to see which would get the best use out of the border print without ruining the look with necessary darts. Simplicity 2444 was perfect and I used the front piece so the double waist darts would frame one of the toadstool houses.
Those of you who follow me on instagram and tumblr will have seen my weekly breakdown on Saturday morning when I realised I’d been too economical with the border print and the bodice didn’t actually fit. I hadn’t planned to, but suddenly the dress adapted itself to having a visible zip. I think this looks ok-ish:
The polka dotted hankie on a ‘stick’ didn’t quite work as a photoshoot idea. It was to go with my punning Papa Was A Roaming Gnome but I couldn’t find any available bamboo canes.
Ah, whatever. I’m chuffed with the dress. It’s very me. And yes, I will be wearing it ‘out’ in future….life’s too short not to dress up in the polka dotted gnome dress. Vive la Frosting!
No, themed eyeshadow this week to match the plaid a couple of weeks ago, but how about some polka dotted fingernails? I hear they’re all the rage if you want to be down and with it with the kids (oh, and yes I made the toadstool earrings too – you should know I am Mrs. Matchy Matchy by now):