Tuesday, 11 February 2014

FO: 'self drafted' beige jersey dress...

I got some material a couple of weeks ago from one of the ladies at my pattern cutting class. As they or their friends go through their fabric stashes, or indeed go through the stashes of friends who have died (they are mostly, considerably older than me), material is often brought to class and sold off cheaply to raise money for various charities.

The material I picked was a beige (or for Eldest - Oatmeal*) thick cotton tube knit which felt quite warm. I thought it would be ideal for a top or dress so snapped it up for about £2 . Unfortunately it absolutely stank of mothballs, so much so that it transferred the smell to everything I washed it with. Sigh. I Google-ed how to get rid of the smell and ended up up soaking it vinegar twice and leaving it to air dry between each soak. This seemed to work, although there is still a faint whiff when I iron with steam.

* Eldest was looking through a clothing catalogue yesterday and was appalled to see an reasonably nice top described as 'Oatmeal'. 'Why would anyone want to say they were wearing something that looked like porridge' was the teenage cry. I like porridge but agree with her when it comes to describing clothes!

Anyway. On to the dress. I wanted a warm jumper/sweater dress. I thought I would use my dress block from my class, but decided I didn't want or need darts in it. I found a stretchy dress/tunic in my wardrobe that I like the fit of and drew around it. I was a bit crazy and pinned the body shape directly on to the fabric, cut it out and then drew round it on paper. The sleeve was a bit tricky as it had gathers in the sleeve head, which I ended up taking out. I basted the whole thing together by hand, including one sleeve with gathers and one without. I pinned any changes, re basted, then put changes onto the paper pattern.
had to draw sleeve out first
I had visions of quite a long slinky dress to be worn with boots and a dangly necklace. However, my basted dress showed me that that much beige was not going to be flattering!
lots of beige

Given that this was an experiment, in a not very appealing colour, I am extraordinarily pleased with the result! Looking at the photos, I think I need to shave a little off one of the side seams, but apart from that it is great. Husband says it is 'one of the best things I have made recently'. I have worn it here with leggings and boots, but imagine it would look just as good over my jeans.

hmmm, is this thing working?

There was much discussion in the morning, on my belt placement. I have, for years, worn my belt slung low across my hips. My girls felt that it would look better higher up on my waist. In the interest of science I have taken pictures of the belt in both positions:

on the hips

on the waist

On this evidence I am inclined to agree with them. This belt is a bit wide, but I couldn't find the one I wanted to wear. Here are more photos, just because I like them and you can see how changeable the weather was:


  1. what a great staple piece :o)

  2. Hi Tamsin! I love how this one turned out! I think the design is pretty good, and I had a laugh about the name of the colour...I never know how to call them, and really, oatmeal, although not a very glamurous name, can be very acurate for some clothing! The good thing is that it is a neutral so it goes with everything! :)

  3. Looks great! I agree about the belt. Definitely better at the waist for that dress.

  4. I like it on the hips! Maybe a narrow one on the waist? Actually don't ask me, but I do know it's a great dress and so satisfying to have drafted it yourself.