Tuesday, 26 November 2013

FO: Lady Skater dress

Image of The Lady Skater sewing pattern (for teens and women)

I have seen this dress by Kitschy Coo popping up around the blogosphere for a while now. The dress started as a pattern for children, but Amanda the designer had so many requests for an adult version, she spent a considerable time drafting a version for us grown-ups! I particularly liked a few that were on the Lady Skater dress tour, this one from Cirque du Bebe, this from Emmyloubeedoo and of course all three dresses from Lladybird. Lastly and most recently I saw this dress by Handmade Jane, which is my current favourite, you'll see why in a bit.

I finally got around to buying the download a few weeks ago and spent a happy evening piecing it all together. I actually quite like doing this - downloadable patterns were how I got back into sewing whilst the family and I were living in New Zealand a while ago.

I was looking for an easy dress that would be easy to wear in winter.  I am a bit bored and cold wearing jeans and tops all the time, so I thought a warm winter dress and wooly tights might be just right. I choose a dark teal/petrol colour of a fabric I have used before here and here - I think it is ponte.  It wears well, sews well and comes in a range of lovely colours.  My only slight problem with it is that it bobbles/pills quite quickly. I have one of those nifty bobble removers, but need put new batteries in it...

Anyway, back to the dress.
photos have been lightened - the perils of winter indoor photography
I cut a size 4 going on my high bust measurement which seems to fit perfectly.  I followed most of the instructions, including the use of clear elastic in the shoulder and waistband seams. I wasn't sure where I would find clear elastic, but to my surprise, John Lewis had it in packs of 3 metres.
Clear elastic at waist

I had bit of a brain freeze working out the neckband instructions -  there didn't seem to be enough of the band to go round the whole neck - and I tried several times. I ended up pinning one end of the neckband to the open shoulder seam and just pulling it tight as I sewed round the neck.  This left me with a small excess of neckband, which I just trimmed off - after checking that it looked ok from the right side. On previous knits I have secured the neckband seam allowance with a zigzag, but this time I tried using a straight stitch, but longer than normal, which has worked fine and looks better on the right side
terrible colour representation
I also followed the instructions to check fit as I went along as this has been an issue in the (very distant) past. I basted it together and found that the waist probably needed moving.  As it was, the waist was neither on my true waist nor my high hip. I decided to raise the waist a couple of inches/5cms to my true waist level, but having worn it a couple of times I rather think I should have lowered it to my high hip. I am sooo unused to having things at my true waist, it just doesn't feel quite right.
trying to show how much I took out of the waist
Having taken quite a wedge out of the bodice, the skirt is a bit shorter than I would normally go for, but as I will be wearing it with tights or leggings (if I ever get round to making some that actually fit) I don't think that will be too much of a problem.

I while ago I bought myself a twin needle to try and improve the finish on my knits.  I tried it on my previous knit make without out success - the machine kept eating the fabric and when I tried my usual trick of putting tissue paper underneath the fabric, the finish was terrible.

I very carefully tested it on a scrap of the same fabric before trying it on my dress. It worked! I was very excited - probably a little more than than was strictly needed, and ran downstairs to show Husband, who made all the right appreciative type noises.
twin needled hem
Also when sewing my hem I used the aptly named 'wonder tape'. This is double sided narrow sticky tape that... dissolves in the wash!  I used it to 'pin' the hem up before I twin needled it and it was so much easier than dealing with pins all the way round.

Over all, I think this is a success. If I make it again I will have to think carefully about where I want the waist to hit, but other than that I am very pleased.  When I wore it the other day my friend didn't realise that I had made it - which is always nice!

And to finish off, some twirling...


  1. Very nice, it's a lovely flattering shape and looks very easy to wear.

  2. The dress looks is a lovely shape and very wearable x

  3. Ooh nice! Twin needles are very exciting and this looks so professional. I must make one in the new year!

  4. This is very nice! I love the colour you chose!The fit is very good on you. Many thanks for sharing the tip regarding the clear elastic source. Did you also get this wonder tape in John Lewis? this seems fabulous! La. mouette au sec