Tormented by jersey

So, this dress actually worked out pretty well in the end, but those who follow me on Instagram will understand the torment that I’m talking about. Let’s start with the fabric. It is the most beautiful, vibrant printed jersey from Mood. But it is also very heavy, something I really should have taken into account when planning this make. I’m still very much in love with the fabric, but I just think I chose the wrong style of dress for it’s weight.

 

I started out with intentions of making a near identical replica of my tie dye dress, but with long sleeves for the Fall. Those who see me everyday are probably sick of the sight of my tie dye dress, but it is seriously so comfortable and swishy that I am helpless to resist it’s sherbetty goodness each time I open my wardrobe. It’s made from a similar feeling jersey, but much lighter in weight.

So I began making my new dress by cutting the sleeves, but straight ones suddenly felt too boring. I decided to play around with a flared, graduated elbow length shape instead. But when I attached them, they looked a bit hippy for me. So I cut those ones off and shortened them to what you see now, but not before experimenting with a bit of silk chiffon blocking. This actually looked great, but my silk scraps were too small and my arms would have needed amputation if I wore them for more than an hour. Truth be told, I think I was just having a finicky, impossible-to-please-me kind of day.

 

So, in the end, I settled on the short sleeves and finally decided to attach the floor length gathered skirt. It was pretty, but it was boring…to me anyway…why am I so fickle! I was looking at a very lovely bowl of creamy ice cream, but I was craving some kind of Heston Blumenthal frozen foam, which seriously wasn’t going to happen with a piece of jersey. In any case, I didn’t have to struggle too hard on my decision to unpick the skirt, because the  fabric was too heavy for the bodice anyway. 

So off came the gathered skirt and out came Alice (my dressmakers dummy). I draped that skirt within an inch of it’s life, until I had the assymetrical look you see now. I still think that there’s a bit too much weight on one side of the skirt so I may shorten it a little more, and hack at the innards a bit. But it is wearable, and I really love the asymmetrical drape that I ended up with. I’d also really love to know how I did it in the end…

Layered pant Chanel style

So a little while back, I made an amazing Anna dress. And it really was a fantastic dress. It was my second Anna (my first was a wearable muslin), so the fit was great, the style indisputably pretty, and the fabric, beyond amazing. I’d even drafted a full lining attached to the facing, handstitched some of it’s innards, and took more care than usual in it’s construction. I ended up wearing it three times, to date nights and the like. I got compliments from strangers who noticed the pretty style, or the stunning fabric, or the way the modern graphics of the print were slightly at odds with the feminine style of dress, but at the same time so perfectly matched. But each time I wore it, I always felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress.

I had inklings of this when I was making the dress in the first place. I remember observing, as I was cutting the large portions of fabric required for the gathered skirt, that I could relax because they would be large, undamaged panels that I could cut off and re-use later. My head was telling me that the fabric deserved an Anna, but my heart was telling me to do something a little more uncharted, something a little more me.

Well, it’s the best of both worlds for this most special of special crepe de chines from Colette of Tessuti Fabrics. It lived a wonderful, yet short life as an Anna. And now I’ve had the double pleasure of remaking it into something a little more exciting (twice in fact, if you saw my first remake of layered trackie dacks on Instagram).

So this story needs an intermission now, with a few inspiration shots from the Chanel 2014/15 Cruise collection *swoon*. Let’s call this the triple P collection. It had me Panting, Pinning (Pinterest), and Planning knock offs. There was layering and blending of beautiful fabrics and prints that quite simply left me breathless. Skirts layering pants, culottes layering pants, beautifully shaped 3/4 length sleeves, and all in gorgeous colours and shapes. Here is a taste of my inspiration. Be still my beating heart…

Chanel | Cruise/Resort 2015 Collection via Karl Lagerfeld | Modeled by Magda Laguinge | May 13, 2014; Dubai | Style.com
I love that every look in this collection is a skirt over pants!  my favorite silhouette lately.
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 56 - CHANEL
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 50 - CHANEL


 The dress I made is a simple, slip-over-the-head affair. It is self-drafted, mainly because I had a very limited length of fabric to work with and no patterns on hand to match what I wanted. It is unlined, un-faced, and beautifully light to wear. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a facing or create bias binding so I fused bias stay tape to the neck and armscye edges and then turned them back as narrow hems. It worked beautifully. I also wasn’t sure whether to add the waist elastic or not, but I’m glad that I did in the end. This is now a beautiful summer frock that I can see myself wearing a LOT.

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Mr Lagerfield, I was also now desperately in need of a pair of matching fancy pant trackie dacks to layer with the dress. So that I did. Once again I used Vogue 8909 (you’ve seen my other versions here and here). But this time I eliminated the yoke, faux fly, and pockets to create a more simple, streamlined pant that could be worn better for layering.


I love the way pants look layered with a simple dress and I also love both items as separates. I’m wondering if I can pass them off as a bit of matchy matchy for Ada Spragg’s Two Piece Set-acular. But before I finish up on this style, I borrowed that kimono for one last go at some print mixing a la Chanel.


The Muppets are calling, they want him back

So I think I may have mentioned the horrors of sewing with faux fur before. It’s not an experience I want to repeat anytime soon, but I also can’t bear to waste fabric (of any description!).


I was a little jealous of Miss Four’s stylin’ faux fur vest. She’s been wearing it everywhere, to gymnastics over her leotard (documented on Instagram) and basically whenever she feels like she needs to out dress the rest of her family.

Initially, I planned on making myself a cape version to match her blue furriness. I’ll admit that mine was a slapdash job from the very start, with me choking on fur balls and hacking at the blue monster, all the while cursing those tickly, invisible fibres as they kept landing on my nose.


I did try on my finished product. I looked a little like Oscar the Grouch in blue. It looks much nicer on Alice (my dressform). But it looks even nicer converted to a winter skirt for Miss Four! All I did was add a seamline along the back to form a casing for the elastic, two buttonholes on the front, and voila, a wrap skirt! Miss Four is delighted. Husband is shaking his head in dismay. 

 
I love this girl’s style!