1 July 2012

Graduation dress

After a short-lived celebration of the fact that I might never have to sit an exam again, I am returning in October for another round of the dreaded finals, this time in another subject. Gutted that I wouldn't get to graduate along with the rest of my friends, I was still able to get in on the action by going to the bf's graduation. And so I needed a dress. 

One of the most satisfying things about sewing is when you see that long cherished stash finally rise to glory in a project. Last summer I bought this wonderful fabric at Liberty in London:

I had thought I could make some lovely summer pyjamas, but why waste such good fabric on something noone ever sees, apart from me! It had to be a pretty summer dress. There's a little independent clothes shop in Cambridge called Lilac Rose which I cycle past nearly every day which often has girly summer dresses made up in floral and geometric patterns: after months of looking in the window the desire for a floral dress has piqued me! And of course, I had to put a peplum on it--

By his own admission, the bf is, at best, a mediocre photographer.
Here I am almost about to laugh, hence the strangely tight smile!
The neckline is inspired by Casey's tutorial for a 50's sundress which I look at weekly because it is so cute - I can't get enough of it!

The wind is lifting the peplum and showing it off nicely!
I wanted a full peplum so I made it out of a circle of fabric, but in two halves so there was a break in the front for the button plaquet. There is a centre back zip and the bodice is underlined with white cotton.

I trimmed the seam allowance to the zip tape and then catch stitched the seam allowance and tape to the underlining.

The button and fake plaquet were made with a long strip of interfaced white cotton (same fabric as the underlining). I turned under a 1/4" seam allowance on each edge, stitched, then stitched the lace on top. Then I sewed on top of this stitching line to attach it to the dress. I put the buttons on once I had put the bias tape on. 19 buttons is a lot of buttons to hand sew!

The Liberty tana lawns are really light, and even with this busy pattern, the fabric was a little transparent, hence why I chose to underline the bodice. I didn't bother for the skirt because the peplum created a double layer of fabric around the critical must-not-be-transparent area (i.e. one's kecks). Because the fabric is so light, it was very easy to hem--

♥ my new overlocker
I just overlocked the edge and turned it under. This was particularly handy for the peplum hem. I find that getting a smooth, unrippled hem on curved pieces, especially on smallish circle pieces, is difficult. All that mixing of grainlines (sometimes you're sewing on the bias, sometimes dead straight along the weft and warp threads) can make it tricky to ease the turned allowance into the curve.

Hopefully I can make use of my new summer dress on my trip to France, assuming that the weather isn't as changeable as it is in Cambridge!

Alix xxx

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