This is my entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett competition – you can see the other entries here. This challenge is the brainchild of Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones; the challenge is to sew up a dress in the style of Dolly Clackett – AKA Roisin – to celebrate her upcoming wedding. Roisin has a very clearly defined personal style, which includes a lot of 50s silhouettes, especially fit and flare dresses, bright colours, novelty fabrics and awesome shoes. Check out her blog and you’ll soon get the idea.
After weeks of searching for something suitable (kids bedding anyone?) I actually struck gold at one of my regular haunts, Scope Lewisham. This is actual fabric, people! That almost never happens. I think this is probably only the second time I have ever bought actual fabric from a charity shop in all my years of rummaging. The slightly novelty print is blue and white circles, reminiscent of china plates, and all the circles are the same. I paid £3 – not bad for almost 1.5m. I actually pre-washed this (!) since it was new, and it came out really stretched along the bias. Luckily, being quilting-weight cotton, I was able to press it back into shape with lots of steam and a fair amount of elbow grease.
Anyway, that’s the craic with that. Onto the construction.
I wanted to emulate Roisin’s seemingly all-time favourite pattern, the now-infamous Simplicity 2444 (she has made this and frankensteined this so many times I’ve lost count). This design has a pair of darts at the front waist that appear parallel and point inwards. Here’s a rough sketch of the shape. I actually was able to draw around my block (I have them cut out in cardboard), pivoting as I went along, to open two darts in the right place. I moved the outer dart point down and left, bringing right leg of the dart parallel to the left leg of the other dart. I cut the neck into a rather wide boat neck.
In case you’re wondering, no fancy fabric markers or chalk pencils here. I used a biro (black) directly on the back of the fabric.
Cutting out was pretty straightforward, except I ended up with a seam in the back and back facing due to a silly mistake.
Working with this quilt-weight cotton was so, so easy and very enjoyable as it responded beautifully to steam and held its creases really well. I used the pinking shears I got for Christmas on the seam allowances and any raw edges. I don’t understand why pinked edges get such a bad rep; it’s so quick and easy and keeps bulk to a minimum, especially on things like the edges of facings where you don’t want it to show through.
Here’s the front in progress. Unfortunately you can barely see the darts because of the print, but they look pretty good I think.
And here’s the back… you can see where I made a mistake and had to have a seam at centre back. The pattern almost matches. Enough to make it look intentional, but not enough to be called successful. Gah.
Some more work in progress shots…
I haven’t included any information on the skirt as it’s just a gathered rectangle, though I overestimated the length a bit and had to take it up a couple of inches before wearing.
And here it is on! The fit isn’t half bad… and we even did our best to get the obligatory ‘front door’ shots.
Congrats Roisin and Nic and thanks Sarah for hosting such a fun challenge!