Dodgson! We’ve got Dodgson here! See, nobody cares
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!
You are an absolute dish in this!
Lovely make & so perfect for your upcoming spring!
Thanks lovely – I have already worn it a couple of times, weather permitting, of course! Also – just got the ‘dish’ joke – brilliant…
Awesome dress, awesome shoes and awesome hair! I really need to get onto making up my blocks on cardboard…you make it all look so easy!
Thank you! I literally have them draw onto cereal packets. Then I draw around them or even cut around them when I need them!
Oooofh that dress is hawt! You look fabulous – best of luck in the competition xx
Thanks! Sadly not a winner but it’s all about the taking part ;-)
Oh wow! Don’t you just love chazza fabric finds! Great job, the finished dress is beautiful. Good luck in the competition!
Thank you Claire! I was quite lucky with this find!
Loving this style on you! I insist you make more! 😉💖
Ha, we’ll see! It’s a bit of a departure for me, style-wise, but never say never!
Love it! Fab roisin style make without buying the pattern or paying full price for fabric. You are an inspiration!
HAHA I’m such a cheapskate ;-)
So sophisticated and fun – great sew dolly Clackett and I’ve also been wondering whether a single gathered fabric rectangle makes a good skirt – now I know. Love this.
Thank you Nissa – yes, a gathered rectangle makes a very quick and easy skirt!
Oh my gosh, that’s such a fabric score! Fabulous. And I’m so glad that unlike I’d have done, you didn’t place the design so you’d have plates for boobs, Xena Warrior Princess Crockery bodice-ing. Love the doorstep photos and fantastic shoes!
I just had to do the doorstep images – it would have been rude not to! Truthfully I didn’t give much thought to pattern placement, which means I was quite lucky in the end!
Such a pretty dres,, fits you so well and I like the skirt best! It’s a rather sophisticated form of a gathered skirt, love it!
Thank you Erin! :)
This is so Clacket worthy but (and I think this is the point really) it totally suits you as well. That fabric was such a find, the colour is devine. Nice job on not ending up with two plates directly on your tits. I loves it I do. I can hear Dolly squealing from over here. ;)
I certainly am squealing. This is really the full Clackett what with the quilting cotton and everything. It really does suit you as well, Sally. And I know I said it on instagram but the shoes are so fabulous! Really looking forward to raising a glass (or two) with you again soon xx
Yep, I’m going ‘full Clackett’! Thanks for the inspiration and hope you didn’t mind the pastiche of your good self too much. x
I was thinking the same thing on the placement of the plates! :o)
HAHA a lucky escape for me, then!
Yeah it’s not what I’d normally go for, style-wise, but I have worn it several times already, so I’m happy! As for pattern placement – purely good luck, I assure you ;-)
Wow, this looks great! That fabric was a great find! I’ve recently started pinking my seams as well, and I completely agree with you – it’s probably my favourite seam finish for anything that doesn’t fray too badly. I love the ease of it!
Pinking is (unfairly) thought of as a bit old-fashioned, but it’s so quick and easy, I a convert. I’m pinking mad now!
Oh I love blue and white china! This dress is awesome :)
Thank you Helga! Glad you liked it!
What a gorgeous summer dress, and totally Dolly Clackett worthy!
Thank you Sue! I’m rather keen on it. Think this one will be getting a lot of wear over the summer.
Oh wow, its gorgeous! IThat fabric is such a fab find, and the dress is stunning. Very dolly clackett but also looks fabulous on you.
Thank you Katy! It was a stroke of good luck, finding that fabric, but that’s what I love about charity shopping – finding treasure!
This is perfect nd I love the fabric! Your shoes are beautiful too!
Thanks Helen – the shoes are a personal favourite!
What a fantastic project, I love the print so much.
Why thank you! And thank you for commenting.
This is fabulous and one of my favourite makes in the sew-along! I’m also cooing over your shoes.
Hi Claire, so glad you like it, thanks for the kind words! The shoes are an old pair from Dune, but they still have pride of place in the wardrobe!
Absolutely gorgeous! You look splendid in this dress :))) I adore Dolly Clackett blog, she has truly unmistakable style and your rendition is great. I wish they had such fantastic fabrics at our charity shops…. Great job :)))
Thanks, Kasia! It’s quite unusual to find fabric in the charity shops – I was just lucky, I guess :)
Thank you so much :)
What a fab fabric find. It is perfect in this dress and love it styled with your shoes!
Hi Kirsty, thanks for the comment! Really glad you liked this dress. The styling is pure Dolly Clackett so I can’t take all the credit :)
Wow, that fabric was a find. Great outfit, I really love it.
Thanks Kim – I was lucky on this occasion that I managed to find something within the time frame for the competition!
Wahey! That’s a gorgeous dress. What a cracking charity shop find :-O I never find anything but mouldy beige curtains bleeeugh.
Thanks lovely! I do have to rummage to find my treasures – but one girl’s mouldy beige curtains are another’s ball gown.
That is SO cool that you made a PLATE dress! I love it! So clever and so pretty! Very Roisin!
Thanks Kezzie, I’m rather keen on it! Perhaps I should follow Roisin’s lead more often!
At first I thought you got some great plates at the thrift store, and then I saw the amazing dress you made!
Haha, yes it is quite realistic!
I love that you Mcgeiver’d the dress yourself without a pattern! Turned out great!
Yep, I’m a total cheapskate! It is a fairly straightforward shape luckily. Thanks for commenting!
really like it! I want to do sth similar now, maybe with a bigger skirt :)
Thanks! Yes, you could easily make a bigger skirt by using twice the width of fabric. Unfortunately I only had a limited quantity to play with!
Sorry if you’ve already answered a question on this or written it somewhere on the blog but I was wondering what you use to draw up the patterns like the bodice one above? I’ve seen a couple on other posts of yours as well that looks like it might be some kind of pattern software but could equally be very skillful use of Paint or something!!
It’s very skillful use of Paint :)
What you see here is just a sketch of the rough shape. I use a pencil and paper for the real thing :)
Such a striking dress. I love that you whipped it up from your own block. And I completely understand the joys of finding fabulous fabric in a charity shop. Especially when it’s as cool as plates!! x
Thanks! I think I’ll be trawling my local charity shops more often if they start to get more fabric in.
This fabric is amazing! Such a great bargain!
Aw, thanks! Yep, I love a bargain!
I came to the website to ensure I hadn’t missed an updated post. Miss seeing your refashions – hope all is well. All the best – Melissa
Hi Melissa, thanks for stopping by. I’m just taking a breather! Will be back soon with some more ridiculously ugly garments sourced across Europe for your viewing pleasure!
That is gorgeous! Such a nice blue and great sewing!
Thanks, Deb! This is already on rotation in my spring/summer wardrobe!
Beautiful beautiful fabric! Reminds me of vintage dishes or Toile de Jouy…I’m really envious!!
You’re so creative and I’m sure I’ll now stop by frequently :)
Best wishes from Germany!
Hi Nina, thanks for commenting! Please do stop by often, I have some great new refashions coming up soon!