Yeah. This dress is a bit off-piste from my recent makes, and not exactly adhering to my ‘sewing an everyday wardrobe’ guideline. But I think my face says it all. KITTEH DRESS!
This fabric, man. As soon as I saw it I knew I needed a frock out of it. It’s Lizzy House’s Kitty Dreams: her entire collection of cat-themed cottons is adorable, but I thought this dark green print was the most wearable. I bought half of my fabric from Etsy and realised I didn’t have enough for a dress (damn you, narrow quilting cotton), so quickly bought another 1.5m from Backstitch to finish up the skirt. This fabric is clearly a poular choice for frocks as Lizzy House ran a competition with some really cute entries.
I just love this pattern, too, though I would never have guessed from the traditionally uninspiring envelope styling. It’s Simplicity 1610 and features a princess seamed bodice, pretty neckline with boat front and V-back, cute square-pleated sleeves, and those brilliant single-piece yoke pockets that I ripped off on my trousers. The instructions are good, though I would have liked a bit more guidance on how to finish the bodice lining to leave a minimum of raw edges showing.
Fitting went fairly smoothly. I tend to choose the size just above my measurements for woven dresses as it’s easier to take in than out. I basted together the bodice lining first to check the fit and found I just needed to sew at 5/8″ rather than 3/8″ seam allowance to get a good fit. Unfortunately the final dress gapes a little around the neckline and feels too loose across the shoulders, although it’s not showing too much in the photos except this profile angle. I find it’s really hard to diagnose fit issues around this area with a zipped-up dress as you’ll never know how it’ll sit until the end! Next time I’ll pinch a dart out of the front neckline pattern piece before cutting the fabric. Is there any way to retroactively fix this without having to take my bodice apart? Maybe a liberal bit of steam-shrinking would help.
I made a proper effort to make this frock as beautifully constructed and finished as I could. The bodice is lined with white cotton, and I even ‘invented’ a slightly OTT method to finish the armsyce with all the raw edges tucked inside (basically doing the burrito method but with the sleeves tucked into the seam, too – quite fiddly, wouldn’t recommend).
The back has a lapped zip, which I inserted using the really simple instructions in the Christine Haynes book I received for my birthday. It does have a hook and eye at the top, but I can’t reach it on my own! Also, yeah, I didn’t pay any attention at all to pattern matching as the repeat is really big and I didn’t fancy investing in extra yardage. I think it’s sufficiently random that it’s not a huge deal.
I decided to not use my overlocker at all, so all the raw edges are pinked. I’m interested to see how this holds up vs overlocking after a few washes.
I think the cat even approves…
Though maybe not.
This dress is also my first entry into the Sew Dolly Clackett competition! It probably won’t be my last, but I think this one had enough Roisin-appeal for me to consider entering it. I’m even wearing matching kitty shoes here for extra points, but I wasn’t brave enough to pose outside my front door so the mucky back garden will have to do.