I have noticed with the limited time available that I either sew or blog. Not that a great deal of actual sewing is happening at the moment just a lot of thinking about it.
The finished garment
I really love the shape of this garment with its drapey skirt. The fish eye darts both front and back really enhance the fit. It is the same basic garment as my Ahipara dress changed up with a different skirt.
The fabric is a designer fabric from The Fabric Store. I can't remember who the designer was but the fabric is a gorgeous medium weight cotton pique, with a slight stretch. I was worried that ironing the fabric would flatten some of the texture and I think it has. The dress is slightly larger than other versions using this pattern and even after washing it didn't really return to its original texture.
When I washed the fabric for the first time some of the red from the flowers bled into the surrounding white bits. Luckily it came out with subsequent washes.
The patternThe dress is Silhouette Patterns Traditional blouse, number 400 view 2 extended to knee length using Silhouette Patterns Three Piece Yoga skirt, number 2010. It is a favourite blouse pattern for woven fabrics used many times and I thought the Yoga skirt would provide a bit of flare to the skirt.
The blouse pattern is described as offering a variety of optional looks with basic results. Mandarin, jewel neck or turtleneck collars are available with woven or knit fabrics. Long or short sleeves are also options for each view. These blouses are the greatest basic to any wardrobe!
The pattern alterationsThe dress top is based on the size 2 D-cup pattern; graded down to the size 1 at the waist and hips; wider waist darts in the front to provide more shape; shoulders narrowed slightly; and a 1/2 inch forward shoulder adjustment. The neckline has also been lowered as I often find that jewel necklines are a bit high for me and they make me feel as though I am being strangled. I just lowered the neckline using a french curve on the actual fabric.
I like the length of the yoga skirt and have made it in a black wool in pre-blogging days. For the black wool version I had added the waistband onto the skirt pieces, as I dislike separate waistbands because on me they often create an obvious line with a bit of tummy pouf below the stitching line. This made it easier to match the top and the skirt at the waist for both the front and back and I could then trace off the new dress pattern pieces. There was a slight bit of finagling at the side seam to match top and bottom but the french curve makes it relatively easy to blend the two together.
I was a bit short of fabric because I wanted the wider drapier skirt so I had to piece in a bit from my scraps at the back left shoulder. You can see the piecing quite clearly in the photos below but it is not that obvious when I am wearing the dress, or everyone around me is too polite to comment.
I decided not to line this dress as the fabric is relatively thick already for a spring / summer dress. Because of this I opted to use facings to finish the neck edge. The facings were cut out using the front and back pieces as a guide and a width of 3 inches. The facings were not interfaced and I just overlocked the raw edge. The facings were under-stitched but I still decided to hand sew them down as I hate facings that flip out, even when they only flip out as you are putting the garment on.
The fabric was a bit odd as whilst it didn't fray excessively the edges got fluffy and I was worried what it would do over time. So I decided to sew this on the overlocker. The sewing machine was only used for the under-stitching on the facings and to sew on my label. Both the sleeve and dress hems were hand sewn as I didn't feel the dress was suited to machine stitched hems.
The dress was taken to work with the hems pinned in place and I had to sew them so I could wear the dress that week. Packing one less garment for the week and an item to sew is really good motivation to get it finished.
Outfit of the day
The winter version with my interpretation of The Sewing Workshop Opal jacket in a wool cashmere and Mi Piaci Jordan over the knee black leather boots.
A warmer weather version with my Untouched World wrap and United Nude Zen bootie in colourway merlot.
An alternative warmer weather version with an Untouched World Queen Bee jacket in black and Andrea Moore Geisha Point shoes.
There is a tell-tale sign that the photos were taken at Christmas - I am wearing my Christmas Pandora bracelet which only gets worn during the month of December and is my token gesture for the festive season. Not all of the charms are from Pandora. There is a New Zealand version called Evolve which I personally prefer as they represent our NZ story. The Christmas kiwi (second from left) and the red pohutukawa (NZ Christmas tree, fifth from left) are both from Evolve.
The pohutukawa is called New Zealand's Christmas tree due to its blazing red flowers which flower at Christmas time. It is too cold in Christchurch for the pohutukawa tree they prefer the warmer climes of the north island although you do get them at the top of the West coast of the south island (and their cousin Rata) in places near the coast which don't get a frost in winter.
They make a wonderful display in December along the coast in the Coromandel but despite having been there a few times in December I could only find one photo from 2004. There are some much more spectacular versions on the web.
The pohutukawa is important in Māori tradition. The legend is that a young Māori warrior, Tawhaki, who sought heaven for help to avenge the death of his father, fell to earth and the bright red flowers represent his blood.
There is an 800-year old pohutukawa at Cape Reinga (the far North of NZ) on the cliff top. For Māori this is a venerated tree known as "the place of leaping". From this tree the spirits of the dead leap off the headland and climb down the roots to begin their journey to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki.