21 February 2016

Stripe Knit Dress

Following on from how much I loved my first wrap top, half circle skirt knit dress aka Quik Knit Dress (maybe I should come up with a catchy name for my pattern?), I made another one, with a few much needed improvements. I was thinking of making the next one with a plain blue knit that's been in the stash for a few years, but The Husband thought it would look a bit boring all in one colour, so when I took the kids  to the recent sale at the Fabric Store (mentioned in this post), I came home with this striped knit.

I really love wearing my first version of this dress, and can honestly say that it hasn't made it into the cupboard yet. It generally goes straight from the line, back to being worn again. Well, sometimes via the floordrobe for a few days.

As I mentioned when I wrote up the first dress however, it did have some shortcomings. The fabric doesn't have the best recovery, so it tends to stretch sag out of shape. When I first made it, the waist of the dress sat on my natural waist. It is now resting somewhere around the top of my hips, so has dropped around 4 to 5 centimetres. You can really notice around drop around the neckline too. At the point that I tacked the fronts together, it used to cover even my highest bra, but now even the bra with the most plunge tends to peek out of the dress by midday. The fronts do have a little excess fabric too.
Check out my chevron side seam!
Another thing that annoys me is how I put the plastic elastic into the waist. I zigzagged it on after I had completed the waist seam. Apart from stretching the fabric slightly, it irritates my skin. I spend all day adjusting the seam so that it all faces either up or down, and, unfortunately, the way that it sits most smoothly is with the elastic against my skin. On a hot day, the elastic can (and does) stick to me, and I have to peel it off every few hours. You know what's good to combat that though? Old undies that are starting to stretch out of shape. I wore the dress the other day with older undies, and they pull up so much higher than the waist of the dress that the elastic didn't bother me at all!

Needless to say, Version #1 is possibly due for a makeover already so I can keep wearing it. So, how does my new striped dress compare? To combat a lot of these issues, I made the following changes to the pattern before cutting out Version #2.

I took out some of the excess at centre front, by taking darts out of the pattern from the neckline down to the seam line at the waist. I made sure to redraw the waist line so that it was symmetrical from left to right, as you would really notice if it wasn't with the stripes!

I took out 1cm of length in the bodice, midway down the armhole, so that as well as stopping the bodice sagging, the armhole wouldn't sag too low either. That's pretty much it pattern wise. When wearing the dress for the photo shoot, I did notice that the armhole seems too high. I'm secretly hoping that after it's been washed a few times that it will start to stretch out, so I don't have to unpick it and make it lower.

In the construction, I used a narrower elastic in the waist seam, and I sewed it on prior to the waist seam, within the seam allowance. No more elastic sticking to my waist! I also did not have to tack the fronts together, and the dress still sits firmly in place.

I thought I'd try to teach the kids how to take photos for me so that I have a photographer on hand at all times, you know, for emergency photo shoots. I think they did pretty well, don't you? All of the outside shots (ie all but one that I used) were taken by them. Apart from a few fingers showing up, the biggest issue was that they tended to let the camera tilt off to one side. When my son was behind the lens I spent a lot of time doing this, to show him how much the camera needed to move. I have a few photos like this.

This fabric has about the same amount of stretch as the original, but is much more stable, so I am hoping that it won't stretch too much with everyday wash and wear, although a bit more space around the armholes would be nice.

Stretching and sagging aside, I think the reason I wear the original version of this dress so much, apart from the style, is that the fabric (not sure, but I'm assuming it's mostly, if not 100% cotton) is so soft and comfortable. This striped version, however is a viscose lycra mix, so not as soft or breathable. Will I end up wearing it as often? Only time will tell.

What is it that makes a garment your favourite to wear?

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