When I began my sewing journey, it was primarily because of my daughter. She was a long skinny baby, and rapidly grew into a long skinny toddler. I found that to get clothes that fit her, I either had things that fit but were too short, or things that were the right length but hung off her like sacks. In order to get even the simplest items of clothing for her, I had to sew. As a result, she has been the primary benefactor of my sewing obsession. Its only in the last decade or so, that I have switched my focus to sewing for myself, however occasionally she will request.
The Walk-Away Dress: Start it after breakfast…walk-away in it by lunchtime!” As seen on The Great British Sewing Bee, season 3, episode 3.11. DD is not a sewist, but saw this dress while watching GBSB with me, and asked me to make it. A very simple wrap around dress, sheath front, circle wrap around over skirt.
The first step, was to adjust the dress form back to her size (it does double duty when I sew for my niece). This is always an interesting exercise, as the dress form has to be squished to its smallest position, to go close to her size, and even then we can never get the waist as small as it needs to be. I also tissue fit the pattern on her, just to be sure it fits.
I am glad I did. Despite this being a modern interpretation of this pattern, it still seems the block is based on a shape that includes a corset/girdle. DD has a tiny waist, but I had to grade the bodice up to the next size at that point. Like me she has narrow shoulders. Unlike me, she also has a tiny bust. She takes after her grandmother, being a pure pear shape …. albeit tiny and tall. I can see that if I make her a fitted bodice dress, I am going to have to figure out how to do a SBA, oh joy!
Next the cutting out. This required me to almost entirely clear the cutting table, as the skirt is ENORMOUS!!!
Its a simple enough design, quick to sew up. I did follow instructions to leave it hang for a day to let the bias “set” whatever that means. By far the most time consuming step ….. is applying bias binding to the edges. Using half inch bias means that the binding is super narrow, and inclined to slip away from the presser foot.
The design is interesting, but really the weight of the back of the dress is impractical. It drags the dress at the shoulders, causing the front dress to slide up.Pulling it tight on the waist goes some way to alleviate it, but it still pulls backwards. As soon as I finished it, I was going over in my head, how I could take a regular shift dress, and then incorporate the circle skirt overdress, anchoring in the side seams to carry the weight of the skirt better. Nah …. I think I just find a pattern for a circle skirt dress, and make that for her. As an exercise in “sewing retro” this has been lovely. But the design shortcuts used to make this fit the super quick/easy dynamic, mean that the finished result isn’t as polished as it could be. DD loves the dress style, but has already asked for a different design.