Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Nautical Knot Dress


If anyone thought my love of nautical stylings may be on the wane, then think again! I would like to introduce you to my latest boating-based wardrobe addition: the Nautical Knot Dress! Boats. Knots. More boats. More knots... 

As I mentioned in my round up of 2012 post, for a couple of reasons, my sewing mojo all but disappeared at the tail end of last year. This is the only thing I made in 2012 after all my wedding hoopla was completed. It's taken a few months to find an opportunity to get some decent pictures, day light levels being as they are in Winter. 


Pattern:

The pattern I used was a vintage McCall's, number 6636, that's been in my stash for about a year. I scored it pretty cheaply from eBay after becoming intrigued by the interesting bust shaping and enchanted by the pattern envelope illustration. 

Pattern Sizing and Changes: 

It is a bust 34", which always seems the best starting point for me when it comes to vintage patterns. I would usually fold out 2 cms from the depth of the bodice to accommodate my short-waisteness (AKA naturally high waist) but something told me not to do that this time, and I'm glad I didn't because the waist seam sits just fine, a little high even, with no adjustment made. One change to the pattern I did make was to add 4 cms in total around the waist because vintage patterns can often be so unforgiving for a lady such as I who likes cake! However it's come out a bit too big around the waist, but at least I can go to lunch without feeling restricted (which I did today with the very lovely Kathryn and some of her equally lovely London laydeez). I also removed an enormous chunk off the length of the full skirt!


Fabric Choice:

So I've temporarily stopped pussying around with fabric featuring nautical style stripes and tiny anchors. Time to man up and stick some frikkin' boats on my body!!! And like I said a while back, curtaining can be an excellent source of garment sewing fabric, and I think I've proved that here! This fabric started life as a HUGE curtain my mum scored from a charity shop. I think she got it with half an eye to making some cushion covers for the cosy little interior of my dad's boat, but there is really only so many scatter cushions a small boat requires and I ended up with this fabric instead. Happy day! 

I'm not sure if you can see clearly enough in these pics, apols for a lack of close-ups, but the fabric design features line drawings AND water colours of yachts, plus some fancy rope work sketches AND some boaty stuff written in French. Damn. I made sure I positioned the front pattern piece so a rope work knot was in clear view. 


Did it look like the illustration on the pattern envelope when you were done?

Does it ever?! Umm, not entirely but then I never make a toile so I know it's therefore always slightly my fault. Even though it is against my natural inclination, I chose to make the full skirted version rather than the slim skirt version. This was for two reasons: the first being that I had so much damn fabric I may as well; and the second was that I just couldn't see that gathered-waist-into-a-slim-skirt effect going well. 

The main area of interest of this pattern is of course the crazy bust area with it's seaming and weird little bust darts. The seams actually go up into a point at the armpit area, which was really tricky to sew. I had a suspicion that the bust point of this pattern would be way higher than is natural for today's body shapes, but there was no way I was going to fanny around trying to lower it. Those suspicions were well founded as the bust darts are crazy-high. It might be a problem if I'd made this in a solid fabric, but the print hides it and I'm just not that bothered about a perfect fit on a dress that was kind of an experiment any how and I'll probably only wear a few times a year. 


Would I sew this pattern again?

No. I have too many untried patterns in my stash to spend a large chunk of time trying to perfect the fit of this pattern. It was a fun experiment and the result is a dress I'll definitely wear so it's all good. I would be tempted to therefore give the pattern away so someone else can fill their boots, but I love the envelope illustration so much I'm planning on framing it and putting it up with a few more favourites above my desk in my desk share space. I will, however, probably use the skirt pattern pieces again. Previously I'd only ever made full skirts from gathering up long rectangles. This skirt has such a lovely fullness to it, even if it does look a bit like a little girl's party dress!  


Oh yeah, I've just realised a lack of garment makery means a lack of self-photos so there hasn't been any photos of me on this blog taken since September. Maybes the fact that I've 'ombre'd' my hair may come of a shock to you. I can only apologise. And I promise the awkward side-fringe/growing-out effect is just a phase. 

35 comments:

Bec Stitches said...

It looks really pretty:)
Love the styling too, cute shoes!!

Janine said...

Your new dress is so lovely and shows off your trim waist so well.

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

A very shipe-shape dress! It Looks lovely on you Zoe; and I agree that the skirt made again on its own would look fab too :)

Kirsty said...

It looks adorable Zoe and I think the bust works especially with your knot placement!! So glad to see you've branched out into boat material. Your hair looks great!

Cecili said...

I love it to the moon and back, such a beautiful, stylish and fun dress :) I need to have your hair too!

Kathryn said...

Having seen this dress in person, I can confirm that it's insanely amazing.

The fabric is gorgeous and this shape really works for you! Loving the red tights too!

LittleChicken said...

Love this dress! So pretty x

Roobeedoo said...

I didn't recognise you at first! I really like the hair - don't change it!
This is a great dress! I like the way you placed the print to make the most of its special features and the shape really suits you :)

Marie said...

I love your hair Zo, it's so flattering!!! The dress is pretty awesome too and I can see why you want to use the pattern envelope on an inspiration board!!!

Kay said...

Love it, Zoe!! Black and white with red accents make my day! and you picked the perfect fabric for that pattern... Lovely!!!

Sew little time said...

this is lovely! great mix of fabric, pattern and styling!

Roisin Muldoon said...

This is really lovely, Zoe - a bit of a departure for you but still retaining your signature style! And I mean this is a compliment - but you'd see that dress with a price tag of £110 on it in somewhere like Laura Ashley (and it would have been made in China) so I love that you made this out of curtains. YOU ABSOLUTELY ROCK.

gingermakes said...

Really, really cute! I love this dress on you!

EmSewCrazy said...

I think it's cute! I really like the print too!

LLADYBIRD said...

Oh, I love it, especially with those red tights and blue shoes (!!!). I think the full skirt was the way to go. And also: OMG HAIR. I was staring at the pictures so hard, thinking, "Ok, I know her hair doesn't normally look like that... did I miss something here? WHAT DID I MISS" so thank you for clearing that up at the end haha :)

Meg the Grand said...

"Time to man up and stick some frikkin' boats on my body!!!" <- I totally laughed out loud.

This dress is so lovely, and I love how you've placed the knot on the front bodice! Your nautical garments are my favorite things you've made, though that yellow pencil skirt is a close second. Love the hair, too!!!

Elise said...

This dress is gorgeous, the fabric, the style, love it! :)

rosyragpatch said...

Lovely dress! You were so lucky to get such fab curtain material.

velosewer said...

Stunning dress Zo.

Helen Made said...

LOVE, Love, love this dress. So amazing. The fabric is great.

i heart fabric said...

This is so adorable I love it! Love your matching with red tights and belt! Such a clever lady!

Amanda said...

Can we talk about how freaking amazing that fabric is? Radness! The placement of the epic knot is awesome!

Scruffybadger said...

This dress is your destiny Zoe....how perfect?! I really like the full skirted version and what an interesting bodice. Placing that knot there is genius, and so effective. Love it!!

lostseamstress said...

The fabric is just smashing! i think the pattern is the perfect shape to match the fabric, much love Hannah

Jenny said...

It's lovely!

Hazel said...

Such a lovely dress! I especially like the bust detail, very unusual and you've utilized it perfectly with the knot placement!

Shelley Hesson said...

Everything about this is so lovely and so you. The red tights with blue shoes is a killer look. I can empathize with the lack of good photographing light. This was my first autumn as a sewist and I was completely unprepared for these no-light-blahs. Bring on spring and sun and longer days!!

Miss Lottie Lou said...

Looks great! Though I have a cheeky question to ask you...if you're not going to use this pattern again I was wondering if you would be up for a swap for some fabric or something else that takes your fancy? Let me know if you would like to :)
Charlotte
email: misslottielou@gmx.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/misslottielou

Adrienne said...

What a lovely dress for an "experiment"! And I loooove the hair! :-)

quietandsmalladventures said...

I LOVE THIS DRESS!!!!!! holy cow, that is perfection! now i need to find some boat fabric... hmmmm *plotting madly*

also i find it very funny that we're both growing out bangs!

tors (girl meets wolf) said...

LOVE!!!! (you just made me break my NY resolution, damnit) It's a beautiful dress and looks U-MAY-ZING on you daaaahling. Gorgeousness for gorgeousness

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Ah look at you ya little cracker! I remember you telling me about this little gem. Looks ace and I do think full of skirt was the way to go and my, my how much do I love your blue shoesies :)

xxx

acharmofmagpies said...

Totally cute and totally you. Full skirt was definitely the way to go with the whimsical print. And I love how you've styled this!

Jodi Wade said...

Your hair looks so beautiful!

honigdesign said...

beautiful dress... so light and breezy looking. Great with the red tights!

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