Thursday 31 May 2018
Happy When It Rains Dress
This is the Happy When It Rains dress, inspired by Shirley Manson of Garbage. It also started raining here in Sydney after a dry spell as I was finishing making this, so the name seemed to fit. It even rained as I walked home this evening.
The fabric is a piece of Viyella a found at a local op shop for $2. Viyella a blend of merino wool and cotton that is soft, light and still fairly warm. It's no longer made so can only be found second hand. This means it's also often hard to find and not cheap, so finding some for so little I had to snap it up.
The piece was quite small - 1.3m by about 90cm - so I was limited in what I could make. I looked through my patterns and found this one. I've made this before and love the shift dress shape with the added detail of the bodice seam lines. It's a vintage pattern, which also seemed appropriate for the fabric. My copy is the original 1960s pattern, but it's been rereleased as Simplicity 3833.
The seam lines on the empire line bodice are definitely the highlight of the dress, but also require patience to do. Connecting the bodice to the skirt can't be done all in one go - it requires at least three steps. I sewed each side seam and bust dart, then sewed the curved front from seam line to seam line. It was a bit difficult to sew without it catching, and easier to start from the side and then sew to the centre, so that seam was also sewn in two stages.
The rest of the dress was very straightforward to put together, but I did get to use my new overlocker to finish off the seams. A few weeks ago Aldi had craft and sewing supplies as their special buys, including a Janome overlocker for $199. I've been daunted by overlockers, but it was actualy very easy to use. It did help that the machine was already threaded with small spools so I haven't had to work that out yet, but the actual sewing went pretty well.
The hem and facings are all finished by hand. Because the fabric is mottled rather than a flat colour, trying to match thread was going to be tricky. But by finishing by hand I didn't have to worry about that and was able to give the dress a clean finish.
I really like the shape of this dress. The empire line bodice is closely fitted, but the rest of the dress skims out from there making it very easy to wear. There's also a long sleeved version which I would have made if there was enough fabric, so I guess that will have to be what I do next time.