Personal fashion from other people’s fabric

26 Jun

I got another really cool gift of fabric. This was actually a while ago, and although I quickly knew what I wanted to do with it, it’s taken me some time.

It was this great length of an African printed textile:

I was describing this fabric to someone, saying “It’s a wide stripe, with another pattern layered over that, and then gold peacock feathers printed over that…” and the other person went “Whoah….that sounds like some fabric!” and I realized that what I was describing sounded really horrible, actually.

But there it is: you can see it for yourself. It’s got wide stripes, and a pattern of lines intersecting that, and then gold peacock feathers scattered over that.

At any rate, it was originally an sarong-style wrap skirt. It was hemmed on the edges, including a kind of wide, stiff hem along one side. I almost suspect the friend who offered it to me meant it to be used as a tablecloth, or in some other home decor application, but I wanted to see it as a more shaped, fitted garment. I was limited by the yardage, though: there simply wasn’t much there, and I was going to have to (gasp!) match stripes.

I used “See and Sew” pattern B5664, which is supposed to be really easy. (It says so right on the package: “YES! It’s easy!”) but it took me a while. I averaged a single step every few days…and it’s fully lined, so once you finish one thing, you get to do it all over again.

I’m quite happy with the way it came out, I have to say. I made one alteration: the neck was too low and the neckline gapped in the back, so I took a full 1″ out of the top seam, along the top of the shoulders, lifting the whole bodice up to fit closer.

What I like best about it is that it has center seams, both front and back. I think this gives it extra curvature–instead of a straight grainline like most dresses cut symmetrically on the fold, this one has a slightly shaped center seam, in addition to the side darts. And with the 1″ lift, the waistline hits me right at the natural waist, so I think, for me, this is a pattern I can/will use again.

When I make this pattern the next time, I’m going to add a kick-pleat in the center back, to give a little extra space for climbing steeps steps, like on public transportation. But I’m keeping the rest the same.

9 Responses to “Personal fashion from other people’s fabric”

  1. Crafting A Rainbow June 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    I like it a lot! Looks casual but classy at the same time! 🙂

  2. ReadyThreadSew June 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    It looks great on you (and I love your shoes).

  3. prttynpnk June 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    This is wonderfully textural I’m glad you found a pattern that was nicely fitted but not busy, this is lovely on you!

  4. bernieandi July 1, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Gorgeous! LOVE the print too 😀

  5. Georgia August 26, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I really like this dress and your green lace one. I’ve got a couple of patterns for shift dresses which I want to use with a border print fabric. The trouble is the pattern pieces have curved hemlines which I suppose most patterns have, which cut into the design on the fabric. I was wondering how you managed to keep the stripes intact?

    • handmadejulie August 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      It’s a little tricky. On this one, I lined everything up by the waistline. I knew I wanted a dark stripe right around my waist, and everything else to true up to that–so I transferred the waistline marking to the fabric and made that run right down the center of the dark stripe. Then, at the bottom of the hem, I used another dark stripe as my guide for the hemline.

      The green lace one was different, since the border scallop was so important, I laid out the pattern to that edge, and aligned the grainline of the pattern pieces perpendicular to that scallop. (Essentially, truing up the whole pattern to the bottom edge.) It could be that that’s what threw the dress “off” a bit, since the grain is not exactly as the pattern was designed to be, hence, the wrinkling problem. I guess the way to work around that would be to attach the scalloped hem to the dress as a separate piece…but that does seem to defeat the purpose of a border designed fabric. I’d love to see what you do, with a border print shift.

  6. RenataLaura June 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    That’s beautiful! And I love african fabrics. I just bought this pattern hoping it was easy lol.


  1. Making a Mess… « handmademess - July 23, 2012

    […] chose the same “See and Sew” dress pattern I’d sewn up just recently, only cutting it off at the … (I find I don’t buy a lot of pattern tops…I quite often simply chop a dress pattern off […]

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