When we chose our February/March patterns, Veronika caught my eye and I couldn’t resist making the circle skirt version with notched cap sleeves.
The fabric is one that has been extremely popular over the last few months and I was fortunate to buy the last three metres or so from Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Markets when I went fabric shopping with a friend.
Cutting out went smoothly – I find that laying out slippery or awkward fabrics is best done on the carpet rather than a smooth surface – although I realised, after attempting pattern matching at the waist, that there was a separate waistband and my efforts were, whilst not completely wasted, somewhat frustrated. However, the overall movement of the print across the dress still worked reasonably well.
Sewing went quite quickly – surprisingly so, in fact – and I completed most of it in a morning.
The sleeves are sweet and a little unusual. They are also not as difficult to construct as they might appear, and the instructions provide a clear guide. They are self-lined although a contrast lining could be fun too.
The sleeves are set between the bodice and lining, after stitching the darts and shoulder seams, and when it is all turned the right way out they appear as if by magic! Sleeves can be tricky, but these require scarcely any easing and only cover the top of the armhole; the facings take care of the lower part, so no bias binding is needed; it’s a great design aspect of this pattern, in my opinion.
The side seams follow, then the waistband, skirt, zip, back seam and hem. I’ve recently discovered the usefulness of Wonder Clips for sewing in zips. They’re easy to remove as you sew the zip in place (slowly!) and don’t run the risk of getting caught up in your machine. I find the zip sits flatter than when I use pins.
I chose to machine the zip in place but then prick stitched down both sides rather than topstitching.
The trickiest part for me was levelling the hem. Sewing a circle skirt to a straight waistband means that there can be some dips in the hem, and the fabric I used – a printed crepe – stretched much more in one direction, so I had a long front left and back right skirt and the other sections were short! My solution involved putting the dress on my dress form, sitting on the floor and – using a metre ruler – marking the skirt with pins at an equal height from the floor, then cutting it straight. This could also be done while wearing the dress if you have a reliable assistant on hand. I then overlocked the edge – which also helped even out the edges – pressed the hem in place and machine stitched it.
I’m delighted with this (very, very twirly) dress and plan to wear it to a wedding this summer. It has also prompted me to plan for a dressmakers’ tea party once the weather warms up a little…
Eleanor blogs at https://nelnanandnora.wordpress.com/