Lady Skater dress in purple

Hello Lovelies

With less than three weeks to go until The Big Cruise (Southampton UK to San Francisco) I’m starting to panic that I haven’t made enough dresses.  Not only will I need day wear but also evening wear – even if I don’t go to the posh black tie evenings I know I will still want to dress up a little for dinner.

And to make it even more complicated, we will be leaving the UK slap bang in the middle of winter with temperatures around freezing, then sailing into warmer climates until we hit Barbados which apparently has an average temperature of 29 degrees that time of year.  We then carry on to Mexico (average 23 degrees) ending up in SF which should be about 13 degrees.  After short stops at Los Angeles and Las Vegas we round off the holiday in Washington DC – which I am led to believe will be very cold in February.  So not only do I need day and evening wear, I need a Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter wardrobe – eek!

Anyway, with that in mind, my latest make is my first Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo.   I’ve seen so many gorgeous Lady Skater dresses around the blogosphere that I just wanted to make one myself.   I really love my Moneta dress but the gathers make me feel that it is more suited to wearing in the daytime.  Whereas I can imagine myself wearing the Lady Skater not only during the day but also dressing it up with a nice jacket for the evening– in fact, I wore this dress last week with my purple Morris jacket and I felt very smart.

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The pattern

The pattern is available as a pdf download from Kitschy Coo here

Although I have bought a number of pdf patterns in the past this is the first one that I have actually printed out and used.

The pattern printed out over 22 pages and assembled pretty easily.  There were a couple of sheets where I had to manipulate them to get them to fit flushly against their neighbour but it was easy enough to do.

The fabric

I purchased 2.5m of this lightweight jersey fabric (140cm wide) from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham  http://www.fancysilkstore.co.uk/

It was around £7.00 a meter (that is a guestimate as it has been in my stash for a while)

It has a 4 way stretch with a 70% stretch on the cross grain and drapes beautifully.  I’m not sure about the composition but it feels like a viscose and lycra mix which would account for the great stretch and drape.

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Preparation

I pre washed the fabric on a cool program and tumble dried it afterwards.  There wasn’t any noticeable shrinkage.

Sizing

The pattern measurements use your high bust measurement rather than your full bust.  This is great, especially if you are full busted, as it means that you get a better fit around the neck and shoulder area.

Kitschy Coo use their own measurement system starting at a size 1 and going up to a size 8.  I quite like this as I’m generally an 18/20 (UK sizing) in RTW clothing but with the Big 4 pattern companies I often have to use at least a 22 which doesn’t do much for my morale.  A size 8 sounds so much more dainty doesn’t it?

My HB measures 41” which puts me between the size 6 and 7 for the shoulders, neck and chest area.  However, my high waist is 41 and the Lady Skater size 8 measurement only goes up to 38”, thus I needed to grade the pattern out to a size 9 which took it up to 40”.  Because this pattern is for knits I wasn’t worried as I figured it would incorporate enough negative ease to cover that missing one inch.

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Alterations

I made up a quick bodice muslin from some jersey knit fabric in my remnants pile.  This showed that I didn’t need to make many adjustments to the bodice.  I didn’t have enough fabric to make a skirt muslin so I had to guess what adjustments would be needed.  This is what I did:

  • Reduce the sleeve length by 1” to accommodate my short arms
  • I used this technique for a full bottom adjustment of 2/3” (although it is for trousers it works fine for me on a skirt): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cPWFM-Sk7w  I find that doing this adjustment helps to stop the back hem of my skirt being much shorter than the front.
  • I added 2” to the skirt length as I like my dresses and skirts to come down to mid calf.

Construction

I used an 80/12 ballpoint needle to sew the dress.

All seams were sewn on my sewing machine using a zig zag stitch set to 2.5 length, 1.4 width.  I then overlocked the raw edges to neaten and strengthen them.

Seams were sewn at 3/8” as per the pattern instructions

I used clear elastic on the shoulder seams to strengthen them overlocking the elastic in place to make sure that it wasn’t going to go anywhere.

I also used clear elastic on the waist/bodice seam to give that strength and stability.

I stabilised the neck both front and back with a small piece of lightweight stretch fusible interfacing.

I often draft my own neckband as I generally find that the ones which come with patterns aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ – so much depends on the fabric that you are using.  However, I did use the pattern neckband this time and it fit perfectly.  I’m really pleased with how beautifully flat it is lying – no stretching or puckering at all.

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Things that didn’t go well or things I would change next time

I only just had enough fabric and so didn’t have the luxury of choosing where to place the pattern pieces.  Looking at the finished dress it seems to me that the two large circles on the front bodice draw unwanted attention to The Ladies.  In hindsight, I wish I had swapped the bodice back with the front when laying out the pattern.

The finished dress

The dress fits almost perfectly, perhaps it is a little snug around the waist so I might grade up the waist by a further inch for my next version.  However, it is lovely to wear and I received quite a few compliments when I teamed it up with my Morris blazer.

I would be hard pushed to decide which is my favourite pattern between the Lady Skater and the Moneta, both are easy to make and feel great to wear.

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Cost to make

Fabric – 2.5 m at £7.00 per meter – £17.50

1 reel of Gutterman thread – £1.60

Clear elastic – approx. 1m at 87p

washable tape and fusible interfacing – estimated cost 25p

Total Cost: £20.22

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12 thoughts on “Lady Skater dress in purple

  1. The Lady Skater is probably my favorite pattern. I’ve made a ton of them. I love your version. The fabric is so pretty and the dress fits you very nicely.

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    • Thank you so much mizzsmartypants. The Lady Skater pattern is fabulous, I’m so glad I tried it. I love the smooth silhouette and the way the dress just glides smoothly over all of my lumps and bumps (of which there are many). I already have my next version planned and ready to go.

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  2. O wow! That’s a nice trip, but what a challenge to pack! You can’t have enough knit dresses. No wrinkling, light weight and you can always layer them. Pretty dress!

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    • I’m so excited Marianne, counting down the days now. Yes, you are spot on, I think knit dresses are going to be my staple wardrobe as they are going to be so practical – I don’t like ironing at the best of times and even less so on holiday. I’ve bought a couple of nice shawls and a range of scarves which will hopefully make the dresses look a little different.

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  3. Pingback: Morris blazers in navy and black | Sewn From The Heart

  4. It looks lovely. The fabric is wonderful and the dress really suits you.
    I really like the headings that you use in the reviews as well (I might have to borrow that idea for my blog if that is ok)

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    • Hi Nikki
      Thanks for such lovely comments. To be honest, I’m really chuffed with this dress, I felt good in it last night. I’ve spent many years feeling uncomfortable in RTW clothes and sticking to mainly black all over in order to blend into the background. Since I’ve taken up sewing I’ve grown in confidence in so many ways and am finally starting to love clothes again.

      Of course you can use the headings I have in my posts, go ahead 🙂 I find they give me structure to my posts and help me remember to cover everything I want to write about

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      • I am finding the same with sewing my own. In rtw I either ended up with clothes that fitted my boobs but hung like tents on the rest of me, or clothes that fit my waist and hips but felt like a boa constrictor on my boobs. I never used to like having my photo taken let alone posting them all over the internet but since sewing my own and having clothes that fit and flatter I find I don’t mind or hate the photos quite as much as I did.

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    • Same here Nikki, to get things to fit my hips meant that I was literally swimming in excess fabric at my waist. I’m only 5ft 1″ and sleeves went down past my fingers, all skirts/dresses hung on the floor and I probably only had 2 items in my wardrobe that I did feel comfortable in. Now practically every time I wear something I’ve made someone comments on how nice it/I look which in turn then makes me feel even better. I’ve still got a long way to go to get the fit perfect but even with any fit issues I still have, the garment is still 100x better than any RTW thing I bought.

      The biggest problem I have now is my ever growing fabric stash and trying to sneak even more past my poor husband. I don’t live near any fabric shops so have to buy most of it online. I’m starting to anticipate the ‘do you really need more fabric?’ comment even before the postman arrives!

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      • Stay away from girl charlee UK then. They have gorgeous knit fabrics. My poor purse has really taken a bashing since I found that site.

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      • oops, I already found Girl Charlee and bought way too much. Now I’m onto Ditto fabrics, they have some really nice knits as well 🙂

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