On Saturday I dusted off a dress I don’t wear much for work – because I had nothing else clean enough or ironed enough to wear to work and it was 6am. Fortunately, even if I’ve ironed the collar of this dress it still sticks up funny, so I wasn’t too worried about that… I felt so fabulous in it all day (and it was a full day, with a breakfast date before work and a lady date drinking and gossiping session after) that I dusted off the pattern on Sunday and got to work on the first item on my ‘list’, my “Minter Dress”.
No, wait. I started working on the dress on Friday. Oops. Sometimes my brain muddles at the order of things, like ‘did I forget to turn off the stereo at work on Thursday or on Saturday?’ and ‘do I put my underpants on underneath my tights or over them?’
It’s a wonder I ever get to work at all…
The dress above, the oft-worn denim dress and the new mint dress all came from the same pattern, one I drafted last year from an op-shopped pinafore while mourning the loss of my design school bodice pattern. Funny story – I went to a party two weeks ago and the lady I’d given the original pinafore to was there, wearing it. With a brown cardigan. And I looked down and here I was wearing my denim dress. With a brown cardigan. Fortunately Aaron and Louis were both wearing their green swandri jackets so I wasn’t the only person at the party with a stunt double.
I’m calling it my “Minter Dress” because it’s a wool dress and the fabric is mint with yellow, blue and red flecks in the weave. So mint + winter = “Minter” = itchy and needs lining. I had the good sense to face the neckline with some cotton, but then I noticed it was scratchy everywhere else too. Never mind, Bertie has some lining fabric for me, and then it’ll save me rummaging around on dark winter mornings for a petticoat.
But before I do that, I’m going to show you the scallops I made for the Minter Dress. As you can see I made it up as I went along and sewing purists will no doubt be up in arms over my (lack of) technique.
I followed Tilly’s excellent pointers on creating scallops, as well as my instinct that whatever I did, it wouldn’t look too wonky because it was a whole lot of curves to confuse those sharp-eyed hem examiners of the Western world. I traced a line around where I wanted the hem to fall to, then took the lid of my new packet of pins and drew some curves.
And then ironed them quite a lot. Tilly’s pointers were very helpful in this regard. First I poked the iron in there and ironed the seams while still inside out. Then I turned them and pushed the iron in again. Once that was done I pressed them, pinned them and then (purists, look away) topstitched them because I could see they were never going to hold their shape – the wool was too sproing-y. Plus I have alredy pointed out that I am not afraid of topstitching things. Next time I will know not to sew the scallops so darned high – there are a few holes in the upper reaches where the fabric ripped as I pressed it. But otherwise I’d say it’s a fairly solid first attempt at a scalloped hem. Only now do I let myself count how many rounds – 21 – cripes! It made me realise that the real reason people gasp internally when you mention scallops is not the difficulty of the task (no harder than a Peter Pan collar, really) it’s the endless repetition… Facebook tells me it only took three hours from my “see you in sixteen hours” glib remark pre-hem to my photo of completion. Sewing machine updates, slow news day.
As you can see, the dress still needs a mighty good press before I line it and document it fully.
Other improvised features of the dress were put in place to hide a multitude of sins, like the little button tie to disguise where the collar doesn’t meet up and a dart was hastily inserted to shorten the neckline. Shall I just show the top of the dress too? Oh, go on…
A nicely pressed, high-res photograph, with matching belt and bakelite buckle, decent background and nice lighting to come. Promise.