I’ve been meaning to write about my third Elisalex, the dress I wore for the London meet up, for ages. I wasn’t going to make a new dress for the day. I was exhausted, recovering from flu and nursing a very spotty grumpy child through chicken pox. I think I was on autopilot when I took this deckchair striped fabric, originally intended for new kitchen curtains, from my stash and began to cut. A few hours later, sewing in twenty minute bursts while the youngest dozed in front of Dora the Explorer and Doc McStuffins and it was all done bar the hemming and stitching the lining down. I hung it on my wardrobe door before I went to bed.
Only it wasn’t. I failed to match the darts in the bodice with the pleats in the skirt, but that didn’t bother me too much. Also, as you can see I didn’t quite get the stripes matching on the princess seams.
Of course I didn’t, the stripes are straight and it is a curved seam. But who was going to notice a little thing like that? However lying awake after being woken up several times by the screamy itchy child all I could see was those stripes not matching. Usually I would ignore it. It was good enough and who was going to be staring that closely anyway? However in my sleep deprived irritable state I just couldn’t let it go. So I hatched a plan.
I decided to recut the side panels from some fabric I had left over. However there was no way I was going to unpick the top stitching, lining and side panels of a virtually finished dress. Now with hindsight I realise that this would have actually been the easier option. Anyway, I got the original photocopied pattern pieces that I used and marked the position where I wanted the stripes to be on to them. Using this as a guide I then cut the front side pieces.
As I had already found out, you can’t get straight stripes to match up on a princess seam. Or if you can then I haven’t figured out how. However when I held them up to the dress I realised that all I needed to do was make a tiny dart in each one, maybe 3mm, making sure it was at the edge of a stripe so it wouldn’t show as much.
I did this with each piece then attacked them with a steamy iron until they were flat. Held them up against the dress and Huzzaah! Matching stripes!
Now this is the point where I should have just unpicked the lining and the original front side pieces and put in my new pieces. But no, where is the fun in that. I decided to hand sew my new matching pieces on top.
I have no idea if I have done this properly. I’m ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t know a slip stitch from a whip stitch, but it seemed to go okay and the stitches don’t show. I’m pretty sure I was delusional with tiredness by this point, but the action of stitching the pieces on was kind of hypnotic, and before long I had finished the dress and was able to snatch a couple of hours of much needed sleep. So here it is – front:
I don’t know whether it was worth the hassle or not. I’ve received loads of compliments for this dress. Whether I would have if I hadn’t fixed the dodgy stripes – I don’t know? I do love it though and have worn it several times since London. It is formal enough for work as long as I wear a jacket or a cardigan, and can also be dressed down for weekends. Now I just need to remember to always hand wash it in cold water. Stupidly I also forgot to pre-wash it and I know that this fabric shrinks loads when machine washed. Duh…