‘Tis the season to make dresses
I feel like I’m only ever able to produce one outfit a month because of how busy I am, but this month I’ve been able to make TWO Christmas dresses and this bundle of blueness right here is one of them. This dress is everything I thought it would be and more, considering that this is how I imagined it:
To avoid sounding like my own biggest fan, I’ll just say a few simple and humble words about this slightly above average dress that I made, that isn’t too bad and could definitely be worse even though it is ridiculously the most amazing dress I have ever made in my whole life and should basically be the staple garment for AW2016.
Funnily enough, I used the bodice and sleeve blocks that I drafted for my beginner series tutorials. All I did was some dart manipulation to get the neckline pleat and then I attached the front side seam and back side seam together. I then cut it out on a folded sheet of paper to get the full pattern piece, which meant I only had to cut one pattern piece from my neoprene. There was no way I was cutting things out of the fold, it’s way too thick for that.
I also wanted to minimise the number of seams because I was stitching pieces together side by side with a zig-zag stitch and I couldn’t attest to how strong it would be and so my dress has no side seams- only shoulder seams.
Shoutout to neoprene! I love you!!
Neoprene is basically rubber sandwiched between two sheets of fabric and if this didn’t scare me before I bought this fabric, it definitely scared me when it arrived! It took me about a week to muster up the courage to even touch the fabric, let alone cut into it, and when I did, well! I messed it up… big time!
As you can see from my artistically drawn sketch of the above dress, I wanted a pleated neckline, just because I knew neoprene would be stiff enough to hold the shape of the pleat. But what I didn’t anticipate was the build up of fabric around the neckline from the folded rubber. I had about 6mm worth of bulk there with no way of covering it up, not with binding and not by lining the dress. The neckline was a terrible mess and so I had no choice but to cut the whole bodice out, start again and approach it in a different way (changing my design wasn’t an option either)… What a waste 🙁
Through my ingenuity, I was able to come up with a way of avoiding the bulk! Phwahahahahaa! Message me for the not-so-secret secret 😉
Working with this fabric was way too easy. I was expecting broken needles, ruined dresses and tears but I loved it and I look forward to using it again! But what I love about it the most is the way it can hold shapes, and that’s what inspired me to go for pleats on the neckline and skirt.
Anyone who’s seen my other stuff (check out my gallery) will know that I’ve never created any female item of clothing with sleeves. I hated sleeves, I avoided sleeves, I just couldn’t do sleeves. But it wasn’t until I decided to partake in a project, where I’d be using an incredibly difficult and expensive fabric, that I had the realisation that it was time to work on my sleeve phobia but funnily enough, sleeves were the easiest part of the whole thing!!
I love these sleeves. They’re very sleevesy. And they fit the armhole perfectly, with zero cap ease. Although I can’t imagine how I’d ease sleeves into such a fabric. I think I just got lucky. Hehe!
The skirt is nothing fancy but I think it’s perfect for the fabric. It was basically just a huge rectangular sheet of neoprene pleated lots. I was going for the poof factor and so I used a 90″ long rectangle and pleated it into a 30″ waistline, which created massive poof!
I added a simple metal zip down the back of the dress. The black zip definitely offsets the blue of the fabric while still complementing the other black elements added around the neckline and sleeves.
I loved loved loved using neoprene. There’s no way I could have fathomed the simplicity of working with such a fabric. Every time I wear it, I do feel like I’m about to go deep sea diving, but I guess that’s what you get when you buy wetsuit fabric! I’m even starting to consider whether ALL my future projects should involve neoprene!
I’m definitely more willing to work with unique fabrics and can’t wait to imagine up something as lovely as this dress.
If you’re interested in working with neoprene, you can check out Fabric UK, where I bought it from.
A few more pictures
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave your comments!!