Monday, 5 January 2015

The Darling Lou Dress

This is the very seasonally inappropriate Darling Lou dress.  It's a mash-up of Megan Nielsen's Darling Ranges dress, and Tilly And The Buttons Lilou dress

 
This dress has been in the planning for a while now.  Since last May to be exact, when I saw Lizzie's Darling Ranges dress with a gathered skirt.  I really loved this, (especially the birdies fabric!) and thought the gathered skirt looked great.  Also, it has a faux placket (so no faffing about with buttonholes) and a zip in the side seam.

And this is what I had planned to make until about three weeks' ago when I saw Jo's shirt dress.  How gorgeous is this?!  I love this dress for several reasons.  1 - It's purple, and I have some very similar purple fabric which I had already planned to make a shirt dress with.  2. I love the details of the pleats on the skirt and the sleeves. The skirt pleats reminded me of the Lilou dress, so this is what I decided to use instead of a gathered dirdnl skirt.

I used the sleeve cuffs from Tilly And The Buttons Mathilde blouse
I drafted the bodice and sleeves using my block, but instead of following Lizzie's example and using a faux placket, I gave myself extra work by making a proper placket.  I'm glad I did though, because I wanted to practice plackets, and I love how it turn out.  Also, it helps to be able to unbutton the placket to get it on and off.  




Placket innards
Which leads me onto the side zip.  I like pockets in my dresses (these pockets are from good old Simplicity 2444), which meant that I had to end the zip above the top of the pocket on one side seam.  As I'm small, the distance between the underarm and pocket top was 10.5", so allowing for 1" below the underarm and 1/2" above the pocket, I ended up using a 9" zip.  I was hoping that this would be long enough, and it just about is (I'll just have to be careful when putting on/taking off), but it would be better to have a longer zip.  Which lead me onto thinking about how to sew an invisible zip into a side seam with a pocket.  I have googled it, but haven't had much luck.  There has to be a way around this, so if anybody knows, I'd be very grateful if you'd let me know!  I'm going to have a play about with some fabric scraps and a zip to see if I can work it out.

 


I'm so glad that I went with the Lilou skirt, it is lovely and flouncy, even in this light weight fabric.  I just folded in the seam allowance on the centre back and cut the skirt back on the fold.  Expect to see this skirt featuring in other makes; I have fabric for two more dresses that I plan to use it with (one being the purple shirt dress), and have ideas for another two.

 

The seasonally inappropriate fabric is some random viscose fabric from Sew N Sew in Belfast.  It was £3 per metre and 60" wide, so I bought 3 metres, and have about a metre left.  I soaked it in gelatine to stiffen it up a bit using the tutorials here and here, which I have done before with success.  It is then washed out when the garment is finished.  I recently read a tip about laying slippery fabric out on the carpet before cutting it to stop it shifting so much.  I wish I'd tried this, as I cut it on the wooden floor, and it still shifted a bit even with the gelatin.  But I'll know for next time, as I have some more of this fabric in a different print.

And because my fabric is so light, I thought a rolled hem might look nice on it.  Ages ago, I had got a Craftsy class called Beginners Serging, and learnt how to do a rolled hem on it.  This is a 4-thread rolled hem, and I thought it looked a bit sturdier than how my 3-thread rolled hem turned out.   My overlocker is a Brother 1034D which seems to be a popular model, so for anybody that is interested in trying this out, here are the settings that I used.

Remove the stitch finger - see page 42 of the instruction book for how to do this.

Left needle tension - 4
Right needle tension - 4
Upper looper tension - 4
Lower looper tension - 6

Stitch width - R
Stitch length - R

 

This is the first rolled hem that I've done, and I love how it turned out.  I would definately advice practising on a fabric scrap first though!



I'm delighted with my dress, even if it's too cold to wear such a light weight fabric just now; and because I didn't have any instructions to follow, I wrote some out as I went along on this notepad that my Dad gave me.  How great is this?  It has buttons on it, and ric rac! 

  

Have a great week!

Lynne

42 comments:

  1. The hem looks so pretty, I bet it was tricky, especially on such light weight fabric. Your notepad is brilliant too, I love how the buttons and cotton reel continue down the edge!

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    1. Thank you! The hem was really easy, and no one was more surprised about that than me! I love the notepad, and was really delighted when my dad gave it to me.

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  2. I love the result of mixing these two patterns, and the fabric makes it really airy. About the zip and pockets, what I've seen so far is the zip going to the back when adding pockets to a dress or skirt. I don't know if there is a way to keep the zip on the side though.

    I got a serger last november and one of the things I want to learn is how to do a rolled hem. I might try when sewing things for spring.

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    1. Thank you! I'm starting to think that the only way around the zip problem is to not put a pocket in one side seam. Good luck with your serger!

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  3. I love how this turned out - I am still hesitant about combining elements of patterns to make what I want but this is amazing! It also reminds me that I have both these patterns and have not tried either.

    I just got an overlocker for Christmas so rolled hem is on my list of things to attempt with it - first I have to get to grips with threading as someone managed to tangle the threads and pull them out yesterday...

    Louise

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    1. Thank you! An overlock was a great christmas present. Threading them is a bit of a challenge sometimes, and mine seems to know if I don't thread it in the right order! But once you get the hang of threading it, you'll be able to do it in no time. Good luck with it!

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  4. I love the hem! I think rolled hems are just so pretty in lightweight fabric.
    I avoid dresses with side zips because I can't work out how to put a pocket in them either. I often move skirt zips to the back for the safe reason.

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    1. Thank you! I've become slightly obsessed with solving the problem of side zips and pockets. I'm not going to let it beat me!

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  5. Love this combo and some nice details you added as well. I've traced off the Lilou skirt with a mind to matching it to another bodice or two ;o)

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    1. Thank you! Isn't the Lilouu skirt lovely. I've had an idea to add a button placket to the front of it.

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  6. It's lovely. As it's a dark print you could definitely get away with wearing it now with rights and a cardie!

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    1. Thank you! Sadly the fabric is really to light weight for wearing now. I know I'd be freezing in it!

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  7. LOVE this dress on you Lynne, it is seriously stylish. I love the pattern combo you went for. I'm contemplating making a Darling Ranges dress at the moment as I think it would work well for the transition stage of pregnancy and then afterwards for nursing - but I hadn't thought about swapping the skirt. So will keep that in mind!
    And I would totally find a way to wear the dress ASAP, it's too pretty to have to pack away until warmer weather. Thick tights, long boots, a thermal vest (shhh, no one needs to know) and a cardi!

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    1. Thank you! Darling Ranges would be lovely on you, and would be a great idea for nursing. I couldn't wear this now because of the our lovely Belfast winters. I'd be too afraid of the wind catching the skirt, and leading to a lot of embarassment!

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  8. What a successful combination of patterns. The pleated skirt looks great. I'm also impressed with your rolled hem and soaking fabric in gelatin - both are things I need to try because they look very useful things to add to your repertoire of skills and tricks!

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    1. Thank you! I still can't get over the rolled hem, and the gelatin is such a good trick. I know some folks don't have much success with it, but I thought it was great.

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  9. This dress is lovely, I really like the lilou skirt but didn't get on with fitting the bodice well so I might steal your idea to mix it up!
    I'd say your side zip was invisible!

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    1. Thank you! That's rotten about fitting the Lilou bodice, I haven't tried it myself, and I was delighted with how the zip turned out.

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  10. This dress is so lovely! It looks amazing on you. :)

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  11. What a lovely silhouette! It looks so great on you!

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  12. Just gorgeous, Lynne. I loved the rolled hem - I've yet to try one on my overlocker which is the same as yours. Can you layer the dress with tights and a cardigan or equivalent to wear it now?

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    1. Thank you! Honestly, the rolled hem was so easy, I was amazed with it! Sadly laying wouldn't work because the skirt fabric is too light for the current weather.

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  13. Ooh that's pretty!!! I love those pleats... I've resisted for so long, but I think I'm going to have to get Tilly's book, the patterns are so cute!

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    1. Thank you! I held out for ages on buying this book too, because I thought I didn't need another crafting book. Turns out I was wrong, and every pattern is lovely!

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  14. What a brilliant combination! It's so pretty. I must remember that I have the darling ranges dress too, still haven't made it and it's perfect for this time of year. Your posts are always full of useful links, thank you, I hadn't heard about the gelatin before!

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    1. Thank you! I got the gelatin tip from Sew Busy Lizzie. Crafting bloggers are the best!

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  15. Fantastic dress. The fabric is lovely and the fit is awesome! Good use of a rolled hem there lady :)
    Oh that notepad is too cute!

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    1. Thank you! I'm still loving the rolled hem, and isn't the wee notepad great!

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  16. This is SUCH a lovely dress! It looks so put together and easy to wear. You'll have a great time pulling it out once the weather warms up!

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    1. Thank you! I put it away with some warmer weather clothes yesterday, but hopefully I'll get to wear it soon.

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  17. This is great! I just love dresses like this, that feel easy to wear and you still look spiffy. Your combinations were brilliant.

    Regarding a side zip and pockets, if you find a solution, please post about it! I've been thinking about the same as one of my favorite projects is a half-shirtwaist dress. The closest thing I've found is from a vintage pattern where you hide an opening at the front in a pleat (seen here: http://rosiewednesday.blogspot.com/2014/12/merry-main-street-dress.html). Then you can skip the side zip all together.

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    1. Thank you! I will definitely let you know if I work out the side zip. I have tentatively pinned a zip into some scraps, and I think I'm getting somewhere with it. I'll have to sew it up properly to see how the zip sits. I remember seeing the front pleats on your blog, and another blog too. I'll have to have another look at it as another solution.

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  18. Oh my dear! Just how pretty are all these details? They add up to a great dress (my faves being the hem and those gorgeous pleats!).

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    1. Thank you! I love how these pleats shape the skirt. This is definitely my new favourite skirt pattern.

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  19. This is absolutely lush! xox

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  20. I love this Fabric!! And the dress looks great on you :) I must try and work out how to do the rolled hem thing on my overlocker. Though knowing mine it'll kick up a fuss after our previous incidents. I should really send it in for a service!

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    1. Thank you! I still can't get over how well the rolled hem looks. Good luck with getting your overlocker fixed, they really can be temperamental beasts!

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Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.