The summer dress made of “blue lizard” fabric

When I got all my new fabrics, I knew which one I wanted to work on first. Even though my husband said I would look like a blue lizard in an item made of this, it just had to be the ridiculous snakefoil jersey, didn’t it?

It’s a pretty lightweight fabric with plenty of stretch, so I knew a summer dress would be possible. Where I would wear such a thing, is still a mystery to me, but I somehow couldn’t keep away from the fabric. Maybe it was because it is so shiny, or maybe I have a yearning for outrageous dance clothing to an extent that even I didn’t realise. Somewhere in my mind, it says that it would be perfectly ok to wear a dress made of blue lizard fabric to a summer festival.

In any case, making the pattern was really easy. I simply used the pattern I made from taking apart my old dress in this post and changed the neckline so it wouldn’t be as low as it was before. I basically just cut the whole top of the bodice as a square to adjust later.

The neckline I had in mind, would be gathered at the top and end in a collar around the neck. I actually ended up pleating it, cause I felt too lazy to gather.

I also attempted to make more of a molded shape for me, not by adding darts but by cutting out and reshaping a whole section of the bust:

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I forgot to line up the seams with the skirt seams, so I need to remember to redo that for future dresses. I added a waistband to “hide” that fact a bit, or at least in my mind, make it look a bit less obvious.

This is the dress:

The back of the skirt is slightly longer, although I realise now that to really get the effect I wanted, the difference in length between front and back should have been larger. Since I only had about 1.5 metres of fabric, that was not an option though.

The waist sits a bit lower than I wanted and the bust seams sit just a bit under the bust, so I will redo the collar and shorten the bodice a touch.  The whole dress was sewn with my overlock machine.

To finish the edges, I used the rolled-hem foot of my overlocker. This is the second time I have used it, and while the hems are not as rolled as they could be, I really like the finish.

Here is the finish on the arm:

 

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And here it is on the skirt:

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Unfortunately, the fabric has a tendency to lose it’s colour. While trying it on, I suddenly saw lots of white specks all over the front of the dress. When I tried to brush them away (don’t know what I was thinking), more appeared! It seems the blue “varnish” comes off the edges of the little metal plates that the coating is made of. I wonder how that would fare in a washing machine. I probably have to hand wash it, and even then I’d be worried about the loss of colour.

I am very tempted to do this again and improve on it, but since the quality of the fabric makes it so hard to rework it or even wear it more than once, I think I might have to find a better fabric first.

How to add a “t-shirt” neckline

Since getting my overlocker, I have been trying to make a decent neckline for a while and have finally found a version that works for me. Previously, I had been under the impression that the way to sew it on was to leave one shoulder seam unsewn, then put in the band, then close that shoulder seam.

The result was always way too stretchy and I had some wavy, disappearing necklines that I ripped out again or changed so that they would work as a bias binding on the inside of the dress.

I really wanted that t-shirt neckline though…

My problem was obviously that the band I was putting in was always too long.

So here’s how I managed to do it successfully on a dress I have been making for the summer:

 

fits exactly

 

1. I made sure my neckline band was about as long as the neckline of the dress by holding it loosely onto the dress. I had taken a strip of the dress material and ironed it to fold it into a band.

 

before sewing

2. I sewed the ends of the band together.

 

lined up sides

3. Since my band only had one seam, I lined that one up with one of the shoulder seams. Finding the halfway point of the band, I lined that up with the other shoulder seam. The non-folded side of the band is going to line up with the neckline of the dress.

 

all pinned on

 

4. I pinned. While doing that, I had to stretch the band a bit to fit onto the neckline, since I was putting it on the outside of the dress. You can see how wavy the dress is becoming around the neck as it is pulled by the tight band.

 

5. I sewed with the overlocker. While doing so, I had to make sure the dress fabric didn’t escape me. Somehow it still managed, so now the band is a bit wider in some places. It might be better to sew with the inside of the dress facing upwards, as I could have seen it better then.

 

Well, here is the finished product from the front:

 

one more or less perfect neckline

 

 

and the back:

 

and from the back

 

and while we’re at it, here’s the whole dress:

 

the full dress

 

from the back

 

You can see that the shoulders are a bit wonky. I blame my coverlocker for this, but I will master it at some point, I’m sure. The stretchy material is quite forgiving though, so you can barely see it when I wear it.

The fabric is from stoffe.de, the British equivalent is myfabrics.co.uk. At 17.95 euros/15 pounds it is rather expensive, but I treated myself to two metres of it and I think I might have enough left for a short (ending just under the bust) or very short (think cyberdog-short, which ends over the bust) tracksuit jacket. I guess it would be more of a shrug.

It’s a lovely fabric (if you’re into colours) and was really easy to work with. The stretch is pretty good and it has a great drape to it.

I realise that it’s crazy colourful, but I bought it with the sole purpose of wearing it in a field in England this summer, while dancing to some UK Hardcore and/or Drum’n’Bass.