Self-drafted Scuba Dress

scuba dress on me front

 

I’ve been a busy girl this week. First, I updated my blog with a coat I made a while ago, then I made this dress, and then I also made a cute bag, which I shall tell you about next week. There will be some instructions as well as a tutorial on how to make bag straps in a pretty easy way.

How did I find the time for all this? Well, for one, I am unemployed at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, if you have an overlocker, you already know how quickly you can assemble a garment, and it will come as no surprise to you that it took me less than 3 hours in total to make this dress (this time includes some pattern-drafting on an existing basic pattern). If you don’t have an overlocker andlike to work with jerseys, get one. Seriously. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought mine second-hand from ebay for around 90 Euros.

What fabric did I use?

I bought this scuba from this website a few months ago (UK equivalent here). I only saw today that they finally have a scuba-section. They did a survey last year in which I stated that I wanted more scubas, which made me wonder if I had something to do with that. ๐Ÿ˜› Seriously though, I love that I can now find scubas on there without going through all of the jersey-section.

What’s even better is that I have the exact same scuba in a different colour, which I ordered from calico laine and which, due to the catastrophe that is dhl, took about 3 months to arrive in Germany. I’ll post pictures of the dress I made with that in the future. I actually wore it to Uproar in the Dam, so that blog post is well overdue…

I do have a bit of a thing for scuba fabric, by the way…

Onto the pattern…

This dress is mostly self-drafted, but based on an old T-shirt dress of mine (see here). This version includes princess seams, which line up with the front seams of the 4 skirt panels. I added some additional seams between bust and shoulder and forewent the princess seams at the back. I also used some black scuba strips to insert into the neckline and arms and around the waist.

 

 

scuba dress front 1

 

scuba dress side view

 

Some close-ups of the front and back details

 

 

And another update on the Merrylock 3040

I want to show you the hem of this dress, because I’ve been sewing my hems with the Merrylock 3040 for a while now,ย  but the other day I was reading my blog post from when I first got it and I have to say, not only have I got used to it, it also makes a pretty decent hem now without destroying the fabric. Please see below how well it is now doing with crossing seams.

 

scuba dress hem with merrylock 3040

 

hem inside merrylock 3040

 

hemmed with merrylock 3040

The corset pattern that no one likes: Butterick B5797

 

corset B5797 on me

Butterick B5797 is not a very popular pattern. It is a so-called “fashion corset”, which will NOT give the support or desired waist-cinching effect of a real corset. It definitely offers some support though.

However, I was looking for something I could wear out dancing (currently preparing for Uproar in the Dam), something that would give me the look of a corset, while also offering light support. Most importantly, I didn’t want to deal with grommets or clasps. I wanted something I could whip up and then close with a zip.

Seeing the pattern, I thought it was perfect for me. I really liked the option to put shoulder straps on, although I ended up not doing it, as I found it supported itself nicely (with a bit of additional boning) and stayed up without any problems.

Sizing

The sizing on Butterick patterns is relatively confusing to me. I tend to go for a US size 14, which would put me at a UK 16. Famously, there is usually some ease calculated into the pattern size one is meant to choose. If I went by their sizing chart, I would end up at a size 20, which I would absolutely swim in. As B5797 is only available in size 6-14 or 14-22, I thought I’d rather take in something that is too big, so I went for the bigger one.

I made the size 14, but graded the chest area up to a 16. It fit pretty ok when I made a muslin, but it was very hard to see the final form before putting the bones in. Once I had done that, I ended up taking the back and front seam in by about 1 cm each.

I must say though, I am pretty glad I got away with using the size 14. There is almost no pattern I can use in just one size without either grading it down in the waist or grading it up in the bust and hips, but I find Butterick especially difficult and often find significant sizing differences between their patterns.

Fabric

I used black duchess satin for the outside of the corset and lined it with a purple owl print cotton. The satin is quite thick and a lovely quality. However, I overlocked all the edges on it, as it frays terribly.

The owl print is so cute, I could wear the corset inside out. It is possible, although closing and opening a zip from the inside is quite hard. Also, unfortunately, the lining has some wrinkling issues.

B5797 lining front

This is the wonky looking lining. As this was my first time putting in a floating lining, I underestimated how precisely it had to match the outside to lay flat.

Boning

The boning I used was Rigilene. It is very lightweight, but gave exactly the support I want. Contrary to the pattern, I added boning channels on the outside of all the seams (except the front seam) by making my own binding out of the satin I used. I also added additional boning by putting two more boning channels on the inside of either side of the garment, as well as two boning channels next to the zip.

Rigilene can be sewn through. It feels a bit like cheating, but it was the only way I could get additional boning in, as I decided to do that quite late. Some of the boning channels cross, so with steel or even “normal”plastic boning, that would have been a much more difficult task. In addition, once I did the topstitching, I could just sew over the ends of the boning to secure it.

B5797 stitch detail

You can see the boning channels I added to the outside, as well as one of the ones I stitched on the inside of the corset shell.

Making corsets is fun

I very much enjoyed making this and will probably make it again. I really like the look it gives me without being uncomfortably tight. I plan on wearing this with a colourful tulle skirt, which I am also currently working on, but I am sure it would also look good with jeans or a circle skirt and petticoat.

I know it is not perfect. There is an amount of rippling in the fabric that any corsetmaker would snuff at, my topstitching is never entirely straight and the lining has all sorts of wrinkling problems. For my very first corset, I thought it was a great project though.

 

B5797 back

B5797 corset flat

B5797 side detail

B 5797 front 2

 

Adapting McCall’s 6741 to make a space dress

McCall’s 6741 was the third dress pattern I ever bought. I have used it many times and changed it a few times along the way to make different garments.

The first time I made it, I chose a size that was essentially too big for me and I ended up taking it in quite a bit. In this case, I had picked a size 16, which was still better than the first dress I ever made, where I managed to ruin a pattern by cutting it out 3 sizes too big for me. ๐Ÿ™ That pattern was also from McCall’s (6504) and even though I still like the shape of it, I cannot quite get myself to buy and make it again…

I have since decided to make the dress in a size 14, but add a fuller bust, which seems to work fine.

However, making this particular dress, I didn’t seem to take into account that I was going to overlock the seams, which leaves quite a bit more room, so another size down would have probably been more appropriate…

On top of that, the material is a bit stretchy as well, so I ended up taking it in a few times once again…

I must say though, I absolutely love this fabric. It is so gorgeous, and I could have never imagined making anything but a dress from this. Even though I bought it as a “digitally printed stretch jersey”, it feels quite a lot like a (one way) stretchy, but heavy satin and has a slightly shiny look to it.

 

digitally printed stretch jersey

 

I wanted a dress with a spacey look for this spacey fabric and adapting McCall’s 6741 seemed like the perfect choice to me.

First, I made the front panel into two pieces that would overlap just over the bust.

Here is the top and bottom piece:

 

edges sewn with the coverlocker

 

 

And here is what they looked like once I secured them on the sides:

 

all sewn together

 

 

I did the “hems” on those pieces (and on the whole dress) with my coverlocker and for once, I was happy with the result, despite using a stretchy fabric.

For the arms, I simply cut two 15 cm-strips of fabric that where slightly thicker in the middle and tapered off towards the ends. I sewed each one together lengthwise and inserted them into the armholes, with the middle of the strip meeting the shoulder seam.

I then hemmed the shoulder seams and made sure to straddle the seam where the “sleeve” and bodice meet. Here you can see the back and front view of the finished armholes:

 

arm finish back

 

arm finish front

 

I didn’t manage to finish hemming the whole dress, but this is what I plan on doing all around the hemline. I made each panel longer than the one before, so that the back is 21 cm longer than the front. However, I kept the edges instead of slowly grading them down, so that I get a kind of “stairs-like” hemline.

 

partly finished hem

 

Since I can’t wait to show it off, here is the dress in its half-hemmed state:

I am aware that these pictures aren’t the greatest at showing the dress off, but as I said, I just couldn’t wait… I will put pictures up once it is hemmed. Maybe I can get my husband to even take some of me in the dress. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am currently working on a summer jacket as well as this and the “fox” dressย (a panelled jersey dress, nicknamed in the process of making it, as the bodice had the appearance of a fox’s face), so I have a few unfinished projects at the moment. I also keep putting off making a short tracksuit jacket.

Since it is now only about 6 weeks to the HTID summer gathering, I better get a move on…