Sewing and textiles with Ann
I really enjoyed making this dress using Serendipity Studios Claire Cami pattern.
After making a knit maxi using McCalls pattern, and not liking the result at all, I decided to search for a woven maxi dress pattern in The FoldLine. I browse The FoldLine from time to time, but hadn’t used the pattern search facility before. I had never heard of Serendipity Studios. The pattern appears to be 6 years old, so clearly they have staying power. I bought it from Minerva Crafts, having found that not all that many UK stores stock this brand.
The instructions advise to read through before starting, and I totally recommend that you do that. There are multiple options of multiple options, and you need to understand how the options are constructed before you even buy your fabric. Some of the pieces, such as the tie and hemband, are not included in any fabric allowances, and need to be added. Fabric requirements for each section are stated, and you need to add them up, depending on what you have decided to make, and then add the extras!
Its also recommended to make a toile, and since I intended to use quite a lot of fabric to make a maxi, I thought that a wearable toile of the shortest version was probably in order.
Those of you who know Birmingham’s fabric suppliers will know the stall on the outdoor market where you can get a range of polycotton for £2 a metre – ideal for wearable toiles. This cost £5 in total and is rather wearable!
I didn’t bother mixing and matching my fabrics, but it was a useful exercise in construction methods and sizing the top of the garment. The ‘waist band’ comes up a little high under the bust, so I lowered the centre of the upper bodice by 2cm on the maxi version, and can report that the waistband still fits with no further adjustment. The pattern has a very crisp finish, and comes together very well. Hence, I guess, its staying power…..
The pattern is designed for a B cup and for a person who is 5′ 4″ tall, which I am! However……… when I placed the skirt section against the completed toile, it was clear that it was not going to come anywhere near maxi length, or ‘above ankle’ as the pattern describes it. Well above ankle. In fact, I added a full 20cm to the skirt section, as well as adding a 10cm hemband to get the length that I wanted. That’s 1ft in Serendipity terms (US!)
And all the more worthwhile for having made the toile.
So the fabric requirements for the maxi were even more complicated, adding all the sections that I needed, and the extras, and then dividing across the two fabrics. But I got it about right.
My original intention was to get two fabrics of the same design in complimentary colours, and although I could have done that, just imagine how it would have looked! The main fabric is 100% cotton, and then, having selected that, I was carting rolls of various shades of polycotton around Fancy Silk Store to find the right contrast. Orange – so that you can see me coming.
The instructions don’t have to be followed in exactly the order that they are written. It was somewhat quicker to make the maxi, as I could prepare each stage as it suited me, and pull it all together quite quickly. There wasn’t much fabric left over, but sufficient for a little choker, fastened with a self covered button. I thought that might look interesting if it twisted round my neck without me realising. All very 70’s I think!