all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Fifty shades of green

I exaggerate! But I did use four different shades of green thread to make this dress. I had to dive into my stash of thread during lockdown, as I couldn’t nip to the haberdashers to get another reel of the correct shade. Yes, I could order online, but deliveries are taking up to two weeks, which right now, is a interminably long time to wait. Having pretty much used up all four shades that I had, I did eventually order online, and completed both garments with the best match.

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So, another Aspen dress from Serendipity Studio. I promised myself a summer version when I finished the much worn mid season version some years ago. It’s smart, wearable and comfortable. But the make up instructions are extensive and weird, albeit, clear when you have made certain that you are in the right part of the instructions. There are so many options, meaning that you don’t need to use a significant proportion of the instructions. You also don’t need a fair proportion of the fabric that it says to buy! I should have remembered that, because I had enough to make a long sleeved jacket with pockets after I had finished the first version. This time the jacket came out of less fabric, and may be more used as a cover up for short sleeves.

The fabric is from Abakhan, bought online under lockdown, but is the same type as I used for the hacked Holiday Top only a few weeks previously. Actually, what was sent was wrong. I ordered the embossed ferns, but these are squares. It doesn’t matter. It makes it different to the holiday top, and the prospect of returning it under lockdown was too much to be bothered with.

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The ric rac is left over from the Indigo dress, which, despite me thinking it was a strange colour, goes very well with both garments, and the buttons were removed from my Jiffy dress before it went to the charity shop. (It’s too tight; it was always a bit tight….. I don’t do ‘close fitting’ these days!) Isn’t it wonderful what you can find in your haberdashery stash when you need it?

As a reminder, the main weird part of this pattern is the way that the elastic is ‘inserted’. I’ve not seen this method anywhere else. The bodice / skirt seam allowance is used as a casing channel. In order to deal with the problem of the side seams, elastic is fed into each of the front and back channels and anchored, first, individually, and then by stitching one of the side seams. The other seam is then stitched, but not across the elastic channel. You then try on the dress, ascertain the right fit, somehow anchor the elastic ends whilst you take off the dress (with pins or a knot) and then stitch the gap. It’s the need to put on and take off the dress with unanchored elastic which I find weird. Anyway, what I did was to check the length of elastic required first, then cut it in half before inserting into the front and back. I did carefully try on the dress, but the lengths were right, as expected, so I finished off the side seam without further adjustment.

The fabric will travel well, when it is finally allowed! Pressing is a bit odd, because you press out the crinkles. Hence, as with the holiday top, the first thing that I did when it was finished, was wash it, so as to bring back the crinkles. No ironing required!

The jacket is New Look K6438, the same as I used here, but shortened by 5cm all round so as to get it out of the remaining fabric. As with the first version, I didn’t face anything; I just turned a hem. I say ‘just’; it was quite a slow process to get it right. This one took much longer to sew than simply overlocking everything as with the sequin version. Both jackets go well with the dress, but the green one will travel better.

I added a long narrow belt for the jacket, mainly because I think it may be practical to keep it together when moving around in the dress. Imagine the scenario: I have walked to the pub on a summer’s evening, it starts to get chilly, and then I walk home. A belt would be useful for the walk home. Imagine!

I also wondered about adding a small pocket to the jacket. The dress may have many options, but pockets isn’t one of them. But then I decided that it would spoil the drape, as the fabric is quite light weight. So no pockets (although one could always be added at a later date, after road testing the dress on that imagined visit to the pub!)

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