Friday, 2 May 2014

The Route 66 Flora

Awesome print matching on front seam not clear but it's in the middle of the green lozenge!
 
So I really should have taken pics of this dress in a desert or at least somewhere more urban than a bluebell wood, but needs must!  I called it the Route 66 dress as the print reminsd me of rear view mirrors in old American cars, like in Thelma and Louise.

This is my second version of the By Hand London Flora dress, with the first version (with the tank bodice) blogged here.

I have seen a lot of people complaining about the bodice coming up very big on this but I didn't find it too bad - maybe I am bigger than I think I am!  I lengthened the bodice by 2.5", lowered the bust darts by 1" and did my ususal 1/2" FBA.  I wasn't sure whether it was going to gape or not based on the muslin, but it did so I tacked the crossover point down flat.  The skirt is lengthened by 2" as per my previous post. I could take the side seams in a bit but it's comfortable for a big dinner!



The fabric is an african wax print which I bought from Middlesex Textiles.  I have been loving wax prints for a while now and seeing Chinelo on the Sewing Bee every week with gorgeous prints definitely inspired this dress!  I usually find it difficult to find them in colours that I would wear, as they are often very warm tones.  But Middlesex Textiles has quite a few in blues, pinks and purples.  All the wax prints come in 6m lengths (a helpful twitter person told me that this is the length needed to create the traditional african dresses and headgear these fabrics are often used for), so the prices are pretty reasonable.  I think this one was £16 for 6m, so under £3 a metre. I've seen different weights (base fabrics?) for wax prints.  This is like a traditional cotton but I have seen ones that are smoother, more like a lawn.  You do need to beware of width though - the fabrics are narrow, like quilting cotton. 

What centre back seam?
 This meant I had to add a seam down the front  of the skirt.  I made a big attempt at pattern matching on the skirt and don't think I did too badly - it's only slightly off at the zip, but not enough to unpick (and a good invisible zip insertion does not get unpicked, amirite?).  Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the pattern matching on the bodice though.  The pattern isn't symmetrical, and does have a right way up (the lozenges - is that the right word? - are wider at the top so I couldn't cut upside down).  I went for a line of green lozenges running down the straps, but perhaps I should have tried to match the yellow one at centre front?

The bodice is lined in black cotton lawn.



I really like this dress - it's pretty much as I envisaged it in my head.  It will work in the summer with bare legs and sandals or pumps and for cooler weather with tights (c'mon summer, bored now! There was a massive thunderstorm happening overhead while these were being taken). I am going to make a lace version for an evening event coming up and wondered if anyone could help me get rid of those wrinkles at the front crossover piece?  Would I just shave a little bit off the top of the front wrap pieces below the centre front? Or is the bodice just a little bit too roomy? Or are those wrinkles just part of the style of a wrap?

Any advice appreciated as usual!

26 comments:

  1. Looks great! Really pretty colours. No clue on the wrinkling though, sorry!

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  2. Beautiful dress! You did a great job with the print matching and lining up!

    It will look lovely in lace! It's pretty normal for wrap dresses to have some wrinkles at the cross-over. But you might be able to take another dart out of each front piece (a vertical one where a princess seam would be). Also play with moving the point of the cross-over (down and/or over farther) and see if that helps reduce some of the wrinkles. If your lace is stretchy, you might be able to just move the point until it's tight enough to reduce wrinkles. Pinch and pin you mockup if you still have it and see what happens.

    Can't wait to see the lace version! =)

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    1. Oh good tips, thanks Brooke! I have the muslin here so I'll try pinning out a vertical dart and see if that does the trick. The lace isn't stretchy. It's quite thick. But I'll see if I can move the crossover point too.

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  3. Love African wax prints! They are definitely wing mirrors. You look great in this Jo, I think you did a great job with the fitting in particular.

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    1. Glad you can see wing mirrors sally! Hubby looked at me like I was mad! Thanks very much. I'll get there with the firing one day!

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  4. Love it! Great match of patten to fabric, and great job pattern matching. You've got me eyeing up those wax prints now...

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    1. Thanks Katie. I hope I have enabled a future fabric purchase (like you needed the help!)

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  5. Great dress! I love the colours, really versatile. I often swoon over African wax prints but have yet to purchase...

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    1. Thanks claire! You should go for it if you spot one you like. It's definitely a bit different from usual!

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  6. Such a fun fabric, you made it work. Can't help you with the wrinkles, though.

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  7. This is so striking! Looks great on you too. So glad you found a wax print that you love, I really admire them but have never seen one that would suit me just right.
    The top wrap over always seems to want to avoid going over the busty bumps, so usually goes under and causes wrinkles. You could maybe cut it wider as it heads over the bump, with an added dart. Sounds like a lot of extra work though - maybe just sew it all down once you have it on.

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    1. Thanks nessa. I may have a play with the muslin I made and see if I can get rid of the wrinkles there. May be as I lowered the bust darts so the pattern expects my boobs to be higher up?

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  8. You made a really pretty dress! I love your fabric choice, such bright and happy colours. I think it really suits this pattern, which I now might need to order myself hehe.

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    1. Thanks inge! Glad to have enabled a pattern purchase!

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  9. Amazing fabric, Jo. And your pattern matching skills work just fine! I haven't done the wrap over version but I got some underbust wrinkles in the strappy version following an fba. I did another version without and it was much improved. Have you tried a version without?

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    1. I tried the pattern tissue on without and it seemed a bit tight. Maybe that could be a solution tho - thanks janene!

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  10. That fabric is brilliant - it looks like a vintage 50's print. I agree with the previous comments thst maybe just sewing the crossover down will avoid wrinklage. I think its just the nature of the style that its going to move around a bit.

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    1. thanks nicole - i think it looks quite vintagey too! i think i will try sewing down the crossover and see how it works.

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  11. I love this so much! It's fabulous! I agree with Nicole, the crossover bodice is less structured so will move around more so a bit of anchoring will probably help!

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    1. thanks vk! definitely going to try that.

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  12. What a great print!
    For the wrinkles, that is pretty normal if you have boobs the wrap is likely to creep down under the boobs creating the wrinkles. Obviously with a smaller chest area the wrap can just go through. The only way to avoid the wrinkles I think would be to sew the wrap down, either blind stitch or make it look like top stitching

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    1. thanks liz! i';m going to sew the top part down by hand and see if that helps. it's not terrible so i can totally live with it on this make. i suspect if i hadn't had to move the bust dart down the wrinkles wouldn't happen as boobs would be higher in the top. but i'd probably get gaping at the top crossover part.

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