Rockin’ it for all the intergalactic plus size women across the universe in my new dress and Men in Black sunnies combo. I will wear this dress for every single moment of the rest of my life and shall never take it off, no never, you hear me? LOVE the way this dress turned out. In my eyes it is faultless … the fabric was stupidly cheap in the January sales, and although I was a bit ‘meh’ about it when I bought it, when you are a little distance away the pattern magically transmogrifies from drunken aztec style drug haze into a Dr Who-esque multi-dimensional universe. Not only that, but it is just the right side of warm and washes like a dream. It being in the sale, the fabric mix was determined of unknown origin, but I suspect a cotton/viscose/lycra fibre fusion in the 4 way stretch which drapes and moves with an adorable amount of swoosh as you walk.
In terms of long lasting wardrobe potential it’s also a winner. I have a lot of blue in my closet and immediately found two cardis, a jacket and two different pairs of boots which tone perfectly with my new frock, so I can dress this up or down depending on my mood. Today I am cosy in my work combo of flat suede boots and long cardi with big pockets (is that a tri-barrel plasma gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?).
Now for the knitty gritty … the sewing of the thing! Unless you have just jetted in from another planet I’m sure you have heard of the wonder that is the Lady Skater Dress by the talented Kitschycoo. After reading of other sewing blogger’s adventures with this lovely pattern, in particular the enchanting Mary of Idle Fancy’s sky blue creation, I was hopeful this could fit straight out of the imaginary pdf packet. Nope. *sigh*
I cut the largest size for the bust and graded down one size for the upper bodice, added a wedge into the circle of the skirt (to use the full width of my fabric) and give it a bit more oomph. Pretty minor changes, but what I didn’t take into account was the weird proportion of my body in combination with the very pliable 4 way stretch of the fabric. Here was the result (please note I show these fitting pics of my first toile purely in the interest of sewing science, and not because I am happy appearing across the internet miles as a large blue cube lady. Just saying.)
As you can see there are some major problem with this. Although I already chopped two and a half inches off the length of the bodice and back in these photos the waist is still at least two inches too low (adding to the overall “I am a human box” vibe). However, the worst fit was the arms … too loose and big around the bodice, too tight across my biceps. As much as I pinned and undid the serged seams I just couldn’t get it right. I retreated to the sofa with some wine and my ipad to see if I was the only one to to have pretty major issues with fitting this pattern.
Thank goodness I found Shannon, who had documented in great detail her fitting adventures with the Lady Skater dress. Obviously, Shannon has the patience of a saint and managed to get her dress to fit to perfection, but her level of perfection made me absolutely determined not to be beaten. In the end, I used all Shannon’s advice, and compared the sleeves and arm scythe to another couple of patterns I had that fit well in the arm and did a frankenpattern for a revised bodice and whole new sleeves. I also added another two inches to the skirt length and chopped off in total 4 inches from the bodice. I think that definitely makes me a bona fide “short-arse”, as my nan would say. Hey ho, that’s what high heels were invented for.
Lastly, I should pass undying love and gratitude to my serger, without whom none of this would be possible. Seriously, all you sewers out there … if you can possibly scrape together the cash to buy one of these babies, do so immediately. Mine is a bottom of the range model but is perfect for what I need and makes running up a knit dress or top super speedy (fitting issues aside). Once I finished this Lady Skater dress I immediately cut out another in a, well, I think it’s safe to say, more controversial fabric choice! If we have more sun this week then hopefully I’ll have photos soon. Can’t wait to show you all.