Since before having Bella I've been saying that I wanted to be able to
make my own clothes for her, but I've just always been too nervous.
Apart from a mercifully brief stint of making my own trousers in the
early nineties, I've never made any real articles of clothing and I've
always found the idea a little too daunting. I also suffer from a mild
form of dyscalculia, (number dyslexia) and one of the ways that it
affects me is by making patterns or instructions really hard to follow.
So I've always assumed that I wouldn't be able to get to grips with the
whole dressmaking experience.
However, yesterday a new batch of wonderful fabrics came sailing through my letter box and I was instantly inspired. So as soon as Bella's head hit her pillow, I was spreading out her drawing paper on the sitting room floor and sketching a dress pattern.
I knew that I wanted it fully lined because although it's a strappy dress I intend for it to be worn now, over a long sleeved T and a pair of jeans. And I knew that I wanted to use the grey Denyse Schmidt fabric somehow.
And this is what I came up with. The main fabric is a Japanese import and is absolutely beautiful. And the contrasting fabric is the grey Denyse Schmidt that I totally adore. Grey is big this season and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. I love it and intend to use a lot of it.
I wanted to line the dress with the same grey fabric, but I couldn't justify it, so instead I chose a grey gingham that I bought a couple of years ago, and I'm so glad that I did, because it's worked perfectly and it's a really good weight for the lining.
I ummed and ahhed for a while over what fabric to use for the straps. I thought maybe the Denyse Schmidt but the print wouldn't show very well. So instead I decided that I wanted to highlight the tiny red flowers in the main fabric and went for a red and white polkadot.
Which of course meant that I needed to use a vintage red binding for the bottom hem. I really did want to use a gorgeous vintage grey bias binding that I have, but I figured that since Bella is only two (almost) maybe I should stick with the brights. And I think it worked ok.
The whole dress came together really easily and took me less than two hours from start to finish. And although it's a really simple shape, I've tried to finish it as professionally as possible. Which is something that I'm big on with all my work. I always hem everything properly and finish everything to the highest standard possible. I work based on the idea that people are, for some reason a lot more critical of handmade and assume that if you cut the same corners as factory made products , then it's because you don't care enough. So even if I'm only making it for Bella I try and finish everything as well as I can.
That said, because this was fully lined I didn't need to worry about hems and obviously I've used binding on the bottom instead of hemming. So it was all super quick and easy and I love that.
I have to say that I'm really proud of this dress. The fact that it's for Bella makes me really happy because she gets very, very little of what I make. And the fact that I designed it myself really pleases me. The only problem with it is the fact that I still haven't mastered using a real pattern. Bah!