Tag Archives: lilou dress

Dresses for weddings…

8 Aug

I decided back in March, as I had 3 wedding to attend this year, I could make a dress & knit a cardigan and wear the outfit to all 3 weddings, simple! I selected the fabric and bought it on a fabric trip to Birmingham &  Guthrie and Ghani with the lovely Jem Weston who was shopping for her actual wedding top fabric (Jem’s wedding being wedding no.2 for me this year)  – you can read Jem’s post about the fabric trip here.  Jem’s friend Rosie also bought lovely fabric to make a dress for Jem’s wedding (looking forward to seeing the finished dress). Obviously I then headed to Knit Nottingham to select a lovely summery yarn to go with the gorgeous fabric.

Fabric and yarn - nettynot blog.jpg

I had already decided which dress I wanted to make, having made a Lilou dress (from Love and first Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons) for a previous wedding a couple of years ago I knew I wanted to make a sleeveless dress but I also didn’t want to cover up the lovely flower print with pleats so decided to make the skirt gathered and also add pockets so I used the bottom half of the Emery dress by Christine Haynes, which I’d also made and wore to a wedding 2 years ago.


I knew I needed to do a bit more work on the fit of the lilou bodice as my first dress wasn’t perfect, doesn’t look too bad here, but I re-tried it on and it’s not great. Too roomy over the bust and sat awkwardly over the shoulders so I made a few small tweaks to the pattern and cut a smaller size. I had help from Jem and Rosie (different Rosie) at our knit group’s spin off  sewing gathering, getting the darts fitting my shape better. I made these adjustments, whether they were the right things to do or not I’m not sure….
– Graded from size 3 at shoulders to size 4 at the waist and curved the side seems.
– Took 2.5cm out of the bodice length (I have a short torso, I did this to the first dress too).
– curved the darts inwards on the back.
– extended the back darts by 2cm.
– cut down the arm holes by 0.5cm.
– Trimmed 1cm off the back pieces graded from sides to center back.

I was feeling apprehensive about the over all fit, so decided to buy some cheep polycotton from the market and did a full (wearable) toile. I’m glad I did, it didn’t turn out too badly, it fitted and looked ok. The fabric felt cheap and a bit crinkly, however it did resolve an issue, which was that it wasn’t so much that it didn’t fit me ,more that I just didn’t like the fit, if that that makes sense; I realised I wasn’t a fan of the strap positioning, they come in too much on the shoulders highlighting that fleshy underarm bit and exposing my bra straps at the sides (I don’t think it helped that I think the finished dress is actually a touch too small). Please bare in mind that these photos were taken at the end of a long day (at wedding no 1 –  my Boyfriend’s bothers wedding), complete with frizzy rained on hair, (I was literally about to crash into bed and then thought…quick get a photo of the dress – as you do – and stuck my feet back into my shoes – these were the best ones :/ …. second photo was just to show off the pockets & the lilac lining)!

Having deciding that the Lilou dress was for me or my lovely posh fabric, I didn’t have the time to make a toile of an entirely new bodice, before wedding 1 hence wearing the polycotton toile, which wasn’t so bad.  Also doing this meant I didn’t have to rush to finish knitting my cardigan as it didn’t go with the fabric I’d used. Instead I had a look though my existing hand knits and found a navy lace cotton wrap cardigan I’d knitted to wear at yet another friends wedding about 5 years ago (YES there’s a definitely theme here). I haven’t worn the cardigan much since as it slips off my shoulders A LOT, so decided to address this and I unpicked the edging, resewing it back on, making a shorter edge. I also added some ribbon in  between the shoulder seams inside, to help stop it slouching off any more. This worked well and with the wedding being pre-heat wave at the start of June I wore it all day (this will be a test to see if my boyfriend reads my blog, he’s not a fan of having his photo taken, I happen to think this is a lovely photo – despite my mad/unruly hair).

At the Wedding - Nettynot Blog

I also made a necklace to match. Based on a workshop I designed for work; Mandala Pendant.

Necklace to macth dress - nettynot blog

I felt the lilou dress making was a useful exercise. I often find dressmaking incredibly frustration (unlike knitting which I find incredibly relaxing). This is because I had delusions about making my own dresses, that it would mean they would fit beautifully, and that is sort of true, but not without a huge amount of work and I don’t have enough of an understanding or experience yet to know how to adapt patterns to fit me well.  I’m an odd, short pear shape (which is fine). I often increase from shoulders to waist by 1 size and then waist to hip another size, I have a short torso and a bust size smaller than most patterns cater for – that’s a lot of adapting.  I’m not confident enough to do a small bust adjustment yet and so have managed to adjust darts and side seams enough to take out the volume needed.  I realise this will come with practice and experience (and a lot of patience) but I do find it exasperation sometimes – if anyone has words of wisdom on this subject or similar experiences I’d love to hear them!

My new dress for Jem’s wedding is almost complete now and fitting quite well (whooh, *happy dance/prance*), so I will write a post about that soon too.

Thanks for reading.
Steph

 

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