Dotty Viscose Nancy DressApril 2, 2017 / byFiona Parker / Categories : Feeds
Viscose is one of my favourite fabrics for dressmaking. It can be a little tricky to work with but you can't beat the drape and comfort and I love the way it feels cool and smooth against the skin. Unfortunately it can be difficult to track down in interesting and wearable prints so whenever I find some I pounce on it! This little gem I picked up from Maggie's fabric stall in Lewisham which is a fairly reliable source for contemporary prints and fabrics as she stocks end of high street lines. If you live anywhere close by I very much recommend a visit, it's usually pretty entertaining too! She's based just outside Rolls and Rems and is usually just around on weekdays and the odd Saturday but check out her Facebook page for updates. I think this particular viscose was £2/m as most of the stall is; a bargain you can't beat for the quality.
I highly recommend using a viscose for Nancy as you need the luscious drape and light weight to make the most of the swing of the style. Although actually making this up in a fabric with a lot of body could be really interesting and create a very fashion forward look! I adore this style but have found it a little tricky in the past. I have tried on many a similar RTW dress in my time only for them to look frankly quite maternity. I think the key to this pattern's success where other dresses have failed is down to a number of clever design elements. Firstly the slim fit of the shoulder and sleeves balances the volume under the bust. If you had a raglan or dropped shoulder seam you'd loose all shape of the body and the overall effect would be too tent like.
Secondly the empire line waist seam running across the back means it fits fairly closely across the upper back which is much more flattering than the shape hanging loose from the shoulders. It skims your figure and gives you a little shape.
Finally most of the flared shape is provided by the front side panels which means less volume at the centre front and also a closer fit around the bust as you can see in the photo above. The shape swings out from below the bust not above it as it does with most trapeze dresses. These panels are an interesting challenge to sew, especially in shifty viscose. You can't see it very well in this print but you have a fairly tight corner to contend with. It is tricky and requires a bit of patience but the instructions and photos make it as straightforward and accurate as possible.
The instructions are as great as I have come to expect throughout in fact; telling you exactly when to stay-stitch, finish seams and how to press. The only thing I did differently was to add in the step of under stitching my neckline binding before turning it under. This is a tip I picked up from Grainline Studio instructions and proves to be a pretty failsafe method for getting a clean edge. Getting even binding in a viscose like this can be difficult as it really stretches on the bias and shifts about so the width distorts along the length. Extra steps like under-stitching can really help.
One aspect I really enjoyed constructing was the centre back opening. I love this slit feature and have never tried this type of fastening before. The construction method gives you a really lovely clean finish that's enjoyable to sew. If I'm honest now I've worn it more than a handful of times I've noticed that the hook and eye at the top is giving me a little trouble and keeps popping open when I've been wearing a cardigan or jacket on top as there is not enough tension around the neckline to keep it in place. I think I might change it to a button and elastic loop or I do have some scraps of the fabric left so I could get fancy and make a rouleau loop to match!
The circular nature of the hem combined with the malleable viscose meant it dropped all kind of wonky! The side panels in particular drop more than the rest of the dress as that edge is on the bias. I left it hanging for four days before hemming in the end and then made good use of my dress form to level things off. I think a shorter length works best to balance the volume of this style and after some deliberation cut 1" off the shortest point of my wonky hem and turned it up by 1/4" then 1/2". I used the recommended 1" hem on the cuffs.
I cut between the size 8 and 10 as I always do with Sew Over It patterns and can't fault the fit, although of course all you really have to worry about with this one is the shoulders and lengths! I decided to use the version with the lower neckline as I thought a bit of exposed skin at the neck wouldn't hurt to balance out the quantity of fabric in the lower portion. I easily got it out of 2m of my 150cm wide viscose and wasn't being too careful so probably could have done with less at a push. I already had the hook and eye and thread in my stash so at £4 for a new dress I can't complain! I see plenty more of these in my future if Maggie keeps me supplying me with viscose!
This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Diary of a Chain Stitcher
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