Finally, here it is – my first creation as part of Indie pattern month! (Yes, right at the very end. Again. Oops!)
All month I’ve been talking about, and slowly but surely putting together, the La Sylphide dress from Papercut patterns. This is my first Papercut pattern, and can I just say – I absolutely love this company! The thought that has gone into it amazes me – Katie has put together a whole experience with a lot of care, and I found every part of it, from browsing her website to receiving the pattern, making up the instructions, and sewing up the dress, to be rather delightful. I suspect I am now a Papercut fangirl. Hah. (And I am also eagerly awaiting her next collection, so I can buy and make more pretties!!)
Anyway, enough gushing for the moment. And on to the dress!
La Sylphide is a short dress, with a quarter circle skirt, button-up front, and tie at the v-neckline. (There is also a peplum top and a skirt variation. I’m planning on making the peplum top sometime very soon. Coz that’s how much I enjoyed making up this pattern.)
Now, a little word of warning. When I say this is a short dress, I do mean short. I added 16cm to the length of the skirt, and it’s still a bit shorter than I’d like! (But that’s how wide my fabric was, so that’s how long it got to be.) The quarter circle skirt swirls beautifully, and I live in a very windy city, so I’ll have to be a bit careful about what I wear under this, just in case! (Too much information? Perhaps.)
I found working with this Papercut pattern quite interesting. Back when I was at university, I did a part-time evening pattern drafting course, where I got taught things like using 1cm seam allowances and assembling in the flat as much as possible. But, I’ve pretty much never come across that sort of thing in patterns. Until now. Papercut patterns have a 1cm seam allowance – which is fantastic! Less wastage, less bulk, and none of that cut-out-heaps-of-extra-seam-allowance-then-cut-it-all-off-again faffing around. The sleeves on this dress are also attached in the flat, then the side seam of both dress and sleeves sewn up all at once. Brilliant! So much faster, and easier, than attaching them in the round. (Yes, another reason why I am now in love with Papercut. *swoon*)
The use of interfacing with this pattern was quite interesting too. Strips of interfacing were attached at the end of the sleeves, and along the button placket, then the fabric was turned over and topstitched, which gives a great, clean finish both inside and out, adds a bit more durability for the lightweight/drapey fabrics recommended for this pattern, and in the case of the sleeves also gives a nice, crisp, almost-cuff-like finish.
Now, speaking of the button placket, I went with what seems to be my current ‘thing’, and used snap fasteners instead. Because I could. Sewing-with-a-hammer once more – gotta love that.
I decided to go with a turned-up hem, rather than the rolled hem the pattern called for. Not for any particular reason – I think just because I couldn’t be bothered doing a rolled hem that day. (Lazy seamstress, me? Um, yeah. Whoops.) I had some vintage seam binding in my stash, which added a bit of a contrast colour (I do like adding contrast colours when binding hems). Sadly, it ran out about 3/4 of the way around the skirt, so I finished the rest with some cream lace. (Note to self: next time, measure the lengths properly, rather than just holding the tape up to the skirt and thinking it looks about right, then heading straight into stitching it on.)
I found the fit of this pretty good – no modifications were made, although next time I will lower the bust dart points by about an inch and a half. Which is probably a modification I should just make to every pattern by default, since they’re always too high on me. (What’s that about?!?) Aside from adding the 16cm to the skirt length, the only other thing I did differently was construction order. Rather than stitching up the bodice and the skirt separately, then joining them at the waist, I attached the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces then stitched the entire way up the side seams all at once. For two reasons – I like working in the flat more than working in the round, and (the main reason) because it makes it a lot easier to take the dress in at the waist if I ever lose these last couple of post-baby inches. (But let’s face it – chocolate is more important to me than those last two inches, so chances are they’re not going to be coming off in a hurry!)
Had to go to Auckland for work last week, which made for a good opportunity for photos outside in daylight, without having to wait for the weekend. (Ironically, I then didn’t get a chance to post this until the end of the weekend, but whatever.) These were taken at Browns Bay, on the North Shore, right between the shopping centre and the beach. In the rain. That’s how dedicated I am to getting photos for you, people – I stood in the rain in winter, without my coat. I even twirled in the rain, on wet and muddy grass, in high heels, in order to show off the skirt’s twirl-factor. And people nearby looked at me like I was crazy. (And a big thanks to my lovely colleague Fiona, who very nicely took the photos for me and hopefully didn’t think I was too odd.)
So, there it is, folks – my Purple Rain La Sylphide. (Why Purple Rain? Well, the dress is dark purple and black, and it was raining in the photos. And I couldn’t think of anything better. Got any better suggestions? Let me know so I can rename this dress – my naming creativity is at an all-time low this evening!) Verdict? I love it! It’s fun to wear, swirls around while you walk, the necktie looks super cute over a buttoned-up cardigan, and it was fun and easy to make. More versions of this will be made, probably quite soon.
Here’s a last twirling-in-the-rain photo, just because I like it, blurry though it is.