Hello Monthly Stitchers! I’m very excited to be participating in Indie Pattern Month again this year. For ‘dresses’ week I wanted to use a fabric that a colleague of mine very kindly gifted to me as it was taking up too much space in his house and wasn’t being used. He gave me 7 bags, each containing 3+ metres of quality suiting fabric, one of which was this 100% black wool made locally in Huddersfield.
I originally was going to try and find a suitable indie pattern in my stash (I favour indie patterns and have many in my stash) but I just couldn’t see this fabric becoming anything else but the Pippi Pinafore dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. So I had to buy it. I’m not a big dress wearer, but I do wear a lot of skirts. This is really a skirt with extra twiddly bits but it’s described as a dress on the website so it counts! You just don’t need to put it into the wash after wearing it for one day whereas I would with a proper dress.
The printing and assembling of the pattern was really straight forward. The PDF is layered which means that you only need to print the size(s) you need, which made the assembling and cutting part much smoother than usual. I printed off the size 14 B cup. I like the fact that there are multiple cup sizes with this pattern which gives a great fit on the bib. Definitely measure yourself though and don’t go with your bra size. I’m an E cup in my bras (and I have been professionally measured multiple times) but it turns out that I was only a B cup for this pattern. It does fit nicely around the bust so I think I got it right!
I asked my 13 year old daughter what colour top stitching I should go for she insisted on yellow. She has an obsession with that colour at the moment but I didn’t have any better ideas so I went with it. It’s definitely bright!
This project did give me more hassle than it really should have though. Everything was going swimmingly until I tried to attach the waistband, bib and straps to the skirt. Somehow, the waistband grew considerably and was far too big for my skirt. The bib and straps were already attached to the waistband and I graded the seams so it would have meant starting those bits again (and as I’m writing this post two hours before the deadline I really didn’t have time for that!) so I folded about an inch and a half out of the waistband instead. I do have a random seam in there but you can’t tell in this dark fabric.
I also have an overhang at the side where the buttons go because the waistband was so big. I couldn’t trim it down too much because that would have chopped the bib off a bit. I’m really not sure what I did wrong with this! As soon as I’ve located my press studs I’ll add one in there to secure the extra flappy bit.
One of the reasons I’m being so last minute with this project are those button holes. My machine has always behaved itself with button holes up until now. It made such a mess of 3 out of 4 of my side button holes that I honestly thought I wouldn’t get this dress completed in time. Trying to unpick a black button hole from black fabric was a nightmare. My eyesight is not the best and I just could not see what I was doing. I got there in the end though and tried to fudge the button holes manually by doing a couple of extra large bar tacks side by side. Time will tell if my button holes with last. I did manage to get the button hole foot to work on the bib though but I decided not to risk it on the straps. At the moment the straps are safety pinned in place but I will put a press stud in there too.
I’m hoping to wear this dress to work next week. The suiting fabric makes me think ‘work’ despite the mad top-stitching! The best thing about this dress though is that it makes it look like I have a waist. I think it suits me better that my other pinafore dresses but I may need to make myself a yellow top to wear under it! See you next week!