Sunday, 2 August 2015

Lady Skater - Toile and Trouble

About a year ago I made a toile of the Lady Skater Dress bodice. The result was not pretty. If we put aside that the fabric nearly broke my overlocker, my sewing machine and my spirit (plus three sewing needles) the bodice was just too small and the fabric was so un-stretchy it was like trying to get in to a top made of steel. I blanked the pattern from my memory and threw it in the bin.  However, a few weeks ago I woke up thinking that I MUST make another toile...this time of the whole dress, not just the bodice. I felt that this time it would be perfect (even though nothing about my body or machines had changed).

What you see here is my second full toile of the dress. The first looks exactly the same (same material) but it just didn't fit well at all (though it did fit my body so hurrah)! First time around I made the straight size 8. The bodice was too long (as the weight of the skirt really pulls the bodice down a lot) and there was something funky happening with the sleeve heads - they stuck out off my shoulder in a very odd way - like the shoulders were just wanting for the insertion of shoulder pads.  I also sewed the sleeves in backwards, so whoops.

With my second toile I cut the bodice shorter by two sizes (so now it's a size 6). I think I could go a tad shorter as it's not quite sitting in the right spot and is bunching up above my butt (I think I probably have a sway back and, coupled with my large bottom, this is exacerbating the bodice length issue). I don't think the back view of this dress is all that flattering on me it shows all my lumps and bumps, but I cannot see it when I'm wearing it so...whatever!

For the second toile I cut the sleeve head and arm hole to both a size 7. I still think the top of the armhole is still sitting off my shoulder too far so I might trim the pattern back to a size 6 just at the top of the shoulder - going for a straight size 6 all around would make the armhole too tight I think. I have been obsessively looking at every picture of the Lady Skater Dress on the Internet and Instagram and it seems like the shoulders fit everybody else in the whole world perfectly. Not quite sure what the problem is with me.

The sleeve is also a bit baggy with some pooling of fabric near the bust and my arm. I had no idea the back of the sleeve was so baggy until I saw this photo. That said...I don't need (nor want) my bodice to be skin tight so I'm willing to live with it. I've been getting lazy with my sleeve hems and I finish them before sewing up the side seam of the dress - it's a lazy way to do it, but it's much easier for me. I've taken to sewing in the overlocking tail back into the seams though so that they don't start to unravel when I just snip them off - so that cancels the laziness of finishing the sleeve hems the easy way

Not much to say about the neckband. I finished it as the pattern suggests - sew up one shoulder, attach the neckband (which I like to pull nice and tight, but not too tight) and then sew up the second shoulder. I did cut the neckband longer that the pattern piece as when I made my first bodice toile there was NO WAY the neckband was going to come anywhere close to fitting the neck. Easy peasy!

I totally loved this dress until I fluffed up the hem. I couldn't get the hang of getting an even hem on such a big circle skirt. In the end I just went for it, and f**ed it. I tried to unpick the part of the hem I'd done (half the skirt) but it was impossible to unpick such narrow stitches on spongy black ponti. So I just went for it again and overlocked off the botched hem. Of course only half the skirt was hemmed, so now it's uneven and it drives me NUTS! It is hemmed however as my sewing friend Susan offered to do the hem for me - which I took her up on. It was good to see how a professional does a hem like this and I still have my unhemmed first toile that I can now practice on.

Both the bodice and skirt fabric are Pontis from Tessuti. The bodice was made from the scraps of two ruined dresses that I'd tried to make for Frocktails (I've botched SO much fabric trying to sew for Frocktails which is coming up in Melbourne next week that I don't want to add up how much it's all cost me) and the black ponti from the skirt is from my stash. I think the softness, and good stretchiness, of the fabric helped a lot in getting a dress that fits me (the ponti for my first bodice toile was quite thick and not very stretchy = fail).

So there you have...a very wearable toile if I can just get past how wonky the hem is (which I probably can't as I'm OCD about that sort of thing).

Pattern: "Lady Skater Dress" by Kitschy Coo
Size: size 8
Modifications: bodice shortened to size 6 and the sleeve head and armholes reduced to a size 7. Left of the suggested sleeve cuffs. Also finished the sleeve hems before sewing up the side seam of the dress - it's a lazy way to do it, but it's much easier.
Fabric: Ponti from Tessuti
Changes for next time: shorten the bodice by one more size, reduce the top of the armhole (at the shoulder) to a size 6

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