September 22, 2015

Where I present you my masterpiece (so far)

Hello there.
Once again I'm presenting something that was in my suitcase for my summer holidays. Talk about a backlog! It's a dress I made for weddings, so to take these pictures I actually had to dress up just for the blog. But I assure you it is just as it was this summer.

It is a Kim dress by By Hand London. This is my third one; the first one was blogged here, the second one is a strong candidate for an autumn wedding I'll be attending in a few weeks, so probably you'll see it soon.

I used my modified bodice: size 12/16 with 3 cm. FBA, plus several cm. added at the waistline. This works if I sew the bodice with 3/4" seam allowance (instead of 5/8"), so I just repeated what I did previously. I removed the pintucks at the hem, and gathered a smaller rectangle than the skirt pattern for my size.

That's it with construction, because, as you can see, the protagonist of this dress is clearly the fabric! 
It is a very thin polyester, which frays like crazy and was a hell to trace and cut. Anyway, one can forgive everything to this fabric! It came in panels, and I had four of them, arranged 2x2, if that makes sense to you. I actually regret not taking a picture of it before cutting.
I hoarded the fabric for more than one year because I never had the guts to actually use it: I wanted to showcase the panels, somehow with some boxy design where the fabric would take over few seamlines. Then one day I had the idea to transform it in a Kim dress for weddings, and every hesitation disappeared.

The fabric was enough to cut a Kim dress into it, but the real challenge was pattern matching. As you might know, the bodice has princess seams, and I am super proud that in the final result it's difficult to actually spot the seams: they are well hidden into the busy print.

I went for a total redesign of the fabric: the original panels are visible in the skirt, but for the bodice I decided to have a darker side with more brown colours, a lighter one with more yellow, and a continuity between front and back, leaving the white part at centre back seam. 

I also wanted to keep the panel visual game, because I felt it would have been a loss to totally remove it. So the skirt is made with two of the panels. I like that the light brown vertical stripe which divides the panels is still visible on both sides (and it's different from one side to the other).

Because of the peculiar fabric pattern of the skirt, I moved the invisible zipper on the left side. It is not totally invisible, but I blame the fabric for being completely unstable and with a certain amount of give. For the same reason you will find some pulling horizontal lines across the back. 
Anyway, contrary to my habit, I will not focus on the flaws (like the very ugly hem, which I might one day re-do), and just enjoy the dress I created. I am a big fan of symmetry, but in this case I am willing to admit it is far more interesting to have different colours on the shoulder straps, because I know it is made on purpose (I made it myself!) to balance the colours of the skirt.

I have received many compliments for this dress, and it officially consecrated me as a sewist for my family. I think I styled it quite well with light yellow shoes and blue accessories. More on the accessories in a couple of days, because they deserve a proper presentation. 


  1. Such a beautiful dress! You have a wonderful eye to be able to choose this fabric and "see" the dress in it ahead of time. Also, to be able to finish it! I cant wait til the day I sew well enough to wear anything but I also need to be able to finish what I start rather than stopping part way thru because I am so dissatisfied. I am new to sewing and fiber arts in general. I have been spending time learning to knit, crochet, weave and spin too. Have become obsessed with textiles in my midlife crisis or in my dotage perhaps (almost 52!). I was not sure but wanted to ask- is there anywhere in your blog where you share you size(s) with us? I came across your blog on a "curvy" women's website but that tends to mean "larger" women and you do not seem to be that!

    1. Thank you Beth! I am a perfectionist myself, so I understand the pain of finishing something that you already know it is not up to your (high) personal standards. My personal trick is to only sew things I need, so I am obliged to finish them because I need them.
      Anyway, the more garments you finish, the more you notice your improvements: it is a journey and an education! Don't give up!
      Your comment about my measurements and my definition as "curvy" gave the inspiration to write a dedicated post about it! It is in the process and you will see it soon or later :) (it might take a while because I want to make it right, of course!)
      In the meanwhile my measurements (in cm) are 104 bust (D cup), 90-95 waist (ever changing with time of the day, time of the month, time of the year, food etc), 114 hips.
      I hope my reply helps!
      Have you a blog or instagram when I can follow your progress? :)