This weeks Crafty Bloggers' Club post is from Laura. You can find more of her makes on Instagram @thespeckyseamstress
I've had my eye on making the Ready To Party Dress for some time - and I had been planning on making a sweetheart neckline flared skirt version for either my birthday or Christmas celebrations this year. I'm not a big party dress kind of girl, I'm a comfort queen at heart, and with all the events being cancelled, I thought I'd go for a different style of dress this year. So here I am, introducing my 2020 festive dress, in a gorgeous claret coloured cotton twill with a lovely amount of stretch. (This colour is now sold out but other colours are available in this medium weight)
This hack of the Ready to Party dress started as a vague idea of a pinafore style dress that wasn't actually a pinafore (helpful, I know) that I have wanted for years and years. Isn't sewing fabulous that we can make our dreams a reality? I remember when I was about 16 or 17, trying to explain a style of dress to my Mum that I wanted - we came to the conclusion it was sort of a hybrid shift/pinafore dress. It was, effectively, the sort of pinafore dress I wore to primary school - but more stylish and grown up - but nothing we could find in the shops did it justice.
The idea that the RTP dress might bring my long lived dreams to life came to being just over a year ago (its amazing how makes can get wrapped up in our to do list!), when I noticed that one of the recommended fabrics could be needlecord. The creative juices got flowing because I couldn't get the idea out of my head - the tulip/wrap skirt gives it a grown up silhouette and the scooped back neck and narrow straps give it the pinafore feel. I'm so pleased I finally made this because there are certainly going to be more! And I can't wait to make a proper party dress from the pattern too - it'd be so luxurious in a silk or a good quality viscose! The versatility of this dress is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this pattern. I can't wait to try a sweetheart neckline version, and I want to mash the skirt onto a sleeved bodice (or draft some sleeves for the pattern if I am feeling bold!!)
Now, let's talk fit and alterations. I made the size , according to my body measurements and made very few fit adjustments - just lowered the bust darts by 1.5cm and took a larger seam allowance at the top of the front princess seams at the armpit (something I often do in sleeveless makes). To get the pinafore style, I removed the invisible zipper and cut the centre back (and back skirt) on the fold - you could achieve the same look with the zipper, and I was about a day away from making it with the zipper when I decided a little extra room to be able to fit a jumper underneath would open up more styling options. The cotton twill has a nice bouncy stretch to it so I thought this would be great for the style. I shortened the skirt by around 2.5 inches for preference, checking first to see the wrap would still be decent! The last change I made was to choose a bias bound finish rather than a lined one. Although I love the luxury of a lined bodice - I chose this for a number of reasons. Partly because I was removing the zip and I didn't want a brain teaser for how to line it! Partly because I wanted to keep the slight stretch of the fabric and didn't have an appropriate lining, and partly because I thought it would be easier this way to make any fit adjustments I needed - as my toile was in a non stretch fabric. (And partly because I have a rather large amount of pretty bias binding available to me!). To do this, the seam allowance at the neckline and armholes are removed. You can do this at the cutting out stage, or once the bodice is assembled. You also need to make sure you finish the edges of your princess seams - I chose to do this on my overlocker before stitching - and I don't usually share the 'guts' of my makes but I think it all looks rather pretty (although if I'd have had burgundy overlocker thread I would have used it!).
Oh, and I added pockets, naturally - and what a conundrum that was! I couldn't decide whether to add in-seam, slash, or patch pockets and I ummed and ahh-ed about this for a while. But, I went with slash pockets at the hip and I'm really pleased with them - although patch pockets would have upped the pinafore feel even more!
Whether you're dressing up or down this festive season, I hope that sewing is providing you some comfort and joy.
Laura a.k.a The Specky Seamstress
“Crafty Bloggers Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”