See It, Make It

One of my favourite weekend pastimes is online window shopping. Online shopping can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the brand, and being Canadian, most American-based online shops either charge an arm and a leg for returns, or don’t do it at all. So I often use my online shopping trips as inspiration for things I want to make, versus actually purchasing something.

Recently, I was perusing and I fell in love with this dress:

There is a lot I like about it.  Made from a unique grey and black stiped jersey, this dress screams comfortable, but still put together, as well as easy to clean and take care of. The lace-up detail at the neckline is also very on trend. The website didn’t have it in my size but figured it would be fairly simple to recreate.

On an unrelated mission, I recently visited Our Social Fabric, a textile recycling initiative based in Vancouver, and picked up just over 2 meters of a black and white striped knit for just $3/meter. Saving fabric from the landfill and getting great discounts on fabric? How did we all live without OSF. I’m not 100% sure of the fiber content, as it wasn’t listed, but it feels like a cotton blend and is soft like jersey. The print I have is an evenly-spaced stripe, more like the image below, so my dress will be a bit different, but close enough to get the effect. Honestly it drives me crazy that the print in the inspiration image doesn’t line up on the side seams. Another reason to make it myself!

With inspiration and fabric in hand, the next step was to find a suitable pattern that I could hack into a copy of this one. I again lucked out, as I already owned McCalls M7160, and had made previous versions, so the fitting part had already been taken care of. Ialso enjoy the voluminous skirt on this pattern, versus the straighter cut on the inspiration dress.

I started with View C, as it was the closest to the inspiration dress. This pattern includes a centre front seam to create chevrons or an asymmetrical bodice, but I wanted the stripes to lay evenly across the body so I cut one piece instead of two. This meant removing the centre seam allowance, but the pattern had true centre front marked on the tissue making it easy to simply fold away the excess. The tricky part was all the pattern matching. The dress ended up only being four pieces, but I still took an extraordinary amount of time ensuring my notches all sat on the same stripe so that when the sleeves are attached, the stripes should align across the entire top of the dress, including side seams and sleeves. I also cut all the pieces on one thickness of fabric, instead of on the fold, to ensure my stripes didn’t wander.

Lastly, I wanted to add that lace-up neckline. So I cut a facing for the neck and used some burgundy grommets I had in my stash to create the eyelets. I also had some black cord in my stockpile from a previous project. This dress ended up costing me nothing in new material, as it was all bits I already had. Plus, the fabric is recycled, the grommets were bought at a vintage shop and the laces recycled from a previous project making it a relatively green project as well.

And here’s the finished dress!

And a close up of the lace-up detail. I really like the burgundy grommets, which add a small bit of visual interest. You can also see the benefit of all that stripe matching around the bustline. There was no way for the stripes to line up all the way up to sleeve cap, however I’m happy with the straight lines continuing across the bust to the sleeves.

Fabric and notions $8
Labour $45

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