I rarely window shop these days but, late one lazy Sunday afternoon, I found myself dawdling past the window of a closed River Island and spotted this: Dear reader, I swooned.
And then I thought about my lifestyle and thought; yeah, that sh*t’s SO not happening.
‘Cause how many occasions do I have to wear an off-the-shoulder body-con dress even if it IS super-casual? Exactly.
However, the idea of a Bardot dress stayed with me (mostly because I fell in love with Kylie Minogue’s off-the-shoulder black dress when she was on The Voice UK, dangnabbit). And also because it looked .. well, kinda familiar.
The bad thing with me is, I never throw anything out.
19 – freakin’ – 90.
Aaaaaannnd .. it’s taken me about that long to have the courage to wear anything like this. (Somewhere to wear it, of course, notwithstanding…)
Sensible head back on; I returned to River Island to take a look at the dress all up-close and personal. And .. wow, the construction sucked. Throwaway fashion at its most thrown-together, possibly under less-than-ideal working conditions.
It was cheap, and it looked it.
Plus, you know, did I mention the part where I have nowhere to wear a dress like that??
The Universe was nudging me.
But I wanted to use my existing pattern. Look, it’s by Mary Quant for heaven’s sake.
And anything that’s hung around for almost 24 years deserves to have its moment in the sun. Right?
- Traced off my 1990 pattern.
- Cut it to hipbone-length.
- Did a quick toile.
- Worked out I needed about 2″ negative ease with my chosen jersey to ensure the body section stayed up (like I was going to rely on those off-the-shoulder-straps!)
- Doubled the depth of the upper band.
- Dispensed with the sleeves.
- Dug out my bolt of beloved navy-and-cream striped jersey (snaffled ages ago from Croft Mill) which I’ve avoided cutting into for fear of frittering it on a failure.
- Completed my sewing project for this month in the space of 24 hours and with less than 50cms of fabric. This kinda sewing mojo is UNHEARD OF.
And hello, off-the-shoulder, saucy stripy goodness. (No, I’m not going to post a photo of me wearing it because, by making it 2″ narrower than I am, it is almost INDECENTLY saucy. Next time (next time!) I’ll make it at or slightly more than, my actual measurements…)
Some techy sewing stuff, for those of you with a passing interest…
- The collar/upper band is folded down for the above effect. I might stitch-in-the-ditch at each side to hold it in place as folding it into place without assistance is a bugger of a job. But it does look nicer folded, rather than as the scant band of fabric offered in the other versions.
- I had no idea how to stop those now bare armholes from stretching until I dug out my yardage of Vilene Bias Tape, as so often recommended by Burda. Indeed, I dug out an old Burda Mag with a beginner’s guide for a dress which used it on the armholes; the advice was invaluable. Basically, the chain stitch in it needs to be 1cm from the cut edge, and you press it for approx 8 seconds on a silk setting. Wunderbar!
- The armholes are seriously reinforced. I mean, I went to town on those babies, cutting off the spare 5mm of the seam allowance so I could bind them (with a jersey strip that, at 25mm, was about 5mm too narrow .. hence this to hold it in place before I turned and stitched it *face-palm*.
- And finally .. when I machine-basted the collar to the body of the top, those carefully-stretch-proofed armholes gaped at the front. Damn it! So I unpicked a couple of inches on each side and created two hidden ‘darts’, taking up any slack.
So all I need now is somewhere to wear it.
Come on. Anyone wanna whisk me off to Paris for the weekend? I even have the pyjamas ready…