Monday, 13 April 2015

Voila: A Sweet Sophia Dress - By Hand London

Voila! My Sophia Dress, a variation of the latest By Hand London pattern, and in this case a very nice wiggle dress. Warning, there is a lot of wiggle in this blog post, but not a lot of wriggle room in my dress. This is my first muslin/toile of the Sophia Dress, so I'm not 100 % on the fit, but I do love my tush in this shot though!

Before I talk about making this dress, I wanted to send a little "Thanks & Congrats" to the By Hand London team, who announced last week they'll be changing their focus a bit in the future. The whole indie pattern vibe (for me anyways) really kicked in with their creations - and Megan Nielson & Colette Patterns before them. I was pregnant & then breastfeeding while their patterns started to come out so haven't really rushed into buying them all, but I've made lots of Anna dresses and their free Polly pattern before... so seeing them stop printing paper patterns (and their fabric printing shoot off as well) was a little sad. They are just so cute to boot, the actual physical patterns. I wish them all the best, because I know they're just such lovely patterns! They are still selling pdf ones though! AND they still have a handful of actual patterns left, so you better get them!

This Sophia Dress is great and just that extra bit lovely because of the different shapes. I wasn't sure if the bodice would suit me, but I'm trying to get over the 'I'm too busty' or I'm too short' for certain sewing patterns, and I guess when you actually don't do a FBA, you're not 'too' busty. 

The fabric is from the Dongmen Lu fabric market, where the woman sold me a whole collection of cottons, at a cheaper price.. if you buy more it's cheaper... and I think this was around 48RMB a metre ($10 Australian, almost $8 American and just over 5 pounds) and it has tiny birdies on the blue background:

BUT, while the woman told me it was good quality cottons, and mostly Japanese ones, there was a printing error every metre on this one, so that doesn't sound like good quality does it?! See above, and luckily close to one of the edges, so I cut around it. And I'll be checking all the fabric properly in the future (and maybe buying from another stall!). I didn't actually need more than 2 metres of this for I cut the pattern a bit shorter in the skirt (and if you have wide fabric, you'll only need 1.3 metres!), so I'll send the rest to my blog friend Franca in Scotland who asked for some alternative colours for her baby bunting!

I used the cheap cotton for the lining again, same as my previous Anna Dress, it's ghastly to iron nicely, but being on the inside, who cares. You can spot my tiny uneven-ness as well at the base of the bodice, but everything else matches fine... I'm trying to be within the millimetre (GOSH, precise cutting is required) with my sewing nowadays... so I'm not too bothered by a half cm here and there yet.

The front darts are just lovely, and not too pointy on the old boobies... and now, the zipper... it is *almost* invisible, but a huge improvement on my attempt last week... and yes, it's because of the little dinky and super cheap invisible zipper foot. A big thank you to everyone who suggested, it worked well and now I can work out how to improve on it next time.

There's only a smidge difference in the back bottom darts (they're on both front & back top and bottom, really interesting shapes I reckon! I feel SO slim due to their slant) and overall the pattern is SO simply put together, so if you're careful you can't really mismatch them.

I usually omit collars or any 'extra' bits (I'm always a timesaver), but for this simple fabric, I thought it'd be cute to include especially seeing the OopBop version in plaid. The one & only flaw with the fabric is the creases AND this could be because I'm actually just a little bigger than the size 10/6 (or is it 6/10?) I cut up. I feel like in that stretch cotton sateen fabric it could be just right. My only modification was to shorten the shoulder seams by adding an extra 5 mm in the allowance up there... so it kinda becomes an inch on that seam for both the lining & bodice. Of course I forgot this with the collar, but it didn't see to muck it all up...

Of course, it's my wearable muslin/toile so I'm not too bothered with the fabric but next time I'll try something with a little more give or heaviness. Because I just love the neckline shape, the boob darts, the collar, and the underarm diagonals:

The dress is super flattering around the armholes (when do you ever say that?) and a wonderful detail that you just don't see in other bodices. Those By Hand London gals, they just can add the extra special things. I can't wait to make this again. Would you actually believe that I don't need to wear a bra (I tried it on without because the one I was wearing showed the straps) but I am wearing one in the photos.

Once again, I'm inside for these photos, it has been WAY too cold for bare shoulders last week, but I hope hope hope whatever I make next, it'll be an outside photos collection!

Have you got this pattern? What do you think?

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