Friday, 5 June 2015

Voila: The Urban Jungle Manado Dress

Happy Friday! Hooray! I was due to publish this yesterday, but the internet in China is unpredictable so SOMETIMES you have to throw your computer out the window and talk to your family! I KNOW. I'm also testing out flickr photo embed-ing so let me know if anything is off with the photos on your browser... I'm doing half blogger upload and half flickr today. OK, tech talk over and now it's my Neon Fern dress (I was close to calling this post 'Between Two Neon Ferns' because that show doesn't get old. Or does it? I actually haven't watched for a while!).

Last month I told you about the sewing school I go to, Couture Nomad, sharing their Manado Dress pattern for free for a little competition... and here's my take on the Urban Jungle (Catherine's newest pattern collection) theme. This pattern was part of my first atelier/workshop program with the school, so I paid for it, and I made it for sewing school, with reasonable success. But I am working here today with knits instead of woven fabric, which is what it usually calls for... but let's see how it went...

veronicadarling_manadodress (2 of 8)veronicadarling_manadodress (4 of 8)
The fabric is from my very small stash, and was from the knit guy in Dongmen Lu (market details below, with Chinese characters for you to show the taxi driver). I bought this at the same time I got my knit that I ended up using for the Davie Dress, and didn’t really have any plans for it. I’m trying to buy fabric as I see it, within reason - the fabric market is huge - so that I can try different projects and colours and styles… so this neon green fern print was something I wouldn’t ordinarily buy and kinda took a punt that it’d work for something for summer.

It's VERY summery!

 It's also very swishy and cool... which I'd hoped be great in the Manado Dress style... but I had also been wanting to try more of a swing dress shape, which was easy to do with the pattern... you can cut the back on the fold, but I think the pattern says to cut two pieces... so what I did with both pattern pieces was put on the fold of the fabric, and then pivot the pattern piece out from the middle neckline point to add more fabric (the on the fold bit) to the middle of the dress... I think I did about 2 inches at the hemline.. maybe 3... and so I have MORE fabric with a bit of swing to it, but really, it's such a heavy but thin knit fabric that I don't think it suits the style. But it was a VERY quick project to sew... I made it up one night and hemmed the next day during the last week of Me-Made-May as I got really over my clothes and the samey colours ... so as Mum and Dad were still staying with us, I think it only took about 2 hours all up.

I followed my initial measurements for the other Manado Dress I made, but then lowered the neckline and added a bit of width as it was a bit tight across my bust... but I forgot this is KNIT fabric and then once it was made up (hemmed and all) I cut out about two inches all up to the side seams but just overlocking & cutting over the top of the old hem. Luckily I'd finished the armholes with the bias open down there so it was easy to change. What I also did differently to the pattern (which usually has facings that match the neckline) was ditch them for the binding way... which is neat but still doesn't sit super flat... I will have to make more to PRACTICE ... I think I folded the bias wrong sides together, overlocked quite thinly and then topstitched it flat...

The hem was also something unusual for me... I tried this method: 'An Easy Way to Hem Knits' ... because again the fabric is a weird heavy but thin and annoying to sew on the straight stitch... so this method creates your own binding, and then you topsitch and at first it was 'frilly' looking but after an iron it was nice and heavy... and still swishy... which is best for RIDING BICYCLES if you have a little weight...

veronicadarling_manadodress (8 of 8)veronicadarling_manadodress (5 of 8)

I'm not totally sure on the fit for me... I kept the hem long to see what it looks like... and it kinda looks like a tent of fabric... with the belt (I'll have to get a black thin one) it looks nicer which makes me think I could shirr some elastic around... what do you think? A keeper? It FEELS very cool and because Shanghai will get very warm soon... with lovely humidity, I think it'll work... but maybe I should lop the hem?

OK, have a lovely weekend and hope you liked seeing something so BRIGHT (for you lovely Melbournians/Australian readers in wintertime xoxoxo thinking of you often as you can never forget a Melbourne chilly day!)

Fabric from the knit guy on level 2:

Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market:
168 Dongmen Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Er Lu 东门路168号, 近中山东二路

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