Monday, 13 July 2015

Voila: Cheeky Stewardess Sophia - By Hand London

Totally excited! I’ve been thinking of this dress for a while, having bought the fabric a few months back at a fabric market trip! And THEN we’ve been held up with the weather here in Shanghai because this is NOT a dress that could just be photographed indoors. It rained for about 2 weeks nonstop and then we had a typhoon! ARGH.

So! I’ve named the dress Cheeky Stewardess Sophia because I have a friend called Cheeky who I was thinking of a lot during the making of this dress, I can’t remember why but I like to think about people, particularly awesome women in my life, while I sew… maybe Cheeky came to mind as I miss her, but also because when I lived in Sydney I would take photos of planes a lot and I love planes and being inner west to have the low flying planes overhead. And she and other friends would quite like to talk about my fascination with planes and all the plane photos I collected up on Facebook. Yes it was amazing! So, red retro looking fabric AND planes are a total win for me! But ALSO since I’ve been back on Instagram this year as Veronica Darling, I started following a bunch of different people (sewing and non) from all around the world and found Stewardess Tiffany! So when I started making this, I just knew she’d be into it just as much as I am! Plus she seems cheeky too!

Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling

Anyways, the dress! It’s a Sophia pattern of the By Hand London 2015 collection and I made my test bodice with the pencil skirt earlier in the year but I’m not fond of the fabric and how tight it feels on. I don’t really like the pencil skirt either, I might chop it. I made a size 6/10 again but as the fabric has only a little more give than my original Sophia I decide to test out 1cm seams instead of the 5/8 suggestioned. I don’t know if that’s a big no no in the sewing world, but I found the skirt width was only out (when attaching to the bodice) by 1cm, so I actually thought that wasn’t too bad.

The only other change was that I kept the 5/8 at the waistband seam to shorten it, and now I wish I’d shortened a bit more… my torso above the waist is a little short… a bit annoying considering my larger bust… because some patterns balance out ok. I also used some basic white cotton stuff for the lining and it's ok, a little heavy in texture but what can you do? Run across town and hunt around for an alternative? Not in Shanghai!

My tracing paper hadn’t arrived when I cut the fabric, so I kind of fuddled around the corners of this bodice, snipping here and there. Not the best. But I paid SO much attention to that little love aeroplane on my right shoulder in laying the pattern pieces that I totally didn’t anticipate the left shoulder having a plane too. I did consider recutting it, but thought it’s so large and fun that it doesn’t really matter having two planes on my bewbs. But I tried to get a plane on each of the godet pieces too! GOTTA LOVE PLANES! (also a name of one of my many Facebook photo albums!)

Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling

The godets take up SO much fabric, but luckily I had bought 5 metres knowing I’d be making something for the whole family… matchy-matchy style is VERY Chinese! And I followed the By Hand London’s notes on sewing them, as there have not been than many Sophia Dresses made up yet that talk about them. I have never sewn a godet before, and have no idea how to pronounce it… so of course in a recent radio chat with my friends at ABC Melbourne, I mentioned them… and stumbled… is the ’t’ silent? Will I be waiting for Godet (BAD pun) and it’s proper pronunciation!?

After I put them in, I realised I was just so determined to get them in that I’d forgotten then how to finish the seams… many suggestions on instagram were to pink them, and I did bring a pair of shears with me to Shanghai, but Oona suggested serging SLOWLY and I actually DID it! I slowly served and it freaking worked! Everyone (including Ruggie) virtually fist bumped and it will never be seen but it looks quite neat for a first go. My invisible zipper is close to invisible too!

Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling

So! I finished it all, and my Housekeeper bossed me again and did the hand stitching you can see … but it hung on the coat hanger waiting for the weather to clear! Muggy and rainy, for at least 2 weeks, and then a typhoon, and then yesterday! SUNSHINE and we left the house, to pick up some of Husbie’s framed photos (printing AND framing is super cheap here in Shanghai compared to Australia)... and down a backstreet found a not so quiet street for photos!

Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling

We took these photos just by this random scooter, #BecauseVintage, right? And it’s a swishy fun dress all round!

To wear it to dinner however, I should not have had waffles after all that Mexican food and drinks… my oh my it was a relief to peel the dress off at home! I saw Rachel mention (or was it you Marie?) that you have to wear a strapless bra with the Sophia dress (which I didn’t consider as I will not wear one with my sized bewbs) as those underarms are a little inward than usual… but one of my bras is a little narrower there, so it pops out a bit, but not that much for me to worry. I could wear without, as the bodice is very fitted, but again, I just couldn’t. Although, I’m SUPER happy the skirt length also passed the riding the bike test… no chain grease! YAY.

But, some things for next time (I now write down little notes and summaries because I have actually started liking sewing the same patterns - SHOCK - so want proper notes for next time):

I think it does need shorter shoulder seams too, and at least 2cm shorter at the waist in the bodice. I had to cut 20cm off the hem, so I wonder how you’d fold godet pattern pieces to make them shorter? Or would I just cut a bit off the pattern instead? AND lastly, I think *maybe* I should cut a size 8/12 next time but make sure the shoulders and torso are shortened properly!

Sophia Dress By Hand London Veronica Darling

Passes the swishy test (is that something?) too! WOO! I'll be back with this dress again soon to show you my little boy in his short matchy-matchy shorts too!

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