Monday, 28 September 2015

Voila: Summery Kim Dress

Hi! Welcome to my fabulously printed Kim Dress blog post! It’s full of brightness and clever camera angles thanks to my clever clogs Husband and his new camera attachment on his iPhone! I’ll tell you about that at the end, but sewing this dress was fun! Pity I didn’t get the fit right!


I bought lots of light fabric this summer as I visited the markets here in Shanghai. It’s been very hot and I wanted to be prepared but I actually couldn’t sew much. I got too hot even inside with the AC on. Of course I did sew up a few things, but it’s only these last few weeks that I’ve felt like sewing again. Luckily, in Shanghai it’s mid 20s for a while and it doesn’t seem to get cold at nighttime till November (I remember really balmy November nights) so I might be ok with making these lighter dresses … as I have a purple one on the go this week.

But ALSO, we’ll be visiting Australia for a bit, so I’m hoping it’s not freezing cold there when we’ll be there!

So, this is the Kim Dress of the By Hand London pattern collection… I have no idea when it came out, maybe this time last year? Anyways, it officially is a party dress… and perhaps (now I’m 37 years old) a younger person’s party dress as I just don’t feel comfortable wearing it.


Size wise I went for 8/12 but shortened the shoulders by 1cm and shortened the bodice by 1cm.. the other BHL patterns are larger for me in both places and I’d seen Heather say she’d shortened the shoulder seams (I mean shoulder to bust measurement when I say that… is that right?)… and sometimes I feel her changes are similar to mine there.

So I traced it out, and decided to do the gathered skirt (AKA large rectangle with gathers how you like it) to save some tracing time and so felt the pieces looked ok after the small shortening. For patterns like this, I definitely want to avoid large flowers on the boobs, so I tried a few options for the front pieces (it’s the princess seamed) and was happy with how it looked together. I absolutely love the fabric and the painted look of the flowers in the pattern, but as it was around 6 bucks Australian per metre I also didn’t mind using it as a wearable muslin. Might be someone else's dress though... I have to have a think if I'll wear it again.


The lining is completely unknown grey cotton, probably a lawn but as I’m in the markets going on feel - who knows… it feels light but I don’t think I cut the bodice pieces on the grain (or maybe something else explains the pulling of the back pieces). Gah. I’ve been going too quickly at sewing lately… rushing to get it done rather than paying full attention.

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The invisible zipper is good, I can do better... I just read about Jenny sewing the zipper and the facing together at once, which sounds do-able but I'm not sure my invisible zipper would be so invisible after that... will have to try that one time! So this little dress was lovely and quick to make up, but I can see that I DO need a small FBA for it and should probably just do the Size 6/10 (like I always do for BHL previously) with that adjustment. The bodice sits too high now because I took off the length and I actually think it feels too WIDE. The straps slip off even though they're shorter and while the fabric is lovely and light on, it's just not right for a fitted bodice like this one.


But I feel like a little girl or extremely matronly (what a contrast) in this style. I also look a bit pregnant - which I'm not - in some shots because the dress hangs from a higher than the waist waistline. I’m trying to find a fit and flare dress that I can make oodles and oodles of versions, and this isn’t it. I’m also wanting to be really quick and not have to fiddle with a FBA, so perhaps I’m dreaming there. But the other thing is that depending on the time of the month, my body measurements are fluctuating! What a woman hey?! Plus I ate a bunch of chocolate and drank all the wine when my Australian friends came to visit! Tim Tams, Mint Slices! All the Australian treats!

My sewing classes with Couture Nomad come back next month so I could ask for help in blocking one up for my size… as I’ll just be adding different skirts, I just need a bodice front & back. Unless you know of a great pattern for larger busts & curvy petites bodice pattern for me!?!

Did you have luck with the Kim Dress? Should I try it again or just keep searching!?


Now, about the photos! Husbie met a guy here in Shanghai who is developing a new attachment for your iPhone… it helps you take photos just like a Digital SLR and while these photos have amazing contrast with the shadows and the dappled light of the trees on this gorgeous Shanghai Former French Concession Street… the ordinary iPhone camera wouldn’t be getting the images as sharp. (He is actually telling me now that the 'latitude in the exposure allows you to have a really large contrast ratio without you losing information' and the lens is really sharp compared to the iphone camera... it's 20 megapixels so that helps too. Here ends the photography chat! Latitude, haha!

He’s testing it out for another week, so we might get some more photos to show you, but we’re pretty impressed with it so far! I’ll have to sew like the wind to get a few more street photos with it!

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