Ahem, so I got slightly distracted from my wedding dress again. I blame Stephanie over at Starcross Sewing – she has been testing an Indie pattern maker every month for a year. It has been a fascinating really informative project. For February she was reviewing Cake patterns and making a Tiramisu dress, and as I had bought that pattern in Jan and the fabric to make it I felt it would be rude not to play along.
When I went looking for the fabric I was looking for a striped jersey, like the ‘classic’ Tiramisu dress. What I ended up buying was this fabulous blue stretch cotton with dragons which was on sale on Minerva! There was a slight issue, in that I got the last 3 metres of this fabric, and the last half metre had sliver paint over it, but this meant I got that metre free – bargain!
So cake patterns have a ‘revolutionary’ sizing system, which uses a different size for the bodice and skirt, and you draw a line between the two sizes to create the waistband pieces. The pattern also comes with different cup sizes for the bodice. It seemed like a great idea, but when I measured myself I found my high bust was 39 ½ inches – slap bang in the middle of two sizes 35-39 inches, and 40-45 inches. Which size to use??? If I went with the smaller size I would need to do a FBA, whereas if I went with the larger size according to the measurements, I would be ok with a D cup bodice piece. My instinct said to got smaller, but the lazy bit of me urged me to trust the sizing system and go larger. I had a look on the Cake website and found this advice, which seemed to suggest going with the larger size would be fine. I also added my usual extra inch to the back length to the waistband.
Cutting out the fabric caused another issue. It is worth mentioning this was the week that the great British Sewing Bee did patterns, so pattern matching was on my mind. When I looked at the pattern I realised that the pattern is not symmetrical – all the dragons face one way, so it was not possible to join them up along the seams. Therefore I focused on putting the large dragons in sensible places – I didn’t want half a tail to end up in a strange place, or a large dragon centred on my bust. Needing to work around the silver paint didn’t make this easier. As it turns out the large dragons were spread wide enough apart that I could arrange it so there was only one on all the bodice and waistband pieces.
Once I started assembling I had to be careful which pieces I sewed together. Arranged one way (I think the way suggested by the pattern) the skirt pieces had the dragons at two different alignments, but slightly wonky, not nicely facing each other. The other way all the dragons are on the same alignment on the back and front of the dress (and you don’t really look at the side seam).
Sewing up the dress was quick and easy. The only tricky bit was when I sewed the neck binding on the wrong side – unpicking the stretch stitching took, literally, hours. When I basted the bodice together though the fit didn’t seem quite right. I tried playing around, but eventually I had to concede that there were issues with the fit of the bodice that couldn’t be easily fixed. Essentially, I should have gone with my instincts – the neckline was too long/loose while the bust was a tad too small – not something I could do much about at this stage (I was deluded when I thought a D cup would be enough). It fitted, but not perfectly. I knew I should have done a muslin, *sigh* – laziness always comes back to haunt me. The side seams were also loose, but that was easy enough to fix taking in a cm or so on both sides.
Sewing on the skirt did help pull the bodice down, but I also noticed that I should have split length I added to the waistband between the waistband and the bodice as the bodice did not quite fit below my bust, but sits slightly too high.
However, overall I am pretty happy with this. I love love love the dragons and the colour which brings out the blue in my eyes. I am very very pleased with the alignment of my dragons. The dress is also super comfortable and flattering. If it wasn’t for the fit issues I would be whipping up a couple more versions in a plain fabric (like Stephanie’s great version) and a stripe, however, knowing there are fit issues to deal with I am going to have to put that off until after the wedding.