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The Grecian Sundress Pattern—Now Multisize!

The Grecian Sundress

Yes, folks, believe it or not, I did it, and in a reasonable amount of time, too!

Whether I did it well, well, I’ll leave that up to you. The Grecian Sundress pattern is now officially multisize.

I didn’t trust myself trying to mimic outside pattern sizes, so you’ll just have to go by the sizing chart helpfully included in my new, much much much better Instructions. (Bust sizes from 80 to 104 cm, 31.5″-41″… I suspect it may run a little big though.)

Ok, I also don’t know if the instructions are MUCH better, but they’re at least better proof-read. And there’s a technical drawing! Whee!

Grecian Sundress Instructions

Grecian Sundress Pattern Multisize LETTER

Grecian Sundress Pattern Multisize A4

Anyway, have a go! And let me know about it if you do—that would be the bestest birthday present ever. Well, unless it totally blows, in which case it would be a less fun present but I should probably still know about it.

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Happy Birthday to me…

Grecian Sundress---Knee-Length Version

I live in a tree
I look like a…

Hmm, never mind that.

Grecian Sundress Front

So, ehm, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I have a new dress! The bad news is I underestimated the time it would take me to get the pattern graded—or rather, I significantly underestimated the amount of time I would spend this past weekend traipsing along the creekbed taking photographs of the enormous (insert sarcasm font) fish my family are catching. Given how rare weather like this up here, especially this late in the season, I’m not even going to apologize for it. But anyway.

So, at this exact moment the pattern is still only available in Tanit-size, which is roughly a Burda size 36 or a Big 4 size 10/12. The good news is that this style is REALLY forgiving. There’s plenty of ease, you can adjust the length of the shoulders by adjusting your gathers, and adjust for various bust sizes by altering where you start your shirring.

Either way, you can now find the pattern:

Grecian Sundress Instructions

Grecian Sundress Pattern—US Letter version

Grecian Sundress Pattern—A4 version

And I WILL get it graded, really, really soon.

Grecian Sundress Back

So, what’s there to say about this version of the dress?

The fabric is a print I’ve been eyeing at Fabricland for ages now, but it finally made itself through the marked-down section to the final clearance, which like most things was 50% off this past weekend, so for $2/m I finally bit. It’s a really nice weight for this pattern. I’m not 100% sure the crinkled look was intentional, but I liked it and it also works well with this pattern, so I didn’t go too crazy with the iron. I did do some ironing-down of the pleats, and when I wash it I may even try giving it the  full-out broomstick-skirt treatment, which I think would look fun.

I had been planning on another maxi (gee, surprise?) but it turned out that 3m of 150 cm-wide fabric (all that was left on the bolt) is not enough for the maxi length of this dress. Be warned. I could have made it about tea-length, but decided to go with my just-above-knee cutting line for demonstration purposes. And, y’know, it’s a length I like. I’ve also included a tunic-length cutting line as I feel like this would make an interesting tunic. I’ll get around to that one of these days…

Shirring: cute, not so straight

Incidentally, in the instructions I suggest that you use an elastic tied under the bust to mark the location of your top line of shirring. This way you get it in the exact right place, and it’ll look straight when it’s on you. I did NOT do it this way, just marked the line from the pattern and shirred away, and as a result my shirring does not run in a straight line around my body. Lean from my mistakes! 😉

I feel cute.

This version doesn’t have quite the stepped-out-of-a-marble-sculpture elegance of my first version, but I like it, and it feels light and summery and casual, perfect for throwing on to a barbecue (which is what I did today) or even pulling over a bathing suit at the beach. Which means I’ll get exactly three wears out of it before the weather turns, but hey.

It probably SHOULD have a slip or at least a lining in the lower section (maybe attached at the start of the shirring). Partly because the fabric’s a wee bit sheer (and I don’t think this design would work well with a heavy fabric anyway—too much bulk in the gathered shoulders) and partly because it catches on my butt like nobody’s business. You have no idea how many rear shots it took to get one that isn’t hung up on my backside. Mind you, my swayback doesn’t help.

I had meant to hunt down links to some tutorials on shirring and maybe a narrow hem, but it’s late and I want to get this post up tonight, so I’ll do that in the future (or post your own favourite link in the comments 😉 )

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The Grecian Goddess Dress

Grecian Goddess Dress

I will admit I considered various alternative titles for this dress. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) Dress. The Shirring Saves (Almost) Everything Dress. I commented in my inspiration post that I could just use a rectangle. I probably should’ve. Instead, I painstakingly drafted a short kimono sleeve, then added fullness for gathering both top and bottom. Even that would’ve been all right, though, if I’d just had this top flow straight into the skirt. But no, I had to fool with an underbust seam. Which of course (because I didn’t muslin anything) was about two inches too low in the front, and not particularly even all around.

In desperation a flash of brilliance, I decided to shir. I stitched up the front and back openings a couple of inches, pulled out my elastic-thread-wound bobbin, and started shirring a long spiral around the dress, beginning at my approximate underbust and continuing down across the bloody “waist” seam.

Front view

This created a vast improvement—instead of a mumu I now had something much closer to the elegant, drapey concoction I had envisioned. By a miracle, the neckline didn’t gape OR fall off my shoulders, and the bra straps are completely covered both at shoulders and at the back.

Back view

But all the shirring in the world couldn’t save that lumpy, uneven waist seam from being lumpy and uneven. No worries, though, I had always envisioned this dress with a sash across the offending area. I had planned to do a self-sash, but found myself desperately short of fabric. My Japonais Mum to the rescue! I cut off a pair of narrow widths ( it was too narrow to do just one), joined them in the centre, and made a simple tube sash.

Because having a seam at one edge and not the other annoys me, I hit on the idea of rolling the seam to the centre of the back-side of the sash. Quite satisfied with how that turned out. Yay me.

Sash closeup

Obviously I need to shorten the dress a fair bit… it’s dragging even in the heels I’m wearing for these photos (and the odds of me actually wearing heels like that out and about in the summer are pretty minimal).

I might try the general idea again, without an underbust seam and with a bit less gathering at the shoulder.

In Me-Made June news,

MMJ 4

This is an older ensemble, meaning everything in it was made last summer and fall. It’s not terribly glamorous and I have a few issues with the fit of the blouse that I didn’t notice when I first made it (too bad since I made like four different versions). Still, it’s warm and comfy on a rainy, chilly day. These remain my single favourite pair of me-made jeans, despite a number of material failures (the pockets have disintegrated and much of the topstitching is failing).

JJ blouse
Knit top formerly known as Lydia
Jalie 2908 Jeans

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The Perfect Sundress

The perfect sundress

This is all Oona’s fault (yes, it’s an old post, but she linked it to me recently). Or maybe Patty’s. I haven’t decided. The Sew Weekly challenge this week is “The Perfect Sundress,” too, which isn’t helping. I haven’t done any of their challenges thus far, but it seems like a nice little community (though the site layout is still a bit puzzling to me), and since this week’s challenge coincided with something I’ve been wanting to sew anyway, I figure I’ll give it a bash.

So here it is. This fabric was part of my Easter thrift store haul. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it—that strong, woven stripe is a bit limiting—but when maxi-dresses started being dangled provocatively in my face (see above links), I knew.

Maxi dress option 1

Maxi dress option 1

Now, it’s not as if I have a shortage of maxi-dress pattern options.

Maxi-dress option 2

But, I may be stuck on this sketch I doodled out the other night. The neckline is like Oona’s, the sleeves more like Patty’s. It could be as simple as a rectangle cinched by an under-bust sash, but I’m thinking a bit more shaping would probably be flattering.

Maxi-dress option 3

I guess if I’m going to make this up this week, I’d better decide, though.

Maxi-dress option 4

So many maxi dresses, so little time…

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