15 november 2013

The Beekeeper's Dress

I just realised I'm posting three black garments in a row, if I'd include my halloween costume. Huh! Don't worry, fellow print lovers, I have a few slightly crazier projects lined up. This dress is VERY inspired by a dress I spotted ages ago:

I loved the silhouette, but mostly the golden bees on the collar. Bees communicate through the medium of dance, which makes them instantly awesome in my book. Also, honey. A google search pointed out that the dress was available here, with a Silence of the Lambs reference I don't really get, since it's called the black bee dress and those are clearly bees, not moths... Did I miss something in the book?

Anyway, I liked the dress, but didn't care for the price tag or the mystery material so I pulled a Roisin and set out to make my own. I've loved the Bleuet pattern by Deer & Doe for ages but was a bit unsure about it working on me. After realising that I could just unbutton the top buttons like I'd do with any shirt I stopped resisting and went for it. (The gorgeous versions Paunnet has been churning out might have helped as well!)

And what fabric do we use for a dress we've never made before, with some fiddly details such as a collar stand and loads of buttons? Black velvet of course! I had been warned about how tricky velvet was to sew with, but the cocky me took over and just went 'pshaw, it'll be fine!'. I don't have to tell you, it was not. I was making this dress on a deadline, for a job interview I had in a store where everyone had to wear black (the mission maxi was a bit too dramatic for the occasion...) and after cutting everything out with no problems I was sure this was going to be a breeze.

It wasn't.

All those stories about sewing with velvet? THEY'RE TRUE. LISTEN TO THE INTERNET FROM TIME TO TIME. This is what I had to do to make my fabric stay put whilst sewing:

Yeah, that's a shitload of pins and hand-basting. I'm not lying when I say I basted every single seam on this thing. Good thing I enjoy handsewing.

You know what else velvet likes to do? Shed. My place looked like there was a massive bug infestation, the boyfriend even reported bits of black fluff in his underwear. As a consequence, I decided to bind every seam with seam binding:

All this meant loads of extra work, but in the end I'm very happy with my dress (even if I didn't get the job). I'm sure you're tired of hearing me complain about making it by now, so here it is:

I look very pissed because there was sun in my eyes.
Woohoo! I didn't even make a muslin for this dress, I made an (unblogged) Sureau some time ago and it fit me really well, so I just measured the pattern pieces and crossed my fingers. It's pretty much perfect, no gaping anywhere! I also feel like Wednesday Addams when I wear it.

The dress is a really cute and girly take on a classic shirt dress. It has the collar and collar stand, but the princess seams give a great shape and the little bow at the back finishes it off perfectly.

I really wanted to add the bees from my inspiration picture, so I set out to find a way to embroider on black velvet. In the end I found a local store that sold Soluvlies, white and papery stuff you can draw on, baste it in place, embroider and then rinse off. It looked like this when I was working on them:

I loved how this worked and will definitely use this method again! Just not on velvet. or with metallic thread (seriously, it's like my brain just went: 'sewing on a deadline? Let's use the most complicated materials you have around!').

I'll end with another picture of my smug face the collar. I used this tutorial for attaching the collar and it worked brilliantly. This method seems to make a lot more sense than the one used in most patterns, I wonder why?

I'll definitely make the Bleuet again, it's a flattering dress that can be made in a variety of fabrics, working for loads of occasions. My kind of pattern!

4 opmerkingen:

  1. all the handsewing and velvet fluff was worth it, you nailed it!

  2. This is lovely! The velvet looks beautiful and I really love the bow. Brilliant job.

  3. I love your version of this dress. I have purchased the pattern and some very fine corduroy to use with it. I'm impatient!

  4. Gosh, that's gorgeous! I love that you totally went for it with the velvet and the metallic thread!