Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stretch Denim Megan Dress

When Tilly, of and the Buttons fame, first released her book, Love at First Stitch, I was super pumped about the patterns, particularly the Megan dress. But I was also sad because I couldn't figure out how I was going to get my hands on it here in Thailand.  It's not even released in the U.S. yet!  Then it   occurred to be that I'd had lots of good luck finding English-language sewing and crafting books at the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya.  Sure enough, there was exactly one copy of the book at Kinokuniya in Bangkok, so I rushed to get my hands on it. Woop woop! Sorry, not sorry, other BKK sewists!!* I probably overpaid for it, but it's mine, all mine!

The fabric: Tim brought back a bunch of fabric he bought on a recent business trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. When he told me that his hotel was near Ben Thanh market,  a lightbulb went off in my head: I remembered that Jenny of Cashmerette has written a post about fabric shopping in HCMC and had spotted some cool stuff at that particular market.  I casually mentioned it to Tim and shared the blog post with him, not thinking anything would come of it.  Much to my surprise and he returned with oodles of fun fabrics: floral printed stretch denim in two weights, dip-dyed gingham, super lightweight and breezy madras plaid... Dude definitely got the husband of the week award!  And thanks to Jenny for pointing him in the right direction!  I used the lighter weight floral stretch denim for my Megan dress.

Anywho, back to the Megan dress: so cute! I really love the dart/tucks on the bodice, and I dig how they meet up the the darts on the skirt... nice lines!  Sleek, but not tight in any way.

Here's a close-up of how the the darts of the skirt and the dart tucks on the bodice meet up at the empire waist... good stuff:

I muslined it using an old sheet to make sure the bodice worked and because I was worried about the skirt being tight in the hips.  But the skirt pattern has a great curve to it, so hippy ladies rejoice!  The bodice was great for me, no changes made. The sleeves are a wee bit poofy for my taste** and I was nervous that the gathered sleeve heads would be too bulky in the denim.  

Here are the changes I made:

- Because I was using stretchy fabric, I determined that I didn't need a zipper and I omitted it, cutting the back skirt and bodice piece on the fold, minus seam allowances, of course, to eliminate the back seam (yay! two cheers for stretchy fabric)
- I added 1.5 inches to the skirt length
- I ultimately left the sleeves off and used bias tape facings instead
- I used bias tape on the neckline and skirt hem, too.
- I topstitched the waist seam to tack the seam allowance up towards the bodice because it kept rolling down

I was worried that the light-colored printed denim would give the dress an unfortunately trashy '80s or early '90s look (google "floral denim dress"... whoa, not for me!), but I think the final result is quite cute!  It helps that the denim is more grey than blue. Paired with a cardigan or blazer it's good to work for the office.*** Plus, it goes with my wedding jewels (which I made, see here).  They haven't seen much action since I got married, which I was feeling bad about, so, winning!

* PS: are there any other BKK sewists out there? I know Adrianna of Crafterhours and Hey June was living here until recently, but anybody else out there?

** PPS: Anyone have any good recommendations for a tutorial on how to remove gathers from a sleeve... i.e. how to change a sleeve pattern to have a smooth head?

*** I wore my stretch denim Megan to work on Monday and got 3 compliments within 15 minutes of arriving!  And it was super comfortable all day, so, double win.