Saturday, 6 June 2015

Crimplene Capers

Ever have those times when you set out to do one thing, and end up discovering something else on the way? I did exactly this about a year ago when I set out for Ikea one day. Living in London, I don't bother with a car which on the whole is fine, except for when you want to go to Ikea. On this day it just so happened that there was some insane road construction happening en route, which meant the bus stops were all moved around. I walked around for what seemed like ages and was just about to turn around and go home when I decided to look for this infernal bus stop on a side street. That's when I came across Cannon Street Jersey Fabrics. I'd heard about the mythical 'jersey warehouse of North London' from several other sewists - could this be it? 

Ikea was long gone from my mind by now. I wandered in; it was a large warehouse with bolts of fabric piled upright in no particular order. A lot of it was jersey, but there were some wovens too. What really stood out were the rolls of crimplene type fabrics sprinkled throughout. I was really taken with their 70's goodness, but as is always the way when you come across surprise fabric, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to make or how much to buy. So I randomly went for some charcoal coloured wool weight sprinkled with silver stars, for about £2 per metre.

Close up of the Crimplene - the silver section on the left is the back
This sat around in the stash for a while until I felt inspired to do something with it. Then I got I flash of sewing inspiration and decided to make this:

Butterick 6950
Believe it or not, this is one of my few TNT patterns - no practical trousers or sensible skirts for me! I've made versions of it before here and here. This time I made the shorter version - here it is:

The flared skirt and puffy sleeves actually take up more fabric than you'd think, so it was a bit of a squeeze getting the pattern to fit into 2 meters. Corners had to be cut. For example, the hem had to be faced with lining so I could get as much length as possible out of it:

Hem facing
And I had to do some sneaky piecing together at the corners of the side seam:

I also had to forgo the tie at the back, and reduce the sleeve band to about half it's size. But other than that it all went together pretty well. I've never sewn with this sort of fabric before and wasn't sure about seam finishes or whether to use stretch or plain stitches. It's slightly bulky when there are several layers, so my beloved French seams were out of the question. But my new(ish) overlocker came in handy for seam finishes:

I've worn this dress loads since I made it; it just somehow works for lots of different occasions. It's been to a gig, a nightclub, a hen do, and several dinners.

And that's it- see you soon!