Something that I really like about customised patterns such as those from Bootstrap Fashion and Lekala is the ability for me to try out silhouettes that I would normally avoid due to the significant number of alterations that I would have to make to conventional patterns. Hey, I’m lazy like that. Bootstrap Patterns recently offered dress 44139 as a free pattern, so I decided to give it a go.
Bootstrap describe this dress as a “poet sleeves knit dress” and recommended fabrics include heavy weight, ponte and double knit with spandex. I used brightly printed scuba from Spotlight, which is essentially polyester double knit with spandex. The sort of fabric we’d have been cringing about ten years ago as a relic from the 1970s, but in 2016 fibre technology has changed and although it’s still polyester, it is softer and easy to sew and has the ability to hold colours and prints in a way that most natural fibres simply can’t do. I’m a sucker for the colour.
One of the great things about taking photos for the blog is seeing just where fit issues are – and in the above photo I can tell that I have a lot of fixes to make in the back of the garment. I have realised that there is a pattern here. Although this pattern was ordered with plenty of pot belly room, and it fits well in the front of the dress, there is still excess in the back. This is where a fitting buddy would really come in handy! Once again, I need to take fabric out of the back bodice length.
I lowered the front neckline quite significantly as compared to the pattern. If you check the fashion illustration and line drawing it is a high boat neckline. I felt strangled when I tried it on, so unpicked the neck facing (a strip of self fabric cut on the cross grain) and lowered it a couple of inches before refinishing. I used a twin needle to secure the neckline and the hems. The centre front inverted pleat is quite small on me due to my small hip to waist ratio, so it’s not as much of a feature as it would be if you were more conventionally shaped. The front pockets are rather cute, and I included them because of the diagonal line that they add.
The sleeves gather into simple tubular cuffs. Because it’s a stretch knit, they don’t need a closure, but sit quite firmly around my arm. I made a belt to go around the waistline, as per the pattern, but decided not to wear it. It only served to highlight my stomach and relative lack of waist.
So, final verdict? Scuba is super easy to sew with – most construction was on the overlocker. It also doesn’t require seam finishes, and the colours are fantastic. I wore this dress to work, where it performed well and did receive a number of compliments. But it’s a style experiment, and not completely “me”. That said, I don’t want to wear exactly the same silhouette all the time, so it certainly fits nicely into my wardrobe for the moment.