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  • Writer's pictureCiéranne Kennedy Bell

Liz Dress

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

You can take the Costume Designer out of the theatre but your can't stop her creating.

In an attempt to stave off boredom and remain creative and not forget how to sew I am going to create a garment a week, giving you a sneak peek into the life of a costume maker.

The Pattern

This week is Gretchen Hirsch's "Liz Dress" under her own indie brand, Charm Patterns. Although at first it seems on the expensive side at $21 for the PDF, most home-stitchers will quickly realise that the humongous range of not only standard measurement sizes but cup sizes, it is well worth the money and hassle of having it printed. (A print version is available too but as I am in the UK the customs and shipping fee was pushing it)

Charm Patterns Liz Dress

The Construction

As I was preparing to leave the studio I grabbed a bunch of green velvet that I had ordered the previous week as a "just in case I find a use for this" and the Liz Dress pattern that was on the edge my desk in preparation. Unfortunately I didn't realise that this was actually a stretch velvet which this pattern is not intended for but, rebel that I am, I persisted.

I also didn't make a toile. Now fitting on Charm Patterns, for me, can be a bit hit and miss - The Lamour fitted me like a glove with no alterations, The Night and Day I still can't get to fit me properly but I decided this was more like The Lamour so should be fine.

I won't bore you with every single element of my construction, just things I did differently to the instructions.

- I used iron on woven interfacing instead of an interlining. This helped stabilise the stretch in the bodice where it would be less than helpful.

- I didn't use a "stay" piece on the bust pleats, I hand sewed them instead so it was unnecessary and I didn't want the bulk.

- I under-stitched by hand. Much prettier, no chance of stretching the velvet out and I could get all the way round.

- I also inserted a hand picked zip instead of by machine. Again, I didn't want it to stretch out and i didn't want a really obvious line of stitching.

- The skirt seams and the hem are bound as I didn't want to use an overlocker. I actually made the skirt 4 inches longer than the pattern as the idea was to add two horizontal pleats near the hem of the skirt to echo the pleats on the bust however, when I came to sew them, I decided that the fabric was just too springy. I do really like this idea though and will try to it on maybe a cotton version. The fact this came out 4" longer makes it ballerina length which, I think, makes it more suitable for evening.

A lot of this dress is actually hand sewn for two reasons - To control the stretch and to make this dress more couture and special. When we are allowed out I want some amazing pieces to show off.

The Outcome

Firstly, my mistake, it came out too large. There wasn't much I could do in this instance but I took it in at the zipper by about 3 inches and it will do. I don't like the lapped zipper at all. It makes the deep back v look off center and it bugs me. When the shops reopen I will replace it with an invisible zipper and I will be happier with it (I'll also add bright pink fringe to the belt, not pictured, so it echoes the inside). The other change I'd make is adding the optional steel boning to the front. I don't like the way it wrinkles under the bust.

Other than those minor things I am happy with the way it's come out. I love the swishy skirt and the beautiful colour. IT HAS POCKETS for secret things! What do you guys think?


A vintage Simplicity pattern wiggle dress....

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