Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Nicola Dress

Here’s my first make of the Fall Essentials Sew-Along, my Nicola dress. 

Like many of the patterns I sew, I have wanted the Nicola dress by Victory Patterns in my collection for quite a while. A woven wrap dress with tulip sleeves and skirt - yes, please! There isn’t anything that screams autumn as much a wrap dress so it was the perfect pattern to get me going. 

Nicola dress

I won’t go into the issues I had with fitting the bodice as I’ve already covered them. Despite my toiles, I was still a little anxious about whether this dress would fit properly and I think these small fears are justified. It fits like a glove around my waist although it doesn’t have as much room as I am used to. It is definitely a one course only dress! The length of the skirt is straight out of the packet and feels good. I’m sure I’ll be grateful for it going beyond my knees when it starts to get colder during the days. The bodice still isn’t quite right though. I’m realistic enough to know that you won’t get rid of all pulls in a wrap bodice otherwise you won’t be able to move properly. However, the neckline feels a little too big and gaps at times. The twill tape in the neckline has stabilised it and prevented some gaps but not enough to stop you seeing more than I would like if I move in a certain way!  As I want the option of not wearing a cami underneath, I’ll be adding a little snap where the bodice wraps over to prevent any loss of modesty. 

Nicola dress

The shell fabric is a beautiful printed cotton from Ghana. Adam’s friend lives in Liberia but has a friend who sources good quality fabrics for her tailoring businesses and he very kindly got me some fabric. Jonathan - I owe you a few drinks the next time you are in the UK! This cotton is top quality - it is well made, is light-medium weight, supple and washes beautifully. It glided through the machine and wasn’t difficult to press. It has a reoccurring print which I tried to make the most of. In the end, I cut the dress on the cross grain in order to make the most of the green print that only ran down one of the selvedges (I was also short on length). I’m happy that the print is lined up across the corresponding pieces although it does repeat a little too early on the skirt. The sleeves have an extra seam in them as I had to cut the piece in half in order to get them at all. The print doesn’t match at all across them. Ah well, it certainly won’t stop me wearing it! 

Nicola dress

The dress is fully lined with lilac Bremsilk which I found in Masons. It is my first time using Bremsilk and I quite like it. It is rather slippery to cut and pin in place but the finish makes the extra effort worth it. I was surprised at how cool the dress was on a warm day. It was in the low 20s when these photos were taken and I didn’t feel too warm or get that clingy feeling you can from some linings in warm weather. 

Nicola dress

Construction is pretty simple and the instructions are clear. I made a few changes from the directions. I skipped the facings due to lack of fabric. Instead you can see a small amount of the twill tape on the inside neckline. I could only get wide tape and decided to make a little feature of it by placing it on top of the lining and under stitching the seam to it. It holds the lining down nicely. I also changed the buttons. The original design has one button in view and another hidden under the dress. I opted for two buttons to be on show and added button holes just about the waist line where the skirt pleats are. The buttons are the left over ones from my Anise jacket. 

Nicola dress

I’m really pleased with how neat the dress is on the inside. It is quite possibly my best to date. There isn’t a seam in sight with all raw edges overlocked before being encased by the lining. The arm holes are hand stitched as this is where I turned the dress through after stitching in the lining. 

Nicola dress

There is no doubt that this dress will get a lot of wear. I’ve already worn it twice in a week and half. I feel great when wearing it and I think a lot of that is due to the shape as it is very feminine. I love the nipped in at the waist look and how the dress skims over the hips. I did wonder if I would feel a little conscious about the print but I haven’t at all. It is nice to have something so different in my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to wearing this most of the year round as I suspect it will look good with tights and heels and possibly boots in the winter. This definitely won’t be my last Nicola - I already have another version stitched up! 

17 comments:

  1. Looks great Claire, the fitting paid off, and the pattern of the fabric really hides any wrinkles that are still there. I love that fabric, and I'm definitely going to have to check out Bremsilk in Masons next time I go there.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! The fabric is wonderful.

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  2. I love it! No wonder you feel great when wearing it because it looks amazing on you! So many tips as usual, thanks Claire. Enjoy your lovely new dress.

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! I shall certainly get a lot of wear out of it.

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  3. This turned out beautifully! I love the drapey sleeves, and the dark green at the hem. The fit looks great, definately worth all the toiles.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. It's definitely a lesson on why taking your time to get the fit right is worth the time.

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  4. I have some covetousness in my heart right now. Nicely done.

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  5. It looks lovely! I can see why it is already on high rotation in your wardrobe.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty. I'm hoping it autumn proof!

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  6. Ooh Claire, this looks fantastic on you! I love that fabric, and your fitting efforts definitely paid off! Excellent pattern-matching too.

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    1. Thanks, Elena. At least the pattern is even, if not fully on target!

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  7. Mmmm... I think blogger has eaten up my comment. I just said that the dress is gorgeous (I love the fabric!) and that the time you spent on getting a good fit definitely paid off.

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    1. Bad blogger! Thanks, I'm glad you like it.

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  8. This is very pretty and you did a good job working with the large print on the fabric, pattern placement could have been tricky with that.

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    1. Thanks, Kerry. It took a little head scratching and I'm pleased how it turned out.

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  9. Oooh great fabric! Well done on being victorious! !

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