Completed: The Diamond Winifred

Thanks for your comments on my last post. It is good to know that many of us have found some sort of normality during tough times by crafting. This week has been similar to last but more importantly I have the first completed item to share with you! Let me present The Diamond Winifred. I fell for Winifred as soon as Abby released her. Cute front tucks that create a box pleat effect, a flowing skirt, no fastenings, an elasticated back covered by a fabric belt, kimono sleeves - what is not to love?! And she has lived up to expectations despite a couple of self-inflicted imperfections. The style is flattering, the design is simple yet full of interesting features.  

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I looked in my stash for fabric and chose the final piece I picked up in Mood - a stretch cotton with white and blue diamonds. The stretch is perfect for pulling this dress on and off.  Cutting out took some brain power as there was a very real danger I wouldn't have enough fabric or the front pieces would have needed to be cut slightly off grain. In the end I managed to squeeze them out, on grain, by cutting in a single layer and fully rotating the pattern piece - thankfully it didn't make any difference to the direction of the pattern. As a result I made no attempt to pattern match although I have managed to keep the lines of the pattern consistent (so wasn't a fluke!) 

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I bought the pdf pattern and it was a slightly disappointing experience as the layout is wasteful. There were some pages where only a few centimetres were used and in some cases there were a 5mm discrepancy in matching the lines. I had to re-stick a number of pieces once I had roughly cut out each piece. However that frustration was forgotten as soon as I started sewing. 

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The measurements on the pattern differ to what you normally see as the waist measurement is one inch smaller than the bust measurement. I chose the size based on the bust, as the excess fabric would be pulled in by the elastic at the back and whipped up a toile. It told me that I had the right size but I needed to add extra to the front as the side seams finished a inch closer to the front than they should. I also needed to raise the back shoulder seam by the same amount. I had expected to need to raise the armscye, like I did on my Mae blouse, but this one fits perfectly. 

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Construction is as easy as you would expect for a pattern aimed at beginners. I did have some trouble setting the collar though. I couldn't get it sit smoothly where it joins the shoulder seams despite ripping it out several times. I'm just about satisfied with how it is sitting now after tacking it down in many more places than recommended in the instructions. I'm certain that this issue is my fault and that I missed a needed alteration on the collar when I moved the shoulder seam. Luckily the rippling is covered by the collar but I should go back to the pattern and work out what I did. I didn't want the pattern to be interrupted by the thread so I catch stitched the hem and sleeves by hand. I'm pleased with the result as it looks almost invisible - you would have to look very closely to find any sign of the thread in the blue diamonds.

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Unfortunately the finished fit isn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be. I have a slight ripple around my waist at the front where the darts finish. I wonder if this is because the waistline of the pattern is a little higher than my natural waistline and I didn't pick this up in the toile. I added a popper to the belt as the fabric slips too much to stay in place. The hem is straight, despite how it looks in some of the photos. I'm not going to worry about this as I quite like the slight hi-lo look that is created by the heels. 

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Despite the fitting issues I absolutely love this dress and feel great in it. The balance is very good (or would be if I got the waistline in the correct place!) and the sleeves are great. Kimono sleeves are quickly becoming my favourite as they give a lovely line as well as being easy to sew. The belt at the back is a really neat feature - I love it when designers give as much though to details at the back as well as the front. I even bought new shoes to go with it - the dress was screaming out for shiny blue heels and who was I to disobey?