Sunday, May 08, 2011

FO: Lisette Portfolio dress, Simplicity 2245

I have been more excited about sewing this dress than any other project in ages.

I was desperate for the pattern to arrive in time for my long weekend, and only slightly knocked off my stride when it arrived on Day Two.

If it hadn't been for Standard Grade Maths, I would have finished it last weekend.

But I wanted to keep this as a happy project to immerse myself in, and the need to supply The Girl with advice, solace and chocolate brownies took priority. If I had tried to keep sewing through the steady anxious drip of questions about parabolas and standard deviation it would have been bad for the dress and bad for The Girl!

So: the dress!


Pattern: Lisette Portfolio, Simplicity 2245

Fabric: Poppy Dot by Erin Mcmorris from the Park Slope collection for Free Spirit. I bought mine from Nerybeth maybe two years ago now? I was saving it for a special pattern. 2.5 metres was only just enough because I wanted to line up those blinking poppies.

Buttons: Two blue /grey buttons from the stash.

I cut a size 8, based on the "finished measurements" chart. This is important to note. My instinct was to cut a 10 or even a 12 until I realised that I didn't want to make a maternity smock! The back is narrower than the front, with slight shaping at the waist. This makes it fit far better than my straight-up-and-down Japanese pattern tunic. It skims the body.

The busy-ness of this print camouflages the details which attracted me to this design. Several other sewists have used a contrast fabric for the neckband and cuffs, but I was afraid that might turn it into childrenswear: a bit too "Oilily" for a 46-year old woman!

The truly great thing about this dress is its pockets.

"Pockets?!" you cry? "What can possibly be so great about the pockets?"

Well, they are integral to the side panel seams, and rather than lying completely flat, the construction method pushes the fabric forwards by about 3mm from the main side seam.

I am not explaining this well, but essentially there is a pivot point at the top of the pocket, which when you snip it, releases the pocket so that it hangs forward of the side seam, creating a lovely curved "bag" that drapes in alignment with the central panel.

These pockets are just asking to have something peeking out of the top. If this was a toddler's dress it would be a tiny teddy bear. But it could be a packet of herb seeds or a wooden spoon or a quiver of paintbrushes!

This is a creative person's dress. I tried it on and it made me feel like a painter, a potter, a cook, a gardener. Best of all? It made me smile! Instant happiness!

How was the sewing?

Straightforward. I had read about people struggling with the pocket pivot, so I read through a couple of "walk-throughs" in advance of stitching. Try here . But I would probably have been ok with the instructions given.

The neckband appeared too large at first, but careful pinning and slow stitching was all that was required.

I wouldn't have liked to use a really soft or slippery fabric. I think it works best with a crisp cotton or maybe linen. Something that holds its shape.


It is exactly what I wanted. A comfortable, practical, everyday dress to wear at home, either on its own or over jeans.

The sort of garment you put on in the morning and don't have to think about again all day. A "uniform" dress!

I would love one of these in denim, and maybe the tunic length in linen, and blouse-length in voile.

I would like to try piping down the sides of the central panel, perhaps; or embroidering the square at the neck, like Solvi. Or lining the pockets in a contrasting fabric, so that when I looked down I could see it winking at me!

So, um, yeah - it's a keeper! ;)

P.S. Please excuse ugly green parka and wellies: it was bucketting down with rain when FL took these "action shots" out of the car window!


Lorna said...

There is only one thing to say, nay shout:


I will spend the rest of the day sulking, green with envy at your skills. :-)

Where the nodding violets grow said...

It looks great. I can see why you love it. Great fabric. I like the idea of winking pockets, well any pockets really. I like carrying around useful stuff.

feresaknit said...

I love it too along with the action shot of Hero. :D

Twelfthknit said...

bad enabler, Roo.

it's all your fault......

Scruffybadger said...

It's adorable! A perfect dress for making you feel special (even in the rain!) Fabric is super special too. I'd like to develop the idea of what a 46 year old woman might want in her pockets ...I'm going to play it safe ... tape measure? Mini notebook & pencil for jotting down inspirational thoughts ...lip balm. These are the things that I never have with me when I need them! Enjoy your dress xx

didyoumakethat said...

I love, love, LOVE it and now I am sad that I didn't buy some of the lovely prints I saw yesterday at The Fent Shop. I have this pattern and you make me want to sew this immediately. It is totally you!

Emma said...

It's fab !
Would be lovely in a baby cord for winter.

kristenmakes said...

Such a great dress, and I love that print!

Steven L. Ritter said...

Talent... Well you got that...

You look very nice.

Looks like spring has sprung you your part of the world.


Sølvi said...

Love the print, and love your dress! It really is the cutest! Very nice job, and I love the wellies! :-)

The Foggy Knitter said...

What a fabulous dress! Love it! In awe of your skills :)

christinelaennec said...

You look like a million bucks, and I can just imagine how satisfying the pockets must be! I can just imagine you making several quite distinct versions of this, and loving them each for slightly different situations / reasons. Obviously Hero approves as well.

jessica said...

Ooooooh! I love this!!! I love this because that fabric is so totally, exactly the fabric that I wanted to use in some crazy wonderful dress! (In fact I think I ordered 2.5 yards of the brown with a similar intent ... but have since utilized bits for various projects, otherwise I would happily look forward to being a carbon copy of you) I also love this because, well, yours is only the second version of this pattern which has made me say: YES, I would like to make this dress! It looks so unbelievably cheerful and yet comfortable and "liveable" ... such wonderfulness, Roo, you're lucky I don't live closer or I'd come try to snatch it away ;-). Well done!

ashley0107 said...

I love the print, what a cute dress! :)
Ashley x

Kate said...

love it! And the wellie-clad cavorting! What a neat pocket trick that is - you are inspiring me to crack out the sewing machine . . .

Chris said...

Your dress turned out beautifully! Well done. I really have enjoyed using this pattern, too!

Roobeedoo said...

Thank you all SO much! I know a lot of this dress's "success" comes down to that fab print, so it will be interesting to see what happens when I use something plainer.

Amy said...

What a fantastic dress! What could be better than clothes that make you revel in creativity? Perfect.

Marci Girl said...

Fantastic, love the fabric you used!

sam lamb said...

wow - you've sold me on this pattern. i saw your white top first and now this dress...they are both awesome. thanks for the inspiration!

jeckabee said...

Wonderful fabric choice for this dress...I have looked EVERYWHERE for this Lisette 2245 pattern and can't find it. My dear friend saw the dress on your blog and I would love to make it for her for her birthday. Any chance you'd sell me your pattern or know of anyone who has copy of the pattern, I'm desperate.
Thanks in advance!
Jess (essicajmj at yahoo dot com)