Saturday, 25 March 2017

SEWN: Flying squirrel dress! V1482

I love this dress. I really do. Gabrielle's antipodean flying squirrel dress, the aquatic sugar glider is one of my most loved inspirations. Everything about it, the amazing abstract seaside creature fabric and it's sheer statementness is perfect. I have an equally loved piece of silk, with an abstract leopard image from Prada's 2009 resort collection, that's been waiting patiently for it's time to shine.

I asked Gabrielle for her thoughts as we browsed The Fabric Store in Sydney, which is where I bought it several years ago. It's a weighty silk, not as compact and drapey as the recommended crepe de chine or silk jersey, but I do like a structured drape... Might V1482 be the pattern for it?
I decided to test V1482 with some rather lovely weight tencel from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I'm rather glad the staff warned me that it would bleed a lot for it's first wash, it did, but has been very well behaved since. I'm still a tad scarred by the dark denim I used for my Genoa tote - it's still bleeding onto pale shorts (and this is after synthrapol, and in desperation, boiling it with vinegar and salt), it's one of those things... ;(

I did my research and as well as Gabrielle's, I took particular note of Lara's version. I fit a size M (14) by the envelope measurement, and didn't hesitate to sew the S (8-10). I do wish I'd paid extra attention to her GOMI source who outlined some excellent steps, that I incorporated after the fact.
Ok, since I made this straight from the envelope (without the sleeve bands), let's outline my thoughts:

#1 I adore the length. I was tempted to shorten it, but when pinned up, I lost the pegging that makes it work.

#2 Size - I chose well - Thank you my fellow seamstresses who made this before me and blogged about it. The hip is perfectly snug when getting in and out of it, I couldn't have gone any narrower on the hem. The neck opening was wide enough, that cutting the back with a CB seam was never an option.
#3 I hate the neck. There, I've said it. I do like a straight boat neck, and I do like a scooped V or U neck, but this is not quite one or the other and it simply doesn't work for me in this solid colour. I trialled every chunky necklace and silk scarf in my wardrobe, they all look better than the naked neckline.
I adapted the neckline by unpicking the facings (yes, I used ordinary facings in self fabric). I then resewed the neckline while taking an inch out of the shoulder seam at the neck, tapering to nothing on each side over 3 inches. It would have been much neater if I'd made the adjustment (as suggested on GOMI), at the time of cutting out.
#4. The denim tencel - it was absolutely gorgeous to sew. I was worried that I'd be a bit too shiny (cue an earworm from Jemaine the scary Moana crab...) but that aspect is ok - well, apart from the moire effect in untouched photographs (sorry DH). I adore the colour and the drape - not quite silk crepe de chine or rayon, it's a substantial fabric after all - but the solid colour is a bit too solid for me and sometimes I feel the dress wears me.
It's also rather warm. I find silk warm, and polyester sweaty, so that shouldn't be a surprise, but it was. On the plus side, I can see myself popping it on with bare legs through autumn and spring, and it should work well with boots for winter.

#5. I omitted the sleeve bands. If anything, I could have made the sleeves themselves more narrow/shorter, but I do like them at the end of the dolman extensions.

#6. I didn't french seam - quelle horreur!! I did french seam the pocket - and what a perfect sized pocket it is!, but there is extra bulk that isn't necessary with this heavier fabric. Being a solid and shiny fabric, every imperfection in my stitching feels accentuated and I wanted the seams to lie as flat as possible.
#7. I enjoyed using a gorgeous pale green as my top stitching thread - it matches my favourite Wonders heels and Elk bag.

Overall, DH isn't a fan, but I like it. It's big and loose and super comfy while being vaguely polished, especially with heels.
and it has a proper sized pocket - and that's always a win.
I had the very best lunch and photo shoot with DH and Helen - the graffiti was brilliant and Helen's got some amazing examples over on her Funkbunny blog!


  1. It's a cracker of a dress. My fav detail... the green top stitching.

    1. Thanks Anna ;) - I'm so glad I ran with the green too - any excuse to co-ordinate with my accessories!

  2. You look great. Love this❤️

  3. This is seriously rad, Nici! I always love the designs you sew up - they are so adventurous and fun!

    1. Thanks Amanda! I do love a big pattern piece ;) And photoshoots with DH & Helen are always fun!

  4. Love it! Isn't it funny how well we know what we like and don't like. I think the neckline looks great on you, though love the styling with the scarf. I hear you about feeling the dress wears you. I don't agree, but get that it's so voluminous it really does draw attention. In a good way! PS love those shoes xxx

  5. How did I miss this? It gorgeous. Love it. just love it.


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