Breaking away from the polka dot

Mortmain envelopeRight, I’m making a concerted effort to clear my blogging backlog. This time it’s Gather’s Mortmain pattern; a dress that has seen much wear in the last six weeks or so. It’s proved itself as a versatile dress suitable for all occasions. So far I’ve worn mine to a christening, my birthday while in Italy, York races for a hen do and a wedding. That means it’s withstood extreme incense swinging, extreme pizza eating, extreme losses and extreme moves on the dance floor. That’s a lot of hammer considering I only completed it in early September.

Anyway, as my goddaughter’s christening edged closer I started to think about making an appropriate dress for a godmother. It had to be church-appropriate, but I wanted something with a little something extra too. The Mortmain seemed like the perfect option, with its pleats and exposed zip combo giving it a bit of a business in front, party in the back feel. It was also the perfect chance for me to crack out my favourite fabric in a while – Cotton and Steel’s XOXO print in navy. I love me a polka dot, but I’ve made a lot of stuff in it recently. It’s time to move on. To a print that replaces the polka dots with crosses… Baby steps…

Oh, FFS.

Oh, FFS.

Jo is an idiot: part 8548416201899
Anyway, because I wanted this dress to look good I spent a decent chunk of time trying to get the fit right. Following the super-clear instructions, I made a couple of toiles of the bodice to check fit and each time I was not happy. I was convinced I needed a full bust adjustment, so I duly looked up the technique, altered the pattern and made another toile. Still not right, so I messed around with the darts a bit and made another toile. Still not right. And you know what the issue was? I was checking fit without putting the zip in. I swear, if I had even half a brain I would actually be dangerous. OF COURSE YOU CAN’T CHECK FIT WITHOUT A CLOSURE. Once I’d got over that hurdle I realised that the fit on the first toile was almost there – I just needed to lengthen the bodice by an inch and move the darts down a little. At least I’ve learnt something new from this.

Misguided, but look! I can do an FBA!

Misguided, but look! I can do an FBA!

After that it was smooth sailing. I really did take my time with this one – everything was pressed to within an inch of its life and all the seams and raw edges are encased with the mock overlock stitch. The only way this dress could be any neater on the insides would be if I’d lined the bodice – something which I’ll do if/when I make this one again. It would certainly reduce the amount of facings, which are a faff to cut out. I was even patient when I added a couple of “bonus” tucks to the inverted box pleats, and I now understand that you only need to press the top of the pleat and it’ll hang nicely from there. So many learning points!

Check out how neat my innards are!

Check out how neat my innards are!

Even sticking the exposed zip in was a cinch, with a neat little technique that encases the raw edges under zip tape. My finish at the bottom of the zip could use a little work, but in general it looks pretty good.

Mortmain back

Ignore the wrinkles – I’m trying to make sure that Chris was taking a nice photo.

I do like this dress a lot, and it’s certainly served me well in the last few weeks. The fit across the bust is now fine, but I think if I was making it again, I’d take about an inch out of the waistband – it is a little bit roomy, but when I wore it to my birthday dinner (gigantic and delicious four cheese pizza and cake) I found that this was definitely a good thing. Mmmmm four cheese pizza… Anyway, the Mortmain will also do very nicely as a work dress – there may be an A/W 2014/15 version with sleeves coming up at some point.

Mortmain front

Gratuitous shot of where we were staying for the second week of the holiday. Castiglioncello, Etruscan Riviera. Swanky.

Gratuitous shot of where we were staying for the second week of the holiday. Castiglioncello, Etruscan Riviera. Swanky.








2 thoughts on “Breaking away from the polka dot

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