I bought my flamingo fabric from B&M fabrics in Leeds City Market during my visit to see the Tour De France in the summer of 2014 (If you ever get the chance to visit Leeds this is a must visit shop!). It was my favourite fabric in my ever growing stash, and it sat there for nearly 18months! I was so in love with this fabric that I didn’t want to waste it on a project just for the sake of using it. I had fabric-fear – does anyone else get this? I must have pulled this fabric out every time I wanted to sew something, and then put it back waiting for the perfect pattern. Well finally that pattern came along! My flamingo fabric was made up using my New Look 6070 (a workroom by project runway pattern).
The front of the pattern isn’t anything spectacular, which perhaps explains why it sat unloved in my pattern box for ages, but the line drawing with long sleeves gives a hint of just how lovely it could be. My flamingo dress is the third dress I have in this pattern, the other 2 are proper winter dresses, both with long sleeves, and one in a heavy wool. I made this pattern up twice in a month, and then I cut out my flamingo fabric once I was sure I loved the pattern. And then I stalled, for 5 months this dress in fabric I love sat cut out but not sewn up under my sewing table. Initially I was waiting to buy some bias binding for the piping that I wanted to try out on this pattern, but even that didn’t encourage me to get sewing.
Well flamingos scream holidays, so on a sunny day on my week off last month, out came the pattern and it took just a couple of hours to sew up. I’ve added some different elements to this dress, which I think really make the fabric pop. Initially I wanted to add piping to the top and the bottom of the waistband (as I had done this with success on incarnation 2 of this dress). I loved this piping so much that I then added it to the neckline, hemline and arm holes (the pattern has short or long sleeve variations, so I just didn’t cut these as this is truly a summer dress).
I made piping with some shop bought bias binding and some narrow cord. I folded and pressed my binding in half, and then inserted the cord into this new channel, sewed it in using my zip foot, and then sewed it to the edges, finally I top stitched it to ensure that it would stay put, and wouldn’t keep twisting inside out (all using my zip foot).
The fab design detail with this pattern is the pleats that sit on the bodice to give it some shape, and then asymmetrically on the skirt panel. I think in such a busy fabric these aren’t that obvious, but I don’t think that matters, and it gives it some interesting shaping details. You might just be able to make it out on the skirt piece below if you look carefeully.
I made some more short cuts with the pattern. The waistband should be interfaced and then the 2 seams here should be hidden by another waistband piece sewn to the inside. I followed this step on my first dress with this pattern, but its a faff, I can never get all those seams hidden properly and I don’t think it adds anything to the structure of the dress. I also didn’t want to spend the time pattern matching flamingos, life is too short for such things. I am however super proud of my invisible zip insertion, I seem to have got the knack of this now.
I made this dress up in a size 16, and I didn’t make any alterations. I guess the one thing I would change is the neckline, it just seems that there is a little too much fabric here. This has happened with my other dresses in this pattern, and with other patterns, but I cant quite work out what I need to change to get a better fitting – any ideas? Also I wonder if this dress is a bit long for a summer dress, but when it gets a little hotter, it wont take much to chop a couple of inches off the bottom to make it a true summer dress.
Lets all hope for a great summer as this dress is destined to be worn time and time again!