Sunday, 19 October 2014

The hard to miss penguin dress.

Hi all! Today's dress is pretty special because a) I have a massive thing for penguins and b) because I bought this fabric when having my awesome fabric shopping day with Susan in Sydney so it has great memories attached to it.
The reason I've only used the fabric now is because the colour scheme is decidedly halloweeny and also because I wanted this dress to be a fit 'n' flare dress with a twist and I'd only just decided what I wanted the twist to be. The twist is obviously the 2 black organza strips near the hem of the skirt. This was my extremely technical drawing of how I wanted my dress to look.
I used my bodice block and then 2 gathered rectangles the width of the fabric. I then cut 4 organza strips for each rectangle with matching penguin strips. I tried to rip the penguin fabric into strips to get even rectangles but it was a disaster so maybe the fabric was off grain? In the end I just cut them instead. I did end up beheading all the penguins though... Whoops.
The rectangles were then gathered to the bodice which resulted in a really nice full skirt. I may have accidentally matched the skirt side seam to the front dart but shhh no one will notice. Also, one of my legs is missing in this photo... Weird.
The back was a bit of a total disaster. The zip was in, I tried it on but it was too tight and I couldn't get the zip done up to the top. This made me a not very happy bunny considering I wanted to wear it the next day and it was 11pm. At that point I just went to bed. This morning I unpicked the zip and the centre back seam and sewed it with a 1cm SA rather than a 1.5 SA which was fine thank goodness. The reason it ended up so low was that it originally turned back to show the black lining like in this dress so I snipped the SA for it to sit better but then it was too tight and I reduced the SA which meant there was a snip either side of the CB seam which would be seen, so I redrew the back neckline to below those snips and it was fine.
Now for some insides. I lined the bodice with some leftover black cotton so all the insides are clean.
And here's a close up of the organza insets. The bottom penguin rectangle was cut on the fold so I had no hemming to do.
Overall I'm really happy with it as a dress that now fits pretty well. And the penguins make me happy. I'm actually quite liking the longer length than usual.
That's all 'til next Sunday. Thanks for reading and to Mum for taking pictures!
Lauren xx


  1. Oh it's wonderful, I love the penguins and the twist of adding the black into it seems to have made the orange even more vibrant.

    Since your trip I've found out that the fabric is from Australian designer Alice McCall but I can't seem to locate any photos of what was created from it?

    Hopefully next year I will be in the UK again and we can meet up?

    1. Thank you!! Yaay I can't wait to meet up again!

  2. I love this dress! Such fun fabric and a great style! Great job getting that zipper to work on the second try! And the hem length is perfect. =)

    I don't think it is too halloween-y. And if you throw a hot pink or bright green or blue cardigan over it, no one will think twice about the orange & black and you can wear it for months. Check out this blog post about orange & black in the 1920s.

    1. Thank you! I feel so much more elegant in the longer length. I've been looking for cropped cardigans everywhere with no luck. Thank you for the link to the blog post, there were some lovely images!

  3. I am very impressed by your improving skills. This is a beautiful dress and a great credit to your dedication.

    1. Thank you! I'd spent so long on it there was no way it wasn't getting finished so I could wear it ASAP!

  4. What a wonderful dress (and the penguin fabric is too cute)!