Scuba Skater Dress


By the end of last year I was feeling rather burnt out, so I decided to take a break from the Minerva Blogger Network and other sewing commitments. Luckily, Vicki agreed to irregular contributions from me and it feels good to be back!



I felt like coming back with a bang, so that explains this crazy little number. This dress was inspired by two sources: wanting to use more of the black quilted jersey I made my Bad Girl Violet out of, and a scuba skater dress I bought online. Sadly, as is often the case, the RTW dress didn't fit very well so I decided to draft my own version. 

I say 'draft' in the loosest sense here, because I essentially traced around the RTW dress, added seam allowances, compared my pattern pieces to ones I know fit me well and then made any necessary adjustments. What drew me to the RTW dress was the crazy scuba print (which Minerva has a good selection of) and the panel detailing. Interestingly, the RTW dress was single-print, but I wanted a try out the bodycon look in an A-line shape that suits me better.



Sewing with scuba jersey was everything I hoped for and more. I used a ballpoint needle and increased my stitch-length slightly, but its stability meant no fiddling with tension and no battling with slipperiness. I'm particularly happy with how the panelling turned out, especially the square corners on the bodice. They were surprisingly easy to sew, because both jerseys I used are nice and flexible, at the same time as being stable. 



With hindsight I probably would add the panelling detail to the back bodice too, as the dress currently looks a little unbalanced, but I'm going to claim it's a deliberate design statement!



This is hands down the most RTW-looking piece of clothing I've ever made, and I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, the fact that it looks like something I could buy from the highstreet makes me think that I should have just bought it from the highstreet! Why bother making something if it's not going to be a bit different and unique? As demonstrated by the inspiration RTW dress though, buying from the highstreet doesn't guarantee a good fit, which is something I feel I've definitely achieved with this dress. On the other hand, it's pretty cool that we have such a wealth of fabric choices at our finger tips, giving us the opportunity to re-create any look our hearts desire!

How do you feel about RTW-looking handmade clothing?

36 comments:

  1. If you like the dress and it suits your style, then I wouldn't worry too much about it lining up with current high street fashion. Unless you're using outrageously expensive or improbable sewing materials, it seems likely that everyone's style would overlap with trends at some point due to their cyclical nature. In another season or two it may well be impossible to find a dress that looks like this, and then your dress definitely will stand out. Wearing distinctly handmade clothing can be a great jumping-off point for a discussion of the joys of home sewing (or the values of sustainability, safe working conditions, or living wages, if that's your thing), but even if this dress doesn't spark that discussion, at least you know and approve wear and how it was made, what it was made with, and how it fits. At the end of the day, defining oneself solely in opposition to what's popular doesn't seem very creative or well-considered--I think it's better to think critically about what you like and value and make/wear clothes that reflect that, and it's clear that that's what you've done here. TL;DR: The dress is great just as it is, and there's no need to feel guilty about the things you like.

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    1. Excellently put, thanks for putting so much time into your reply :o)

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  2. This looks lovely! I really like the colour blocking and the style of the dress really suits you. Yay for hand-making better versions of RTW clothing!

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    1. Better version of RTW clothing...love that, thanks :o)

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  3. This is such a happy dress!!! By scuba do you mean like wetsuit material? X

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    1. Hehe, thanks! It's not quite wetsuit material, but it's thick jersey with similar stretch recovery...ideal for bodycon dresses and so on!

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  4. Interesting design! And it really suits you :)

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  5. Love the colours and contrast fabrics in this! I'm in the middle. I've stopped buying cheaper stuff as I know I can make better, but my skills still aren't up to better quality stuff, so I'm still buying RTW for some items. I'd love to get to the point where most shops don't tempt me ;-)

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    1. Thanks! And I'm at a very similar stage to you!

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  6. Even if it does look a bit like something you could buy on the high street, it is still different and unique - I bet there aren't any out there with the same fabric combination - and even better, its a perfect fit for you.

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    1. Thanks Sam, you're totally right!

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  7. Funky dress the panel s work really well. I was reading this on my phone and thought what's happened to her waist! You blend in too well with the fireplace ha ha. I don't have a problem making stuff that looks similar to rtw. The waistline on these dresses never sit right so I don't mind making a knock off.

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    1. Oh yes, the infamous case of the disappearing waist ;o)

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  8. Oh, I really like this! I'm very partial to that awesome black quilted fabric. Regarding high-street lookalikes, I think that part of the reason we sew is for better fit, and part of the reason is creative expression/uniqueness--every project doesn't have to tick both boxes!

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  9. I absolutely LOVE what you did here! Perfect combo of great design and great fabric. Very clever!

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  10. That's such a cool dress!
    I wouldn't worry about the highstreet-look-alike effect. Bang on trend but with a great fit! That's a major reason to sew your own isn't it? If a highstreet trend happens to coincide with your own style, then go for it.

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    1. You talk a lot of sense Lauriana, thanks!

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  11. If you love it, own it! And this frock is all kinds of rad - the scuba is a perfect juxtaposition to the florals :D

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  12. Interesting color and texture combination, I like it a lot and suits you very good

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  13. Your dress looks nice. Very funky fabric combination. Like the quilted panels. Xx

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  14. I love the fact that we can buy pretty much any type of fabric and make up any look we fancy. This is great, I think the floral with the black quilting is inspired. Hope you use your pattern again as it's a winner.

    Off topic I have two vintage makes on my blog. Please could they be added to thepinterest board?
    http://seamsoddlouise.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/its-warm-enough-for-spring-dress-just.html
    http://seamsoddlouise.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/sefless-sewing-1.html
    Thank you Louise x

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    1. Thanks a million Louise! Loving your latest #vintagepledge creations and have pinned them :o)

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  15. what a gorgeous combination! i think the "unbalanced" black panel is interesting, kind of a sculptural effect!

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    1. I like your thinking lady, thank you!

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  16. I love it all... thanks for showing your insides too, I was wondering about those panels... was it difficult to do on the angles? You've matched up all the seams amazingly well (my fear with two tone fabrics)...

    My thoughts on RTW, there will never be a total exact RTW like this one... and the time you spent making it creates all the good vibes as well... so it's totally unique. But I know what you mean about the fashions etc, and I love making things that you can't buy. xoxox

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    1. No, the angles were super easy to sew with jersey :o) Much tougher with woven fabrics though! And you're right. This may look RTW, but it's still unique. Thank you xx

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  17. Marie, this is such a fun dress! A triumph!

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