LK Bennett Copy
First times for everything are always a bit of a challenge and I was thrilled with how this turned out, but the stretchy jersey fabric needs a bit of careful handling and the pattern was self-drafted so a few hurdles to overcome!
Facts and Stats!
Now this dress, was a bit of a personal triumph I have to admit. It was a first on lots of levels. I drafted the pattern myself, it was a copy of a dress I knew and loved so stood very little chance of living up to the original, the jersey fabric was really the first time I'd worked with anything with that much stretch...all sorts of things could have gone wrong. I was fairly prepared for this to be a disaster.
And I love it!
The fit is pretty good, it's very similar in style to the original, the fabric match is pretty close and the colour is pretty great too.
I went on one of Tilly's workshops back in November 2014 and I'm now only just getting round to writing about it (sorry!). The class was actually run by Zoe of Sew Zo (marvellous blogger and all round great lady) who was brilliant and patient and her phrase 'lovely business' made its way into my vocabulary for a little while afterwards due to the frequency of it's appearance in the class!
I took a lot of things with me, but I knew that what I really wanted to know how to make was an LK Bennett dress that I'd had for years and was an absolute wardrobe staple. When I was working in a job not in the charity sector I could afford to buy the odd thing from LK Bennett...in the sale...when pushed...but those days are very much over so a replacement was out of the question. If I didn't learn to copy it that dress would be no more, and that would be sad, so off I toddled with my bag full of things and went to learn how to make a pattern from an existing garment.
Now, much as I know how to follow a basic pattern and I've sewed quite a lot, I've never done any pattern courses or pattern drafting. I have no training whatsoever in fact when it comes to sewing, I'm self (and YouTube) taught. So this course was a bit of a revelation...I shall attempt to escribe what it felt like.
In the Matrix (I know - stick with me), Neo has a moment where he can suddenly see all the code that the world is made up from.
Similarly, in the Lego Movie (I know - stick with me) a similar thing happens to Emit when he re-emerges from the world of the peoples and suddenly can see all the bits of lego that make up the world.
So, as a result of this course I can now see how clothes fit together - and how flat patterns convert into 3D clothing, and vise versa.
OK...it's not quite the same...but it was exciting for me.
So I spent the class learning hte basic techniques and then making my paper pattern from my dress.
The dress itself is quite simple from a pattern perspective. Because it's made of jersey there are not darts or pleats, no zips or buttons, so that makes things much simpler. However, because it's a slightly better quality of garment they've thought about some things that required a bit of extra thinking for me too. For example, the bodic is actually a double layer of jersey - which is brilliant because it covers up bra straps and seams of underwear but meant I had to get my head around how I'd do that myself.
In fact it's exactly the same process as making a lining for a bodice (I've since realised) but at the time I made this dress I hadn't actually made a lined bodice before, so I had to work it out for myself.
The skirt is gathered slightly in the middle at hte front and back, and of course there are full length sleeves and a belt, but it's quite straightforward really.
Of course, if you draft a pattern or copy something you already own, you don't get a handy instruction leaflet with the pattern so you need to know enough about how to construct a garment to know which order to do things in. I found that was OK and didn't make any horrible errors.
The fabric is lovely, and I actually took the original dress with me to the craft palace in Tooting (my local fabric shop, which is amazing) and that really helped to make sure the finished product was similar to the original. It's quite a good quality, thickish jersey and they only had two of that weight in the whole store, so I'm glad I took the original along with me to check. It would have been very easy to pick up something else that wouldn't have been substantial enough.
Really please with how this one turned out, and thank you to Tilly and Zoe for a great class that allowed me to make it!