Friday, 7 July 2017

Pintucked Gallery Tunic for mum

This dress was a long time in the making, so I guess it's fitting that it has taken almost as long to get on the blog.

It was a bit like the sea wall that was holding the tide back. and once it was finished there was the mad flurry of easy(ish) sewing in May and June. So yeah, it was a bit of a beast to make, but the result is so perfect for my mum that it was absolutely worth it.



The long story (you knew there would be a long story, didn't you?) is this: About a year ago my mum tried on an off-white linen dress with pintucks, long sleeves and a mandarin collar. She liked it but it really didn't fit. It was very wide in the shoulders, it was too tight in the back and bust and then, when she told me the price I was adamant that she was not to buy it.

I could do better for a third of that price I boldly stated.


It was just at the time that the Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic and Dress pattern had been released. It ticked most of the boxes: Loose, tunic shape, mandarin collar, long sleeves. it was just all those pintucks had to come from somewhere.

Since my mum and I are roughly the same size across the shoulders I had the perfect excuse to try the pattern out for myself. She tried mine on and we noted that there was plenty of room in the body, the shoulders were fine, the sleeve length perfect, the pockets an inch too low and the dress length was longer than she wanted.


I went on and made a calico muslin as a test for some of the changes that would be necessary. Namely, leaving out the inverted box pleat at the back, and the placket pleat at the front, drafting to a length that was halfway between the tunic and the dress, and then adding all that pleated width at the front.

Then the pattern was sliced horizontally to create the front and back shoulder yokes. I had already determined that if all my pleating happened below the neckline I would only have to pleat straight down from a horizontal edge - much easier!


Once I knew it could work I set it aside for a few months and then completely forgot how on earth I could make the maths work out for all those pleats. I nutted it over so many times and kept getting slightly different answeres - the main problem being that I really didn't know exactly how deep I wanted the pleats to be, or how many, or over what area they should be spread.

So I did the obviously easier thing and pleated the fabric then cut the pattern piece. That irked me as it meant wasting a bit more fabric because the pleating was centered on the fabric fold, but this was definitely a point reached when scrooge-y cutting tendencies had to be set aside.


The front placket as per the pattern was dismissed as the resulting 1" deep pleat was unwanted. So I turned to a kid's pattern and used an extended length version of the placket from the Jump Rope Dress. In later email conversation with Liesl she has pooh-poohed that placket as being not her best work, but I think it's a fabulous bit of sewing instruction especially for those who have never sewn a placket before. I'm told the tower placket instructions on her new shirt pattern is the real deal!


The sage green/grey fabric came from The Cloth Shop. I suspect it's a cotton/linen blend and the cross-hatch weave effect is printed as the back of the fabric is a more plain white. The fabric has the perfect light crispness to hold all those pleats but also the drape and hand that meant it fell nicely from the gathered points. And obviously it wrinkles like a linen!

Buttons were a perfect grey/green variegated plastic button. Matches like this can only come from a trip to Butotnmania with fabric in hand. I'm never disappointed with what they can find for me!


There's a lot of fabric in the skirt at the back as a result of all those pintucks. I was nervous about how that would look on my mum, but since she doesn't have a big backside to begin with I think it works really well for her.

This was new territory for me in terms of making such dramatic changes to a pattern. But then once I thought about it I could see that I had my basic block there with the Gallery Dress. I attribute some of my confidence in tackling this to the Building Block Dress Book, which, while it is for girl's dresses, shows how to take a basic block and manipulate it to get what you are imagining. I was able to see how each of these small changes to the pattern would result in a wholly different dress.


And a perfectly unique dress, 'cause no way am I doing it again!

Details:
Pattern: Based on Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic and Dress
Size: 12
Fabric: Linen/cotton (?) from The Cloth Shop
Notions: buttons from Buttonmania. Gutterman thread,... lots and lots of thread.

21 comments:

  1. Wow! That looks amazing on your mum! All your hard work has paid off. Well done!

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    1. Thanks Anne. It suits her so well, doesn't it.

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  2. Stunning!! Your mum is beautiful and so is that dress. Pintucks are so much work but the result in this dress really gives it the "wow factor".

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    1. Thanks! Seriously, pintucks are so laborious. I think it was an evening's work on each side front and the back. I'm glad I persevered but not again, for a while at least... :)

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  3. Shelley, this is so good! Your mom looks stunning! And you are an amazing daughter to put that much time and effort into it. I think your plan to do the pintucks first and then cut out the fabric was well worth it! Also think of it this way- if you had miscalculated and then had to recut that piece you would have wasted far more fabric. You are a true sewing super star.

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    1. Honestly, I think it irked me as much that I couldn't find a simple way to "design" the pleats into the pattern. I suspect There's a computer program that does just that for designers.
      Mum looks alright doesn't she?! :)

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  4. I agree with all the comments above - superstar indeed! The trouble with seeing your projects, Shelley, is that I think perhaps I should have one of those, too
    . I do love pintucks ....

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    1. Ha ha, thanks Marlene. I do the same and get inspired by what I see being made around me. It's certainly a shirt/dress worth having but maybe a pattern with pleats is the place to start!

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  5. Not doing it again? Drat. I was about to place an order because it's all sorts of fabulous!

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    1. Maybe when we're both Mum's age I will be ready for round two :)
      Thanks for the lovely compliment

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  6. WOWSA!!!! This is incredible! What a lot of work, but a really beautiful outcome. And your mom is sooooo chic!

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    1. She looks great doesn't she? Thanks Inder.

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  7. I knew it was hard, required ingenuity and dogged determination which my daughter has 'in spades'. I adore this dress; wear it at every opportunity and always get positive comments. I'm a very lucky mum.

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  8. This is one classy tunic with all those beautiful pintucks - and your mum looks beautiful in it.

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    1. Thanks Marisa. It turned out just as we were hoping it would.

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  9. All the work was definitely worth it! The tunic looks amazing! The pintuc detail is simply stunning. And look at your mum's modelling! Perfect!

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  10. Wow, your efforts paid off - this is stunning! I love it.

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  11. OMG I love pintucks and you have certainly worked wonders on this tunic for your mum, she looks so happy!

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