I hadn’t meant to start making this dress when I did but the summer made a sudden appearance and my birthday was coming up so I figured I needed (ahem, cough) wanted, a new dress that was both summery, a bit ‘dressy uppy’ but also comfortable. I’d had this scuba fabric lurking in my stash for a wee while. I pulled out New Look 6301 without having a clue if it would work. All I did know was this pattern requires a fabric with stretch. I’d made it up before in a stable knit (and lightweight jerseys) and just figured I’d go with it. (If you want more of a true pattern review I wrote one here).
Strangely enough embracing this as an experimental make made me fearless in the sewing. It was liberating to not really care too much about what I ended up with, if anything at all; I was having far too much fun basting, taking in, reshaping and generally playing around with it! So yeah, I started with New Look 6301 and, I’d say, the bodice is pretty much true to the sleeveless version of the pattern but without the waist ties. The skirt, however is, well…goodness knows! I started with the straight skirt from View D; decided that lacked Va Va Voom and wasted the fantastic sculptural qualities of Scuba. So I basted it together, tried it on, repeatedly pinned and hacked away at it until I was left with a skirt that was vaguely Tulip in design, thus giving the dress as a whole a more hourglass shape. That’s never a bad thing, right?! It has darts at the back and pleats at the front for shaping. I also added thread belt loops at the side seams since I’d omitted the waist ties.
So let’s talk about the fabric…Scuba how I love thee! I sourced my cheaper version from Minerva Crafts which for the price is decent quality (they have a more expensive but even better quality scuba here). They describe it as a “…thick jersey with fabulous stretch recovery…” Well, they’re not kidding. This year I have, in the main, sewn with really drapy, lightweight, shifty, slidy, fabric (hello viscose, hello poly) and I have to admit I was starting to crave something else. Scuba is just incredibly easy to sew with and extremely forgiving; sewn a line of stitching you need to rip out? Well rip it out with no fear because, as long as you don’t purposely butcher it, there will be no tell tell needle holes. This, to my mind, gives you far more creative free reign as you can baste away until you get the fit you want. And of course it doesn’t fray.
Scuba has, as I mentioned, a lovely sculptural quality. I don’t necessarily think what I’ve created here best demonstrates this. If I was to use this fabric again I’d do a simple fitted bodice with a full on flare skirt as it will hold that shape beautifully. If you’ve ever wanted to do something in a quilted fabric, say a 1950s skirt, you could get away with sewing the quilting pattern directly onto this fabric and get a really good result without the need to actually use layers of fabric and batting, the fabric being that bouncy in itself. In fact, I might have a go at doing just that!
The only thing I would say is, given the thick bouncy nature of this fabric, you might want to trim back any darts and pleats to reduce the thickness. I didn’t. It’s also not totally opaque which, again given its thickness you might be forgiven for assuming. Though it’s more opaque on than on the dummy!
Got to mention, my 14 year old son took these pics at 9.30 in the morning (usually my hair hasn’t even met a brush by then!), whilst dodging our Postman making his rounds – all the while muttering “This is soooooo embarrassing!” I think he did a good job; though I might have to bribe him next time!
Until next time…
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