The Gray Swan Dress

23 Jan

A sudden rush of sewing mojo has me twirling like a ballerina.

Sometimes, things work out better when you stop worrying about the consequences and so it went with this dress. This winter, it seemed all the high street stores had these little ponte skating dresses with circle skirts and although I had some left over double-knit from my Minoru muslin I had no pattern that would work.

In the end, I used Ali’s method of pin-tracing the bodice pattern pieces from my Gertie dress (which originally used New Look 6824); the sleeves came from my newly adjusted Victory Hazel Dress Pattern and the skirt is a 3/4 circle. The construction was a case of trial and error.

The princess line fit well but gaped a wee bit at the centre front so I gathered approximately 2in of length out there. I free-handed the cut of the neckline then added a band of the same fabric using this tutorial to get it sitting flat. My favourite thing though,was top-stitching all the seams; thanks to Tasia’s instructions on the Minoru jacket I already knew I liked the effect on this fabric. I even topstitched the darts at the back! For the circle skirt I used Patty’s calculator to do the maths.

I love the end result and feel I could fit right in with the Corps in Black Swan…

{illustration} Amy Westcott : {source} Clothes on Film

Okay well maybe not but if you need me I’ll be pirouetting over here.


Note to self – do not let fantasies of ballet stardom distract you from the weather report… unfortunate circumstances may result in windy Scottish cities.

{source} Kestrel Finds & Makes

42 Responses to “The Gray Swan Dress”

  1. mujerboricua January 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    I am still swooning over your dress. It looked so comfy and pretty. Wind might not be its friend but at least now you know. At least that malfunction happened among friends*.

    *Okay, I am still chuckling over that photo.

    • lazystitcher January 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      I know – Kerry caught it at the perfect moment!

  2. craftytricia January 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I love this dress! I have been wanting a knit dress with a full skirt like this all winter, and this has inspired me to just try drafting my own. You look wonderful in it.

  3. paige p @ luxperdiem January 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    this looks so comfy and flattering! You’re frankenpatterning is awesome!

  4. Madame Pelagie January 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Oh, what a beautiful fabric this is! I particularly liked the way you made the slieves on youw shoulder. And it suits you excellent, too. Love.

  5. Mary Danielson January 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Alana, this dress is so darn cute! I’ve similarly been drooling over those knit skating dresses, but have to say yours ended up even prettier than the RTW ones! Way to work a frankenpattern, chica. I am still a chicken about sewing knits, but this might be just the inspiration I need.

    • lazystitcher January 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      Dude – double-knit is like the best of both worlds! You can sew it like a woven but it forgives like a knit.

  6. Susan January 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Love it! And at least you were wearing tights during your wardrobe malfunction! 🙂

  7. Mema January 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Dear Lazystitcher,
    very good, congratulation.

  8. prttynpnk January 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Oh I love this! I’m already picturing myself in sassy tights and scarves- lovely job! I’m sure much copying will follow!

  9. Kristen January 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Loved that dress! I would twirl non-stop in it But being that I LIVE in windy Edinburgh, perhaps I should hold off…

  10. Lizz @ A Good Wardrobe January 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    I love this. I’ve been wanting to do something similar to this lately but since I have other projects in the works I can live vicariously through you until I have the time. Beautiful shade of grey and I love that you fixed the gape in the CF by gathering!

  11. Paunnet January 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    How cute! It looks so comfy but very feminine at the same time!

  12. Jane January 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Ooh gorgeous, you look so pretty in those photos. I love the dress but I really love the top stitched seams. Nice twirling too. x

  13. Scruffybadger January 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Alana You crack me up! I loved meeting you & enjoyed sharing some laughs, & it’s great to find your blog too – I can feel plenty of inspiration & jollity to come!
    That dress is seriously awesome (so much so I didn’t click that you’d made it …. silly me, of course you would have at a sewster meet).
    PS I hope you survived your dorm !

  14. Kerry January 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Hee hee – you know that didn’t even occur to me as a wardrobe malfunction when I posted the picture!! I hope you don’t mind – It was the only one of my own pics I had with the flag in it! Anyway, I think your dress is a great sucess, and good for you for putting it together from various sources too. I have to trying sewing with double knit!

  15. House of Pinheiro January 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    The dress was stunning. fabulous seeing you again ! xx

  16. Rachel January 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    I love it! It looks so comfy too. And I’m so jealous of all your wonderful meet-ups!

  17. gingermakes January 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Soooooo cute! I love it!

  18. Leila January 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Your dress fits so well! It’s awesome. The princess seams are perfect. {drool}

  19. Laeh J January 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I’m trying to back away from knit dresses and you had to go and post this. It’s so friggin pretty!

  20. Zoe January 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Hiya hon! Agh, pesky wind!!! The dress looks totally wonderful. That gathered neckline is a really nice feature, necessity IS the mother of invention!

    BTW, hon, if you think you might be able to make the Brighton De-Stash Meet-up, can you email me (sozoblog at gmail .com) so I can send you the info?!

    Love and hugs
    Zoe xx

  21. VickiKate January 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Your dress is soooo pretty and it was just a bit of a Marilyn moment, not a malfunction?

  22. Crystal January 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    I agree. So pretty and comfortable. Who needs sweats when you have a comfortable knit dress to throw on?

  23. CGCouture January 23, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Grrr! It sucks that you drafted this, because now I can’t copy it! 😉 Seriously, this turned out A-MAZE-ING! The wardrobe malfunction picture gave me a chuckle, and it’s good that you have such a fun sense of humor about it. Sometimes you just gotta laugh because getting mad wouldn’t do a lick of good. 🙂

  24. didyoumakethat January 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Having seen this dress first hand I can confirm that it is absolutely wonderful, well drafted, flattering, comfy-looking – and highly entertaining!

  25. Debi January 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    I LOVED your dress! ohhhh…it was sooooo fabulous to meet up! I am so happy you came up to the windy North! xoxoxo

  26. Suzy January 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Gorgeous! It just looks so comfy and your bodice fit is perfect!

  27. ms. modiste January 24, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    Love it! So cute!

  28. Angela January 24, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Wow, that’s a great job! I love the gathers at the top.

  29. catherinedaze January 24, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    That looks great and so comfortable.

  30. Suzie January 24, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    What a fab dress! It fits so well and looks really comfy. The seams were the perfect addition. And oh my, that last photo made me giggle – the dangers of a twirly skirt hey!

  31. Masustak eguzkitan January 24, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    What a lovely dress!!! And your instructions are great, thank you!!!!

  32. Alessa January 24, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Oh, I love that style of dress. Comfy *and* gorgeous! 🙂 One of my friends wore a black one for NYE and I loved it! Your version with the princess seams and gathered neckline is so pretty! I have one planned in a slinkier navy-and-cream polka dot jersey. Hope I won’t need a pattern…

  33. Law January 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    This is a great dress! The princess seams realy work on this. Don’t worry, I’ve been a victim of similar wardrobe disasters in swooshy shirts too.

  34. thesecretlifeofseams January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    This is great, cute, cosy and practical! The top-stitching on the seams is a lovely detail, I wouldn’t have thought to add on a knit. (Hmmm, now must add top-stitching to all knit projects….)

  35. Franca January 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Hehe, that photo is so funny! That’s so amazing you basically made the dress up yourself! maybe one day i’ll get there!

  36. Roobeedoo January 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Your dress was the star attraction at every bus stop in Edinburgh! 😉
    But it was also very very cute! I am SO impressed that you drafted it yourself.

  37. ShonaStitches January 25, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Ok, you’ve convinced me that I NEED to try sewing with doubleknit fabric! I always thought it would be too thick, but after buying a dress made out of it (that has become my new favorite thing) and seeing this, I’m thinking otherwise.

    Also – awesome to see you sewing again!

  38. stephanieflora January 25, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Love it! Great dress!

  39. Elisabeth January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    This is a great dress! It’s super flattering and the princess seams look so well done!

  40. Lisa February 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I love this it’s casual but not sloppy. I really like the fact it’s a knit I guess it’s like pyjamas but smart 🙂

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