Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lady Skater Goes to Downton Abbey

What's today's date? January 28th already. I am just barely squeaking in my Sew the Show project. January's theme is one of my very favorite shows - Downton Abbey! I love everything about this show and will be so sad when it ends this year. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime so I will be able to watch it forever and ever.

While I'm not a very formal person, at all, I love the dress and manners of the show, and who doesn't love a good English accent. I find myself using words like golly and quite and wanting to dress for dinner. I love how elaborately beaded but still delicate the ladies' dresses are. Of course, I have no purpose in my SAHM life for things like that though, so I made a more basic dress that can be dressed up or down.

I just recently bought the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater pattern. Who knows what took me so long to do it. I usually just hack stuff like this, but this really is better than any of my previous attempts. This pattern is well worth it. I only made 2 modifications. First I added 11" of length at the lengthen/shorten line of the skirt piece. I like this tea length because I don't trip on it and I don't have to hold it up with one hand while trying to carry the laundry up the stairs either. I can walk out to the garden in the morning without getting the bottom wet with dew (you know, when spring and summer return eventually). It may not be the most popular length, but it serves me well and I still get to feel all swishy and elegant.

The second modification was to shorten the bodice an inch. This fabric stretched downward so much I had to. Speaking of this fabric, I may have nightmares. It is an organic hemp knit from Girl Charlee last year. It feels amazing and it's organic so I love that, but it is thin and stretchy with no recovery to speak of. It's also a good thing I had a lot of it, because it was cut so incredibly off grain that I had a huge trapezoid of fabric, not a rectangle. It was a beast to sew, but I persevered and wound up with a lovely dress, so I'm pleased. Quite pleased. (hee, hee)

It will be good this spring summer with sandals. I'm sure that's how it will mostly be worn. I'm a little more downstairs than upstairs, if you know what I mean.

Back to my hacking tendency, I went rogue with the lisette/Butterick 6183 pattern and made the top out of a knit. My fabric is a gray/black/silver polyester knit from (I think - it's been a while). It's medium weight and pretty stable so I thought it could handle the structure. I sized down, but could go even smaller if I try it again. 

Besides sizing down, finishing the neckline becomes an issue. On the original pattern, the front piece is lined and the back piece has a facing. I just cut one front piece to avoid the thickness of 2 since my fabric is already of good weight. Once it was all together, I laid it out and traced my own facings for front and back. I stitched them on and understitched and tacked at the shoulder seams. 

So now that I know this is doable, my plan is to do this again with not so thick polyester fabric that doesn't press well and mash it with the Lady Skater skirt and make an actual dress instead of layering it like above. I love how the necklines and sleeves matched up so perfectly that I can wear it layered and no one can tell that it isn't just a skirt and top. And yes, it is killing me that my skirt looks so wrinkly at the bottom. 

I think I'd like it in a thick french terry with 3/4 sleeves at least. Then I can also just do bands at the neck and sleeves. Or I could just do what I did with the Lady Skater and suck it up and buy the pattern because really what I want is the Victory Patterns Lola, but I'm over budget on pattern buying lately so a hack it will have to be. Do I sound mental? I just might be.

Thanks for checking out my Downton Abbey looks. Next month's Sew the Show focuses on Mad Men so that should be fun. 


  1. I love this, I really like the length long enough to feel swishy and romantic but not actually fall over it. Great dress, this is a shape that suits you. And yes I will miss downton too!

  2. I've been seeing a lot of tea length dresses in spring runway shows. You might be accidentally trendy!! Besides loving your dress, I think you look beautiful. Sewing for function is my thing too but I also like things that just make me feel pretty. That dress will get a ton of mileage :)

  3. I love the dress!! The shape of the neckline suits you perfectly,in my opinion this is one of the best things you have made for yourself. You are so beautiful in it <3

  4. I love it! So perfectly Downton. The shape of the dress is so beautiful on you too.


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