The Spring Racing Carnival rolled around in October, and as always it is an opportunity for me to sew something up. The dress usually has to be bright, colourful and fun for Spring. This time around, the decision on what to make was completely driven by the fabric I bought. I discovered a online fabric store via social media called 4444 based out of Albania that does does reproduction prints of well known fabrics. Now I'm not typically a fan of wearing or purchasing 'fakes', but in this instance, I couldn't say no. The fact that these fabrics are Dolce & Gabbana and waaay out of my budget also had a lot to do with it. I had admired the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2016 collection for quite some time on social media - the lemons, the tile print, the colour, oh my! When I saw 4444 had the same print for sale I snapped up two yards of the lemony tile print straight away. The fabric is a polyester jacquard and has a density similar to neoprene, but you can iron quite well and it doesn't crease. All in all, I was pretty impressed with the fabric. As a side note, the postage is very reasonable and it arrived within 2 weeks of purchasing - bonus points for that!
Dolce & Gabbana inspiration
I dug through my pattern stash to decide what pattern to go with. I normally pick one very easily, but this time around I went back and forth on a number of patterns. Mainly because of the thickness of the fabric, and that it doesn't have drape so the pattern had to be something structured. I ended up going with Vogue pattern - Kay Unger 1392. I've never sewn a Kay Unger pattern before but I loved the off the shoulder look, which is on trend this Spring/Summer. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a 'easy' rated pattern too, because on face value I thought it might be a more challenging option. Having now made it, I think the 'easy' rating is spot on. One of the other reasons I went with this pattern was that I needed to create something in which I could pattern match easily. Basically nothing with two many seams that would break up the pattern too much on the bodice and along the skirt bottom.
I cut out the dress in a size 12 and added about two inches to the skirt bottom as I read a couple of reviews that suggested it was on the shorter side. In the interests of time I omitted a couple of the instructions along the way - I didn't line the skirt or attach the petticoat as part of the design, and I didn't add the ribbon hangers. In hindsight I think it is worth adding the ribbon hangers. Because of the style of dress, it doesn't stay on a hanger well! I followed the instructions with respect to adding interfacing to all the bodice pieces and given the weight and lack of drape of my fabric, that probably wasn't really necessary. I would only interface the bodice if you are using a lighter less, structured fabric.
The instuctions were really clear with this dress and I loved making it. I hardly had to make any alterations for fit. Just a nip here or there for a closer fit. I am now a Kay Unger fan! My favourite part of this dress was the elasticized off-the-shoulder straps. It's a neat little way to ensure the straps stay on the shoulders. To ensure I had a snug ft, I shortened the length of the elastics by 1cm for each shoulder strap which I think really helped.
The neat shoulder straps
I finished off the look with the obligatory fascinator for the horse races. I scored a royal blue crown from Morgan & Taylor which colour matched perfectly. Added to this was a vintage gold and royal blue bracelet I had picked up from a vintage fair a few years ago. All in all, a successful make for races day, which made up for the fact that I didn't do too well on the betting front!
At the races - champers in hand!