Thursday, 10 April 2014

Decoding Dakota

Hallo folks,

True to promise, here is something other than a tunic dress.  Yay!  This week, we have the Dakota dress by Named.  Straight from the packet bar a few things:
  • my scaling was off when I printed it, so it's about a size too small.
  • Sleeve plackets have been changed.
  • Neckline - let's just say it's higher!
  • No pockets.  
This dress is made from a fairly heavy white crepe material, purchased one lunch hour from John Lewis' remnants box.  I got 2 metres for £10. Steal.

The material went on a little trip back to NZ with me as a length of material and came back a dress.  What a metamorphosis - ha! if only I could say I fared so well after a 50 hour trip!

So, about the changes made.  

Firstly, the printing.  
There is a box to use to check that things have been printed off correctly, but of course I was printing it surreptitiously at work and therefore didn't want to check/redo it.  It's still wearable, just not as loose as designed!  I'd best up the running.... or get over it.

Second, the sleeves.  
Well, I wanted to get this done and didn't understand the instructions as drafted.  I was sewing this on one of the last days at my Mother's house and because:
a) Mum has an over-locker and that is just like winning a golden ticket for me
b) I thought I could wear this in Dubai during our stop-over on the way back to Home (as opposed to Home Home).  Yes, that is how the two places are referred to in my family.

So, even though Mum no doubt had a book I could refer to (she is a Textile and Design teacher after all), I just did what I knew how to do and replaced the sleeve packets as drafted with a simpler variety - a la the kind used in shirts.  I slashed the sleeve, sewed a rectangle of fabric along the slashed length, folded it over hand stitched it, and then attached the cuff.  Simples.

Rachel has a great tutorial for another style of placket, which I also could have followed, but you know, did I mention that I was chomping at the bit to get this finished?

Third, the neckline.  
So, I sewed it all up, tried it on and immediately realised three things:
  1. I have gargantuan legs.
  2. I will not be wearing this in Dubai.
  3. I will not be wearing anything underneath this (other than a slip).

OK, so maybe #1 is a slight exaggeration.  I am 169 cm tall (I think that's 5'6.5" I believe), and check out how short this puppy is.  I made the smallest hem possible (2 cm) and I still worry it is too short.  Happily, the sleeves are a great length - I often find these are just a tiny smidgen too short - enough to feel rather than notice.

The photo above was chosen because even though it chops my head off, it makes the dress look OK on my legs.  The one below tells a slightly altered version... but my head is complete. Result.  I tried photo-shopping the two together and it was hilariously bad, but not quite funny enough to share.  It just looked like I was lame at cutting and pasting... 

So Dubai.  I know we *can* wear clothes to Western standards in Dubai, but I personally like to be a little respectful and give a nod to local customs (within reason - but let's leave it at that).  But that's cool - I don't live in Dubai.  

I wasn't quite at the point that I'd sewn something I wasn't going to wear.  But.  I wasn't going to be able to wear anything underneath this as previously planned - other than a slip, I have some standards!  So, I had to fix up the neckline to make it modest.  or better said, modest-er.  As in, it is more modest than drafted.  The BWOF pattern drafters would be going crazy - "what?  The neckline has been raised?! Warum?!"  They love themselves the deep v.

But I'm babbling.  I just threaded a needle with some heavy thread, knotted it and sewed the two edges of the collar to each other in a ladder stitch.  Modest in less than 5 minutes.

With some trepidation, I got dressed up and then showed this outfit to Mr CraftyTraveller esq. and asked for comment.  He.Loved.It.  When goofing about taking photos for this, I tried it with a few items in my wardrobe, including this Levi's jacket that is 14 years old (and has never been washed!!!).  As I was going through photos, Mr CT said this was his favourite because it is cool.  So there you have it.

I ended up wearing this out for my birthday and got called an Angel by a group of Irishmen on a Stag do the DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING.  Who does this in 2014?!!!! 
Oirish folk are crazy!

Fourth, the pockets.
Mine is not the type of body that needs patch pockets on the hipline.  Know your battles folks.

And with that epiphany, I'll bid you adieu.  'Til next time.

Rachel J


  1. Y'know, I think we seamstress' are often very hard on ourselves! because I have to disagree: this dress looks wonderful on you, and your legs are slender and shapely! and I really love the pattern, thanks for bringing it to my attention! If I thought something was too short for Dubai, I would probably just pop a long thin skirt on underneath, wearing it more like a long tunic :)

    1. Thank you Carolyn! Maybe I should monitor my monologue ;-) Good thinking about wearing things as a tunic - I hadn't thought of that! Next time. The pattern is good, but be warned about printing scales if you make it. Rachel ☺

  2. Superb by my reckoning, echoing the thoughts of mr crafty traveller. I think you've made it 'your own' as they say on tv, but then that's what sewing allows us to do. It looks like you've got a cracking fit too- doesn't look too small at all. Bravo !

    1. Thanks Winnie! I do like the fit as well (happy coincidence) but u definitely couldn't wear anything thick underneath it like a shirt as styled in the pattern photo. Maybe the next one will be. Rachel ☺

  3. It's very striking in white and raising the neckline so that it can be worn alone is the way to go. I agree the length is flattering on you and nothing to worry about but also wouldn't you suspect the printing error is at play there, too? Even if the printing did just narrow the pieces, a looser fit would probably hang a little longer. I have a muslin of this pattern but have been trying to get back to make a final version so I'm happy to see more examples.

    1. Good point Jne4sl - it would be 10% smaller lengthwise too and given that there are shoulder and waist seams as well as a hem that adds up to a fair amount. So my legs aren't disproportionately long - good thinking! I hope your final version turns out per expectations and thank you for stopping by/commenting. Rachel ☺

  4. It's gorgeous!!! I love it! The length, the fabric, the's awesome!

  5. Great dress and I love it in the cream fabric.

  6. Well, I love it too. Specially with the denim jacket. Angel indeed!

    1. Thanks sewingelle! The denim jacket adds a certain something huh. Rachel :-)

  7. You and the dress look gorgeous! And I really do love it paired with the denim jacket. I have a soft spot for denim jackets :)

    1. Thanks Melizza! Denim jackets go with everything (except denim bottoms other than in some parts of the world....). I love my jacket. I'm looking forward to the next coffee date :-)


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