Sunday, November 1, 2020

Jim is a Rat! But I want him anyway . . .

Deciding where to make cuts in this fabric was difficult enough when I was cutting large skirt pieces, but little did I know that I would have days of indecision over cutting out the bodice. 

I could have made things easier on myself and chosen a basic bodice with a single front piece, but as I was rifling through my pattern stash, I came across Butterick 6412, and had a vision of the finished dress.  I even had the perfect pink oversized buttons in the stash.

I also knew that I wanted to add piping along the neckline.

Instead of deciding on a single color, I thought that with such a bold and crazy print, a variety of colors would work even better.  And how often will a print like this come up.  So I went all in.

I did have to rethink the construction of the bodice with the addition of piping, but it was fairly straightforward.  

The piping created a clean edge along the neckline and shoulders, with the lining applied to the piping itself, just inside the seam line.

This created the need for a bit more hand sewing than the instructions suggest, but since I love that part of the process, it was no big deal.

There was also a bunch of hand stitching on the hemline of the skirt.  Because the skirt is a rectangle, a nice deep hemline was possible; no need to draw up the extra circumference that goes along with a flared skirt!

I do love the way that red lining pops!

And my indecision over print placement on the bodice turned out fine in the end.  I managed to match the center back seam/zipper opening, and I think the motif repeats are nicely spaced throughout.

I always planned on adding a belt.  In order to get the most of that center front image and the accompanying text, I had a large black band front and center.  But it could easily get covered up and evened out with a belt.  And I placed my four buttons with this in mind.

What I didn't expect to add was a petticoat.  Most knife pleated skirts wouldn't work with added bulk spreading the pleats out.  However, since the skirt has pleats on top of pleats, it is fuller than most knife pleated skirts.

While I was trying the dress on to check fit and figure out where exactly my hem would be, it occurred to me that the addition of a petticoat might add to the overall look.

And I love it!  It could certainly be worn without, but I love a bit of extra floof, so for now, the petticoat stays.

With that decision made, I had to figure out a belt.  My piping is red, purple, and pink.  I had originally planned to add a strip of green at the hemline, but when I tested the look with a scrap of fabric, I thought it broke up the lines of the dress too much and decided against it.

That left me with orange, a bright blue, and yellow.  And it just so happens that I have a bunch of yellow grosgrain stashed away.  In order to give the belt a bit more oomph, I stitched two layers of the ribbon together on each side.  To play back to the graphic print, I used black thread, although it doesn't read all that well from a distance.  Perhaps I should have used a triple stitch.

I was having a tough time deciding if the dress really needed the belt, so I posted a poll over on Instagram.  Turns out, the results mirrored my thoughts on the subject . . . just this side of keeping the belt.  

Peter suggested a black patent leather belt, which I think would also work great, but the only one I have is much too wide for this dress.

I was so busy thinking of all the crazy colors to add, the idea of a black belt didn't even cross my mind.  But since I am quite certain this dress will get more wear in the future, I can always swap out accessories!

And after my boss suggested that the fabric would make a great mask, I pulled out the leftover cotton and made myself one.  Once again, print placement was a challenge, but I thought "I don't have a thing to wear" was an appropriate gripe to make on my face mask!  Can anyone else relate to a closet full of clothes and not a thing to wear?!


  1. Creo que lo del armario lleno y no tener nada que ponernos nos pasa a muchas.....
    Me encanta el toque colorista que le has puesto al vestido, los colores son muy acertados y el cinturón en amarillo le encaja a la perfección y yo también opino que con enagua luce mucho mejor y es más de tu estilo. BESICOS.

  2. You had me at floof.

    You had me at (tearful pause), floof.

  3. Your dress is phenomenal!
    My daughter in law called your dress brilliant : )

  4. The dress looks marvelous and I think I need some of that Alexander Henry fabric. I'm still in the black belt camp but either way, this is a show-stopper!

  5. Love your dress! Great job, as always.

  6. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!! I love this dress and the fabric you used. I also like the idea of a black patent leather belt the width of the yellow ribbon. Yellow seems to be the color that likes to be the center of attention and the yellow belt almost makes the pops of yellow in the dress recede. Perhaps a black ribbon. But ultimately, it's your choice about what you want to accent. Peter is correct, this is a show-stopper! Plus, thanks for reminding me to dig out my ruffler attachment and play. I love your blog!

  7. I'm so glad you got "Jim is a rat" front and center. Everyone wants him, but sheesh!
    This is one of the few pieces of fabric I would frame and hang. The story is such a sewist's ....dream? well, maybe not dreaming of Jim per se....
    It's a glorious thing and you've done it right.

    (I didn't buy enough of it so my cutting choices made themselves)(sadly)

  8. Another incredible make! Can't wait to see you model it. I just love the print.

  9. BEAUTIFULLY done as always & lots of fun! LOVE the yellow belt versus a black one! REALLY great dress!!