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Highs and Lows

I make a lot of basics, but every once in awhile I get an idea in my head and its dramatic. I had sketched this extremely high-low peplum top a short while ago- it had princess seaming and (ideally) stretch, but also had some structure and thickness. Scuba is one of those super comfortable fabrics that can look elevated at the same time. Add in a Lady McElroy Fabric print, and you're set!

This print is striking in colour, with pops of neon, and if you look closely you will see the peonies are actually a lovely lady's hair. The frequent signature of Lady M prints, the lady faces are randomly distributed and multi-directional throughout.

I washed and dried in machines and it came out vibrant and plush. Like most beautifully smooth knits, it may be prone to pilling so I will avoid any added friction when laundering.

I pressed it with steam to achieve clean seams on the bouncy fabric. Top stitching also helps.

Finding the right pattern was hard and I went back and forth SO many times. I knew it would have to be hacked no matter which I chose, but I wanted to make it as easy for myself as possible.  I'm not very experienced in hacking/drafting! I stumbled on the Deer & Doe Zephyr dress, which is perfect for scuba, and features  princess seams (that were integral to the design I'd created in my mind). The pattern is drafted for a height of 5'6” and a C cup. I held the paper pattern piece up to myself and I needed to add 1” to the bodice for the waist to be at the right place. I'm 5'9” but short-waisted.

Next was the skirt. There was some trial and error here. I used the skirt piece from the pattern, which is just one piece “cut 2 on fold”.  I drew a rough diagram of my skirt quickly on the side of the paper piece to keep my measurements straight. On one side of the pattern piece, I wrote the measurement of the front center at the fold line (it ended up at 10” ) and the length I wanted it to grade out to at the sides (32”). On the reverse of the pattern piece, I wrote the back measurements. 32” on the side seam again, curving out to 53” at the back center fold. I marked these measurements out on the fabric, cut the original waist curve and per the pattern, and used my french curve to cut the curving peplum shape. I assembled the entire pattern on my serger, with white thread to blend in with the white wrong-side.

Finishing the skirt went like this...

Attempt #1: Tulle layers. The tulle was very fragile and my dog was not careful. Also, the tulle was very sticky and since this was a layer/top garment, having it cling to the bottom garment and to the scuba was not working for me.

Attempt #2: Giving it structure with lining and horsehair trim. TOO MUCH STRUCTURE. A short circle skirt in front did NOT look right with that much structure. Please note- I cut the horsehair hem off, because this fabric really snags if you unpick too much! That took 2 inches off the overall length of the skirt.

Attempt #3: I've had it. Bias binding will be clean and give enough structure to look neat....and...I love it! Its perfect.

I had enough fabric left over to squeeze out a pencil skirt. My favourite knit skirt pattern is the free Slinky skirt by Kommatia Patterns. Its super simple and fits great. Worn under the peplum, it looks like a dress. I also have plans to style this top over jeans, or trousers. (It may be dramatic, but its still versatile separates, haha!)

If you can't tell, I had a blast shooting this dress with my blossoming-photographer sister.

Thanks for reading!


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