For my first Minerva Crafts project I wanted to do something that was moving towards spring whilst still being winter appropriate. I settled on the navy burn out cotton fabric so I could play with hiding bright colours underneath it, muting them a bit, but spicing the dress up more than if I put navy under the navy. I was hesitating about whether to put a burgundy or emerald underneath, but emerald cotton poplin fabric was definitely the right choice. It contrasts really nicely with the navy, whereas I think the burgundy would have been too dark and the contrast wouldn't have been so good.

 To make the most of the almost sheer parts of the fabric, I decided to draft a yoke for the upper bodice front and back from my bodice sloper. To do this I copied the front and back bodice onto pattern paper, and drew a horizontal line where I wanted my yoke to be. I wanted it to start at the start of the top of the side seam so I dress a line across from there on both the front and the back and cut along that line. I then added a seam allowance to the bottom of the yoke and the top of the new bodice piece. This was then repeated for the back bodice.

 I cut the yokes just out of the burn out cotton and the bodice pieces and skirt pieces out of both fabrics. The skirt was a quarter circle skirt. It was supposed to be a half circle skirt but I only realised after I'd cut the pieces out that they were no where near full enough for a half circle skirt, so a quarter circle skirt it was! I actually quite like how it looks. The navy skirt pieces were cut 3 inches longer, so again highlight the floral pattern in the fabric. I used the emerald cotton poplin as an underlining, and tacked the bodice pieces to their respective underlinings to keep them from shifting. From then onwards, the two bodice fronts and two bodice backs were treated as 1 bodice front and 1 bodice back. Both fabrics were fairly easy to cut and didn't shift around a lot.

 The overskirt was  attached to the emerald poplin by the waist seam only, so that each hem could hang freely. This meant that the zip was attached only to the bodice and the emerald underskirt. The poplin was really bright when it wasn't covered by the burn out cotton! The invisible zip attached well, with the nicely behaved cottons. Getting that waist seam level on each side of the zip is so satisfying!

I spent many a night wondering how I was going to finish my seams. I was very aware of the sheerness of parts of the fabric and wanted the neatest finish possible. The answer that I came up with was bias binding. I used masking tape to make out my strips, which is a great way of getting them all the same width. I repeated the same method to make bias binding from the emerald poplin. Now, I had a few difficulties with attaching said bias binding because i thought that I'd skip the ironing in half and half again stage. That was not a wise decision. Take note: bias binding is ironed in half and half again for a reason, and I made it really difficult for myself trying to attach it without doing that first! Thankfully a quick iron when it was all attached seemed to sort it out alright.

The neckline, armholes and hem were all finished with the self made bias binding. The underlining only needed bias binding for the hem. I didn't even think about pattern matching, but I really should have attempted it across the yoke. Never mind.

 

Looking at the back now, it's incredibly wrinkly so I'm going to have to make some adjustments to my bodice sloper. The skirt fits nicely though and the floral pattern on the back yoke looks fab!

 

And there you have it! Thanks very much for reading,

Lauren xx