Hold me closer Tony Danza....

This fabric. THIS FABRIC. I've had it for over three years, stashing, stroking, loving, planning. And my word I just about ruined it. Not long before I got married my parents went to the UK, and I gave my mum a selection of Liberty lawn choices to grab for me if she happened to be wafting through the London store's haberdashery section. The only one she could remember was this, the Tiny Dancer fabric, so that's what came home with her, 3 hilarious metres of it. 

I know it's been around a while but here's a close up - gorgeous little dancing men in leotards. The bearded guy in the purple doing his little leap is my favourite. 

From the start I was planning a dress (in my mind it was already called the Tony Danza dress), something with shoestring straps, a gathered waist and a skirt. Over a year ago I drafted a darted camisole top from the New Look 6808 bodice that I love so much, and added an A-line skirt to it, French seamed pockets throughout (using this method), and it was such a failure. The lawn has no drape of course, but I still didn't register. I thought it was my bodice drafting. The only positive from that endeavour was I learned to make rouleau straps.....

So I stashed it in a devastated sulky huff, ignoring it for a year until this summer. I'd purchased the Callie Faye Basics dress a while ago - I love the deep scoop of the front and back (see lovely versions here, here and here) and decided I'd get the dress so I could use the top to make tanks as well. I made a quick toile to check fit and bodice length - I felt on me that there might be a little too much length in the bodice, hiding the gathered waist, so wanted to be certain before I cut into my leftover Liberty. As I suspected it was a little long, and I planned to reduce the bodice length by about an inch. 

Blithely ignoring the recommendation for drapey fabrics I chopped the skirt off, made bias binding with the bodice and some other scraps, and made the bodice out of my Liberty. The pattern has you fully line the bodice, however I followed this excellent Grainline tutorial to get the most beautifully bias bound finish I've ever done. So beautiful. With those deep scoops it took forever. And when I attached the skirt and put in the elastic it was terrible. Too blousey still. So I unpicked. Took another inch off bodice. Reattached. Still too effing blousey. It was the fabric. My dancers were too crisp. Lawn just wasn't the right fabric for a softly blousing gathered waist dress. 

And by now my beautifully finished bodice was way too short to be worn as a top. The skirt I figured I could harvest a short sleeved top of some sort but I desperately didn't want to have just one garment out of 3 metres of Liberty. I was totally over it and stuffed it out of sight again until after Christmas. Do you ever have projects like this? Projects that seem destined to fail? I'm so very stubborn and I was determined, still, to try and save my work so in a final attempt I gathered up a full width of the fabric and slapped it on the bottom, creating a simple ruffled peplum. 

A peplum! Me!

Yes indeed. And I think it works! I never thought I'd be the peplum type - they're for the narrow hipped uber stylish, which is a demographic I do not fall into. But nonetheless I declare it not a complete failure! The husband is not a fan - but I'm ok with that. 

So this is a kind of review for the Basics Dress.... the bodice at least! The fit is around the shoulders is great, and I think the width of the straps and the scoop of the necklines is perfect - not too low that you flash bra strap and can't do a bend-and-snap without shaming yourself.  Fabric choice if making the dress is clearly vital - drape, lots of drape! 

I whipped up another version using some leftovers from another project, this time using the length and hemline of the ye olde Wiksten tank (the very first indie pattern I ever tried!), jazzed up with a little pocket. How's that for pattern matching? Glue plus walking foot = pocket perfection! 

It's pretty clear from these pics though that I've got some work to do on fit around the bust - it's a touch snug and does swing up a bit at the centre front, suggesting I need to enter uncharted waters (here be dragons!) and do an FBA...

This idea fills me with delight beyond measure... Can't you tell?! Maybe I'll just try an unpadded bra....

Thanks to Anna for her photography and beautiful ivy backdrop! xx