Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Dress for My Brother Pt 1.

Ha, that got you looking! Well this weekend I have actually almost finished a dress for my brother who is 6' 8" and built like the proverbial brick outside toilet. Just to satisfy your curiosity he is going on a night out with the rugby club that he plays for and they are all going dressed as women. What are they like? Why do big burly blokes feel the need to don ladies attire at the least opportunity for such events?  
As an aside and before I am flamed to death, don't get me wrong I think that anyone can wear anything that they damn well like and as a corset maker have made many garments for people of both genders in all manner of silhouettes. Just commenting on this, especially in a traditionally very masculine sport like rugby. I see this as a kind of pantomime with humorous elements, there is after all a lot of good precedents in the theatre: pantomime dames and men playing women in traditions like Kabuki, etc.. As a Scot, our national dress, the Kilt could be construed as a skirt too but only if you are a) a very good runner and b) probably not English.  I have been told it is very comfy. 

I wonder when/why dress became so prescribed according to gender? Many cultures have, what appears to be, unisex *styles* of garments like robes and kaftans. Anyway enough, I am digressing from the subject as usual. So finally as you can imagine he would have found it quite hard getting something to fit him so he asked me to make him a dress.


The pattern that I chose to start with was Burda 6947, a plus-sized dress pattern for a dress in two lengths and a matching bolero. I made the long version in a size 30 (to fit a 54 chest). I cut the pattern apart in the middle of the armhole and added 3cm, tapering to 2cm at the front and 3 cm on the back piece. I also added 2.5 inches at each of the two other lengthen/shorten points on the pattern. Yes, I am terrible for mixing metric and imperial on a whim but hey, that's just how I roll.


 Don't get me wrong, this dress was plenty long to begin with. I am almost 6" in my socks and when I held the unaltered pattern up to me it was pretty close to the floor, so if you are shorter then please bear this in mind.


I had to lay out the fabric on the (8ft) print table in the Print Room at the studios. I did smooth out all the pattern wrinkles, honest. Apologies for the mess but I was not precious about this fabric as this dress is one-wear only and the crushed velvet that I used was only about £3-4 a metre. Luckily, I had about 10 metres of this in black that I had bought in for making Halloween costumes a few years ago. Appropriate as this stuff is the Devil's own to work with. It is slippery, it rolls, it won't lay flat without wrinkles and it looks awful. Still a million hot, sweaty and statically-charged goths can't be wrong.

Poor defenseless hydrocarbons died for this stuff! (Photo nicked from here)

I did not cut out the facings. I used 1" black bias cotton binding and sewed one edge down on the outside, turned it, basted it flat (haha) and stitched it down. It looks okay from a distance. I didn't bother with any of the darts, smoothed out a little of the curve on the front pattern piece as it looked a bit strange without the dart there, made the front a bit more of a pronounced sweetheart which I then gathered by zig-zagging over a piece of 1" elastic to ruche it. Then I ran out of thread!  I started with a big spool from Gutterman that was half full and also used two bobbins full. This dress is a thread hungry beast. Probably because I used a fine zig-zag to stitch each seam then used that stitch that looks like an overlocker stitch, just in case of self-destruction.

Anyway, since I ran out of thread Part II will have to wait until later in the week. I have to still attach some sparkles and some feather trim so watch this space.

Before I go though, I have to say that the pattern was very easy to put together and that everything fitted beautifully. As a general rule I really like Burda patterns and this is no exception. I can't comment on the sizing or the fit though. 

Have a great week!
Kxx


10 comments:

  1. Oh I reckon all blokes secretly want to get dragged up, don't you? Can't wait to see the frock with its sparkles and feathers, and your brother wearing it! xxx

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  2. Yes Curtise, I think that you are right. They certainly don't take much persuasion. His night out is on the 13th so we will see the finished article then. Xx

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  3. I don't suppose we'll get to see photos of this vision of beauty!!!

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    1. Hi Edwina, oh photos are a definite. I am just sad that I won't be there to do his hair and make up. Xx

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  4. You must show us finished pictures of your brother in the dress!!!! First of all, I enjoy seeing your work and true confessions.....I didn't fall far from my Celtic family tree, I love a burly man in a kilt!!! A dress will do fine as well ;) You're a GREAT sister BTW :)

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    1. Thamks Rhonda, i don't know if my brother would say that but who could turn down a request like this? Kilts are fabulous. You can't beat a man in a kilt! Xx

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  5. Wow, what a fabulous sister you are! I'm also hoping to see a few pictures PLEASE! xx

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    1. Thanks Josie, I am delivering the dress on Saturday and it will be worn the following weekend. I can't wait to see the pictures too. Xx

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  6. Men! Mine will dress up for Rocky Horror at the drop of a feather boa. Thinking about it, though, he did play rugby back in the day.... ;-)

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  7. Seems to go with the territory doesn't it. I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the team. Actually, maybe not! Xx

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