When Eliza M contacted me recently asking if I wanted to try out one of her vintage inspired patterns, I was intrigued. As the name suggests, the patterns all take their influences from vintage designs and, like vintage patterns, you choose them according to your size rather than having one multi-sized pattern. Ooh, yes please1 There were a lot of gorgeous patterns to choose from, but I was looking for something a little bit different (for me) that was also dressy.
The Ruby wiggle dress seemed to fit the bill on both counts. For fabric, I used a navy polka dot stretch cotton from The Fabric Godmother. A fabric with a bit of stretch is recommended for the Ruby dress, so this was perfect. It also comes in black and, wait for it, red, hmmm. Yet again, the quality of the fabric was excellent and it behaved itself perfectly during the whole process.
To give an indication of size, I went with a size 12 and the fit was fine, no adjustments needed, apart from the length - the Ruby dress is below the knee which is authentically fifties but too long for me. The design of the dress is very clever. To give shape, it has quite large contour darts at the front and back and a waist dart.
Wait dart, coming in from the left
The waist dart looks just like a bust dart but it's at waist level. It nips you in, and the top of the contour dart gives some shape to the bust. I've never seen this kind of dart before and I must admit, I quite like it.
Because the stretch cotton tends to cling and I was in no mood for facings, I decided to add a full lining. Adding a lining gives a much neater finish and you get an extra slinky layer. For the first time ever, I dispensed with the instructions and went my own way, using the instructions for lining the Truffle dress in the Colette Sewing Handbook.
As for the actual pattern instructions, they were a bit brief for my liking. But that's probably because I've come to rely on the comprehensive instructions that a lot of pattern companies tend to supply these days. The pattern is classed as suitable for a beginner, but in my humble opinion, I think if you've had very little sewing experience then some of the instructions may be a bit brief. The cut and sizing were spot on though and it came together very quickly.
So, what did I think of the Ruby dress once it was sewn? Well, first of all, I need to reveal a shocking confession. Remember my wiggle shirt dress that I made for the Mad Men Challenge back in March? I'm afraid it's never been worn. I know, what a waste! I loved making it too, but it was just too tight and clingy for everyday life and too officey for wearing in the evening. As that's the only other wiggle dress I've made, my practical experience of wearing them is zero. Let me tell you, the Ruby dress is a proper wiggle dress, it's so tight, you can't help but feel like Jessica Rabbit in it (this is where the stretch fabric really comes into its own) and you really can't walk in the normal fashion, you have to wiggle!!
Trying to wiggle....
...and from the back....
It's a classic, simple design, so I think it will stand a better chance of being worn than my poor old Mad Men dress. Plus, the fabric is lovely, the lining makes it easy to wear AND it's got polka dots. It looks great with a tiny little cardigan...
... and I've even taken the precaution of testing it with my favourite red wedges to see if it's suitable for summer wear. It passed the test, but couldn't be modelled for you today as I wanted to spare you the sight of my English winter-blue legs. Thank you Eliza M, I think we've got a winner here!
Right, that's it for now. I'm almost erupting with excitement at the thought of the Strictly Come Dancing semi final tonight!! Anybody else watching it? Go Louis and Flavia!! x