Skull print dress – but no pink hair

I finished the skull print dress this weekend, despite a catalogue of hitches. Do you like to read about other people’s sewing disasters? I actually rather like hearing about when it all goes wrong because it reassures me that I’m not the only one it happens to. But if you don’t, you might want to skip this one.

It’s a copy of the dress on the girl with the pink hair in this cartoon. Apart from the fact that my completely artificial hair colour is different to hers, it’s come out fairly faithful to the original.

Scary go round skull print dress

It did not sew up smoothly. The sewing police should probably look away now. I made a pretty successful muslin so I thought it would be a doddle to sew the real thing. Hah.

I wanted to underline the skirt because the skull print fabric is a thin cotton that wrinkles as soon as you look at it and doesn’t drape; I figured the extra weight of an underlining would make the long skirt hang much better than the cotton on its own would. However the skirt takes up so much fabric that I didn’t have anything in my stash that was large enough. The biggest bit of even vaguely suitable fabric was 2m of loosely woven dark brown cottony stuff. I tried to find the grain by tearing it across, and it promptly started to tear down the straight grain which ruined one end of it.

I thought I’d managed to fit the skirt pieces onto what was left by cutting the back on the crossgrain (I know, I know), but it turned out that one corner of the skirt was missing from where I’d had the accident with the tearing. I decided to ignore this and carry on. I knew I’d be facing the hem anyway because the fashion fabric wasn’t big enough to provide any hem allowance, and luckily an extra-wide facing was enough to cover up the mess.

I then constructed the whole thing up to the point where I was about to put the zip in. I quickly tried it on to check the fit, and only at that point noticed a complete pattern matching disaster on the front. The print on the fabric is little odd; the skulls that look like they line up vertically in fact do not, and this was really obvious where the bodice met the skirt. (For the benefit of any other sad geeks out there, the problem is that it looks like it has the wallpaper group cm but it’s actually p1 when you check carefully. The slightly slanted print also produces an optical illusion so it looks like the skirt has been cut off grain when it’s actually perfectly straight. Grr.)

So I took the dress to pieces, cut a midriff inset piece, this time being careful with the pattern placement, and sewed it over the top of the skirt front piece. Strangely, the seam doesn’t show at all. If you look at the picture you can see the pattern changes just below the bodice but you have to look very hard to see there is a separate bit of fabric there.

Scary go round skull print dress

The pattern on the back looked fine so I didn’t bother making an inset piece for that.

Then I went to put the zip in, and realised I’d self-lined the bodice and then sewed the skirt to both layers, leaving me with no way to finish off the top of the zip neatly. I had to unpick it and leave the inner layer of the bodice free around the zip to act as a facing.

Anyway I finished it and it’s wearable. But I’m not dying my hair pink.

4 thoughts on “Skull print dress – but no pink hair

  1. I’m sure I would have quit in frustration somewhere near the beginning of your tale, but good for you for making it work. The finished dress looks exactly like you planned and no one but us will know the fun and games you had getting there!

  2. The dress looks great! I love your idea from start to finish. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I am coming to London in July and am planning to meet up with Eugenia, Melissa, Karen and others for a Liberty of London jaunt. Would you care to join us? I would love to meet you IRL.


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