I had a couple of concerns though. I don’t have a long neck, so didn’t know how the cowl neck would work on me and I’m not sure how a bell shape would be with my skinny legs poking out the bottom. In spite of that, I love the grown on hood, the different lengths and, well, the potential of it.
Because of my concerns I decided to toile (not like me, I know!) the pattern before risking precious fabric. I used some disgusting beige cotton rib that I found in an op shop, It was one of those ribs that’s knitted in a circle and both edges were dirty with an ingrained crease. As the dress came together I thought “wearable toile” and began to plan dyeing it, and also including pockets.
When I thought about the pockets I knew I didn’t want regular old pockets, so I turned to The Dressmaker’s Companion, that excellent book by Liz Haywood, as she has a whole chapter on pockets. She has one called the Easter Egg pocket which is sewn from the inside so no stitching is visible and I thought that was exactly what I wanted. Although I was disappointed when Easter eggs didn’t magically appear!
To create my pocket I had to decide on a size and then put in a hand hole. I had no idea how big to make a hand hole, so I found a round object of an approximate size and drew round it. I used this lovely robin paperweight my sister gave me.
The size of the hand hole kind of determined the size of the top of the pocket and mine was less oval than it should have been. However, the hand hole is too big, so I will make it smaller next time and make the pockets more ovoid.
I thought the rib might stretch out badly so lined the pockets with a scrap of knit left over from my foray into Spoonflower. This one is not too stretchy and is a souvenir knit as it has a photograph of rocks in Broome printed on it.
I had to make two of these of identical size. This is tricky for me as I’m not known for my precision sewing, but I did my best and they aren’t too bad. From a distance!
The dress finished up a little short, so I found a couple of off cut pieces and fashioned a hem facing which I then hand stitched.
I was worried about my lack of neck but the fabric just folds in on itself to form a fabulous cowl. This is going to be a really useful dress for long car journeys when Mark has the window open and the wind plays around with my hair and neck.
I messed about with the pattern a bit as my fabric wasn’t really wide enough and I was concerned about the bell shape aspect. I think I may have disturbed the drape of the pattern as I have these two wing things on my back. I’m not sure they will be very noticeable when I’m walking though so I’m not going to stress about it for this one.
The hood is one of the things that attracted me to this dress, although I doubt that it will be on my head too often. It’s an unusual shape which means it won’t blow off, but in this fabric I do feel as though I’m wearing a wimple!
But honestly, how warm is this going to be? Particularly when I make the next one in a woolly fabric.
I forgot to take a photo of the back with the hood up, so here is one which I took before the dress was finished. The lack of neck is more apparent from the back with the hood up.
So, I’m not sure what to do with this dress now. Having worn it for a little while I decided that I really didn’t mind the disgusting beige and that worn with tights and boots it might look ok. I will have to see how it looks with my winter skin though.
I do think I could look a bit naked from a distance, which reminds me of all those fabulous comments on Instagram in response to this photograph. I loved the honesty; yes, skinned cat, naked mole-rat, and I did love @whendy7’s comment about it being useful for a coy person at a nudist colony. I laughed out loud at many of the comments I received, especially from Kate @fabrickated.
So, for now, this dress will remain this very neutral beige, but I’ll keep you posted as to its long term fate. I must say I do feel rather ninja like in it, so it’s very well named. My next one will be the Ninja top and I’m going to use some of my Liberty fabric.