The main reason I haven’t gotten a proper blog post up for my Mini Cooper dress is because I have had a very dirty car. How could I possibly take pictures of this dress without its inspiration in the background? I couldn’t. Finally this weekend I washed my car, and since the weather was accommodating, I got my most recent make ironed and ready for some photos. (I promise I did iron it!)
I really wanted a special kind of photo shoot for this one, but unfortunately it didn’t happen as well as I would have liked. I took a short drive through the park and turned off of the main road onto one of a dozen trails, set my photo stuff up, and then had to keep moving everything out of the road because that lonely dirt road that I was on, wasn’t so lonely after all. SUVs, trucks, and four wheeler trailers all of a sudden kept popping up out of nowhere. I got plenty of nods and strange smiles as they all drove by, and also I hardly got any good photos: the best two had me looking down or with my eyes closed. It was a little bit of a disappointment. Enough time has gone by since I have made this dress though, and I was starting to forgot the little details about this make, so a couple of weirdly cropped photos it is, and finally here’s my post about my most recent dress.
It is yet again another Marylin from Sew Serendipity. As many dresses that I make that I say are my favorite, this pattern is definitely on the top of my favorite list. It’s such an easy make for me, I am always so happy with the fit every time I have made one of these Marylin dresses, and I haven’t had one turn out wrong. Now, the fact that I finally got to make my very own Mini Cooper dress puts this final product, specifically, up there on my list of favorites that I have made, but, of all the Marylin dresses that I have made this one is in second place. (My favorite is still this one.)
First off the fabric. I have hunted and hunted the internet for Mini Cooper material that didn’t cost more than an already made dress would cost. I found some once on ebay from Australia, but it was going to be well over $4o a yard and I couldn’t make myself buy it. I have also come across some custom made on etsy, but again, the price was a little more than I wanted to spend. I never gave up looking though and a few months back found this on zazzle.com. It was still a little more than I normally spend on fabric, but when I put it into perspective: a $30 custom made skirt – it didn’t sound that bad. I bought one yard and loved that I had seven options of fabric types and that they were all custom printed to order. I went with the cheapest, combed cotton, which as far as quality goes, wasn’t cheap at all. This material is very solid. It is thick and sturdy and the printing is very well done. There isn’t any give to it though, perhaps a quality of combed cotton? I didn’t know, and I didn’t notice that it did say no stretch on the fabric description. After I got it home all I thought was If only I had ordered more!
One yard of material could either be a skirt or a multi-fabric dress. Since this pretty much had no give, and the print was running horizontally from cut edge to cut edge (hope that makes sense), the skirt I had planned wan’t going to happen. I was just going to have to wait to make anything until I found some perfectly matched contrast material. What I did find came from Walmart and I had my doubts about it. It seemed to match the car color more than the background and I wasn’t quite convinced it would come out matching. Also, the fact that the bottom was going to be so drastically different from the top made me have my doubts as well. Once I reminded myself that I always worry about my pattern matching and always end up happy in the end, I cut into the most expensive yard of material that I had ever bought and hoped for the best.
I didn’t plan on having that contrasting strip right above the mid-band. It was an afterthought. The pattern I used does have instructions for adding some piping here, and it probably would have looked a lot better had I done it the way instructed, but since I thought the addition of this was needed after the dress was almost done, I didn’t want to seam rip everything, so I improvised. I took two inch strips cut on the bias, connected them and folded them like bias tape. I then top-stitched the folded strip onto the mid-band as close to the top bodice as possible and top stitched the bottom part to keep it flat. Probably not the most professional, but it worked out just how I wanted it to.
Without it, to me, the dress was lacking something. I made the hemband as I always do for this particular pattern: five inch connected strips, folded in half as the instructions say. I was running low on material for this so as you can see, my hem band isn’t pattern matched at all. Unless you are really looking, I don’t think it stands out that much and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
The other thing I did with this pattern is sew all the side seams at a 5/8 inch seam allowance instead of the normal 1/2. Every time I make a dress from this pattern I think I should size down. I am too lazy to retrace all the pattern pieces though, so I thought taking in the seam allowance instead would help. It did, except remember I mentioned the Mini fabric pretty much had no stretch… I probably could have kept the seam allowance at 1/2 for this one, but on something with a little more give, I know the 5/8 will do rather than cutting out the XS. I already have material for another one, and a request for a little bit of self-less sewing. Maria, I will be getting with you soon. 🙂
I am very happy with my Mini Cooper dress and considering the fabric splurge on the specialty material, the final product ended up costing me pretty much the same as most all of the dresses I make. That contrasting material worked out just fine after all: aesthetically and financially. And since I didn’t get any good close up pics with my car, here is one from right after I made the dress that has already shown up on the blog once before.
I would love to hear any and all thoughts on this dress. What do you think about the fabric contrasting? Maybe you know where to find more Mini Cooper material… Let me know. Thanks for reading!
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