Fishy Business

Super cheap dress alert!  Sewaholic’s Lonsdale dress is not really known online for its frugality and I will freely admit that I used over 5 metres to construct it.  However, it was very cheap to make due to an amazing shop in Tokyo that sells fabric for 100 yen a metre (about 60p/EU0.75/US$1) – I seriously miss that shop now!  At the time, I couldn’t decide between two or six metres, and I am so glad I went all in for six metres!  Even so, I had to do some creative cutting to make sure the fish were all heading the same way, leaving me with a lot of awkwardly shaped fragments. I think they may reappear as pockets and contrasting parts of Datura and Sorbetto tops in the future, but for now, they’re just swimming about in my bag of scraps!  I have worn this dress to death at weddings, parties, and nights out in sweaty Singapore, and it is a dress that begs to be twirled and danced in.  As you may have guessed, I love this dress and will be making many more versions in the future…

20130822-155316.jpgThe pattern I used is Sewaholic’s Lonsdale dress, and there are tons of beautiful examples all over the internet showing just how well loved this dress is. The ones that persuaded me to go for it were Ginger Makes’s beautiful flowery version , Sew Busy Lizzy’s daisy extravaganza and this really unusual (but lovely) dragon extravaganza. I really wasn’t sure if this style would suit me, but I thought it was worth a try. This pattern was my first forary into indie patterns after learning to sew purely from Burda magazines and Japanese language patterns (hurray for lots of pictures!), and it was such a breath of fresh air to have so many well-written instructions and pictures after Burda’s often complete lack of them!

This dress has everything I could possibly dream of and is perfect for Singapore’s hot and humid weather. The fabric looks like a kind of printed seersucker and is very light, but luckily dark enough that I did not have to line it (I made another version out of spotty fabric and had to hastily line it with a chopped up bed sheet once my husband pointed out that you could see my pants!!).  The dress has a dimpled look when it comes out of the wash with regularly spaced indentations; if anyone can identify the fabric, I’d love to know what it is!20130822-155205.jpg

The Lonsdale has pockets which are deep enough for bus passes, keys, phones, and even a very slim book! They are also so neatly fitted that they don’t bulk out too much when they are full so there are no weird lumps all over the place – hurray! I had a few fitting issues with the bodice which I solved by adding a few centimetres of fashion fabric to the back, although this does mean it gapes horrendously at the neckline…  I think I just need to do a FBA rather than going up a size, so I think I will definitely be attempting that next time.  It’s incredibly lazy of me to have not to have done this especially as Tasia has up a ton of links to help here.  Next time, next time…!  20130822-155341.jpg

This pattern is a breeze to put together, but it does take a LOT of time because of the long, looooong halterneck ties.  Don’t try to put it together the day you are planning to wear it (like me) or you may end up fudging bits (like I did…).  Tasia’s instructions are really friendly and very picture heavy.  There was also a sew-a-long a while ago which is really helpful if you like to see exactly how things go together.
There are multiple ways to tie the halterneck straps to give you a looser or tighter look depending on how you feel, and again, the very organised Tasia has a tutorial on this here.  This woman is a regular superwoman!

I’m off to go out twirling in my dress, but I will be back very soon with photos of yet another Anna!  What is the cheapest dress you have ever made?  Was it a pattern you expected?  And can anyone identify the mystery fabric?!  Also, did you see this?  I know it’s completely unrelated, but it’s so exciting!  Maybe I should make a space dress to celebrate…


17 responses to “Fishy Business

  1. Wow, I love this dress! Your choice of fabrics is just excellent, and so much fun!
    I muslined the Lonsdale bodice a few weeks back, taking out quite a bit of gape at the neckline. I promised myself to sew it up after my exam, which takes place today! Ack!
    Wow, Voyager is so mesmerizing. I love reading about it. Funnily, I made a top last week with a space fabric (will blog it soon!), so I’ll dedicate it to Voyager!

    • Wow! A space top! That sounds AMAZING! Voyager is just incredible – I love the idea of it floating about up there, finding new worlds… Maybe we should post new space things every time Voyager does something that ends up in the news? I think I need to find some space fabric now…!

      Can’t wait to see your Lonsdale! Very glad to hear it wasn’t just my scrawny back making the backline (is that the opposite of the neckline?!) gape! I’m sure yours will be much more professional than mine!

      • That is a great idea! There’s not nearly enough space prints in my life! This one looks like a nebula.
        How about the Astronaut fabric you were talking about? That sounds freaking awesome!

      • Ooh! Nebula fabric sounds AMAZING! My astronaut fabric is on the way to being turned into a Reglisse (the Deer and Doe pattern), but I don’t quite have enough to finish it! Grrr! Looks like I might have to go fabric shopping again…! We will do it then! Space prints for Voyager, here we come!

  2. This looks great! You always have the greatest fabrics. These little fishies are so much fun!

    I think my cheapest dress was about 3€. Thank you IKEA fabric! Then again, it doesn’t fit at all and I never wear it, so those 3€ probably weren’t the greatest investment I’ve made. 😉

    • Thank you! They are very jolly little fish, aren’t they? I think the look of the fabric makes me feel cooler too – does that make me crazy? 😉IKEA fabric was a big weakness for me too – I made a maxi dress out of some spring onion fabric once! What dress pattern did you use and can you re-fit it? I’d love to see it!

    • Thank you, Carla! I wish I’d bought more of this fabric because it’s perfect for Singapore’s humidity and so jolly! I love your blog btw! It has the greatest name and helps me practice my German! 😀

  3. This is fab – I love your fishy print and the Lonsdale looks great with the contrast belt.
    I’m a complete sucker for cheap fabric, but it just means I end up buying stuff I don’t particularly like simply because it is inexpensive – this, however, is lovely!

    • Thank you! Ha ha! Cheap fabric calls out to me too, but luckily this one really is useful and nice! How’s it going with the super slippery fabric? I’m far too much of a wimp to be as brave as you!

  4. I’ve just found your blog and this post with a beautiful fabric! I cannot find your email anywhere so decided to ask in the comment – could you give me a name or directions for the 100 yen fabric shop in Tokyo? I’ll be visiting Tokyo this Summer and I’d love to visit this place! *^v^*
    Thank you in advance!

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