Sunday, January 22, 2012

Showing my roots

No, not the ever-increasing collection of grey ones on my head, these roots:

My Mum is English, as is my paternal grandfather, but really that's just an excuse for the fact that I've always liked the Union Jack (which I vaguely recall hearing on a Dr Who episode is really the Union Flag unless it's at sea) as a graphic image. And I like how it looks on clothes. The NZ flag is a Union Jack in the corner of a navy blue flag, so it's pretty much my flag too. The idea of appliqueing the flag onto a simple dress has been percolating for a while, and yesterday was the day.

This one is for Isabella. I'm trying out my size four A-line dress block on her(104cm height). As she won't be four till May, I'm very happy with how this fits her. The slight rise at the armhole edge of her left shoulder is the most obvious sign that the dress is a bit big, and within my "I can live with it" tolerance. She is a very enthusiastic and willing model.

But "stand still" pretty much doesn't register at all. That blur to the left of her visible leg in the pic below is her other leg.

Being the stickler for accuracy that I am I didn't want my Union Jack to be reminiscent of the flag, I wanted it to be precisely correct in it's proportions. (Yeah, accuracy in proportion is one thing, colour is another!) It took three seconds on Google to find how to accurately draw the flag, and from there I made a full-scale diagram on a full-front pattern outline. The photo is a bit faint, sorry.


After cutting the fabric strips and stitching them on the front looked like this.

I spent as much time with the iron as I did with the machine I think - making sure all the fabrics were perfectly wrinkle free before marking and cutting the strips (with scissors because I keep forgetting to get new rotary cutter blades) and after applying each strip, none of which are fused in any way. Not to have pressed every time would have invited distortions, which would magnify with each successive layer. If you want to know more about why pressing is so essential, go read the Pressinatrix.

I could reduce the thickness of the appliqued layers by stencilling the red areas onto a single cut out of the white areas, which I think would be sensible for smaller sizes.


  1. Can't believe the twins will be 4 this year already! Very cute dress and I'm sure my heritage doesn't make me biased at all, lol.

  2. OMG blogger is making me nuts! It keeps blanking out people's blogs when I try to comment (or perhaps they're just trying to tell me something...).

    Anyway, if it makes you feel better, I noticed immediately that your proportions were correct.

    This dress is ADORABLE. I totally have to make something like this for the girls this summer (we like to mix it up on the Fourth of July by letting them wear a combination of the American flag and the Union... uh... flag.)

    Also, and most importantly, I am TOTALLY IMPRESSED that you learned (and taught) something based on DOCTOR WHO. That is just sheer awesomeness.

  3. What a great idea. It's very cute!

  4. Another way of reducing the thickness would be to GLUE!! Kiss Kiss!!

  5. Ooooo.... Check this out on Pinterest: