Wednesday, 6 March 2019

In love with Maynard....


My Maynard Dress is finished…though my version may not be recognisable by its designer Lauren as I’ve taken substantial liberties with the interpretation. The Maynard Dress has only been recently published and designer Lauren of Elbe textiles is currently blogging a sew along so for any of you interested here's the link…


When I saw the dress being promoted on Instagram I was immediately taken with it because it was a zero waste pattern and my personal dressing aesthetic is always drawn to styles that are eastern and tribal. When the designer suggested it may need to be altered to suit a wearer of less than 5’5” (162cm) in stature this was another challenge to rise to as I’m 5’6” (165cm) and a bust size larger at 120cm than the largest grade the Maynard is published for. So essentially my figure is – 6”(15cm) shorter and 6” wider than what the dress is best supposed to suit…heh! we shall see!



The instructions are some of the best I’ve ever seen and the many diagrams are large and technically perfectly illustrated. Lauren writes in clear language that is right to the point for each step of the construction. For those new to the concept of “zero waste” the pattern sheet might look quite confounding! However, it is well explained how to apply it to the fabric and how to cut. I did actually diverge from that and cut my pattern into the sections because I wasn’t using a flat, smooth, continuous piece of textile under the pattern. As outlined in my previous blog I patched fabrics together to make the rectangle of 216cm x 140cm wide that was needed. This made it hard to transfer the markings and chalk lines because my fabric was lumpy and textured with seams so cutting the pattern sections apart to mark them was a more practical method.

I didn’t add any allowances to the side seams for 2 reasons - I knew there was a lot of natural ease allowed for and because I wasn’t going to sew conventional seams which would have taken up 2cm. I used my overlay and sew with 3-step zigzag method which allows for controlled fraying of the cut fabric edges. The seams are only overlaid 1cm so that was going to create a few extra cm of ease all around.

When I sewed the centre back inverted pleat I took note of the designers suggestion that the depth of this could be altered to suit the wearer. I decided to leave the entire middle of the pleat unsewed, sewing it a few cm only at the top and bottom. This allowed for the width of my back and ease of arm movement (always flapping those arms like an old chook). Another annoying thing about being an old chook is having rounded shoulders so I made a little downwards dart on either side of the pleat along the top....voila…the top back now accommodated the hunchback of Murrurundi…

alterations I made to the back

The fronts were constructed as per the pattern without alteration. However, I did add a large triangle gusset at each back shoulder arm opening to allow for my rippling biceps. This an alteration the designer takes into account that may be needed by some people and it is well explained how to go about this. I found it easy to do and a very satisfactory solution to getting a good fit at the armhole.




The length suits me just fine, hemlines above the ankle and at lower calf are my preference so I didn’t add anything to the original pattern.



I did sew a button high on the left breast and a loop to the edge of the right front so it could be looped up to hang off the button. This was done just because I like the folds that are created by doing that and served no other practical purpose. The dress folds very well over the bust and didn't require any closure for modesty. In the picture you can see another button at the centre front, but once again that was only added for embellishment. Where the dress crosses over it stays and doesn't need any assistance from closures.



Here's a picture of how the dress crosses over and is tied at the side...




 I finished the hem by turning it to the outside and over sewing it with all the tiny little strips that were cut off the sides of the fabric when the pieces were cut out at the beginning.  This may sound quite ditzy but I really liked the effect. Over time, as the garment is worn and washed I hope that lots of fibre will fray off to make it like a fuzzy braid.




Worn as a coat with front untied....



I like the garment worn either as a dress or loose and open as a coat. I will sell this first version of the Maynard but are definitely planning to add several versions in the future to my own wardrobe.  




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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au