Halfway through making this dress, I started to wonder if there’s such a thing as too many gathers? Am I making a dress, a tent or a parachute? To tell the truth, while in the middle of creating all these gathers, I almost abandoned ship. It’s no joke gathering up more than 10 metres of flounce. But I stuck it out, mainly out of curiosity – would the end product be wearable or over-the-top? Would it be age-appropriate? Would I end up looking like an Anime too-cutesy waif?
This sewing pattern began as the Rozan Top by Fibre Mood, and I hacked it into a dress. What I pictured in my mind was an ultra-voluminous super frilly frock. Let’s power up the flounce factor, and see what turns out when it’s done. That was the initial thought that fuelled this “dress-periment”. The volume would be accentuated if I increased the gathers multiplied by 2 for successive tiers instead of by 1.5 as suggested in the original pattern. To do so, I had to redraft the front and back ruffle pieces of the paper pattern to make them longer in breadth. In addition, I shortened the height (by about 4.5 inches) of these same pattern pieces because this would also increase the volume if the tiers were shorter in terms of height. Then the added-on successive two tiers were both 7 inches in height, with each tier doubling up in breadth measurements compared to the one before it.
The result is this parachute-dress, which I sort of hated at first. The shape seemed out of balance, and out of proportion. The main problem I had with it was that it was too short. And I’ve run out of fabric to add more tiers to lengthen the garment. Even if I did have more fabric, would I have the stamina and endurance to add on the remaining tiers? I’ve seemed to have aged 3 years within 3 days of non-stop gathering action. (Yes, it took that long because of procrastination techniques described in the next paragraphs.) That would mean gathering up 12 more metres! And the tier after that would be 24 metres, and the tier after would be 48 metres. I was actually quite happy that I didn’t have enough fabric to see that through. If not, I would still be gathering up the dress instead of writing this blog at this very moment. Besides, the end-result of that fantasy midi-length creation would result in an air-balloon instead of a dress. And that thought was strangely appealing to me: I sometimes am drawn to do gargantuanly time-consuming tasks when it comes to sewing, and be sucked into a sewing vacuum as a result.
Needless to say, these thoughts that I harboured in the middle of the sewing process were discouraging the completion of it. And I began to distract myself from the project with procrastination techniques like bingeing on Korean Dramas on Netflix. I must have gone through at least 3 separate melodramas in 5 days. They made the tedious job of gathering up tiers more bearable. And also more challenging because the task of evening out the gathering stitches while reading subtitles is quite a feat. I had to constantly balance where my eyeballs would focus on. This made the bland and tedious task of gathering more exhilarating, and also more emotional, since I would find myself sobbing at the tear-jerking moments of these annoyingly manipulative sentimental soaps.
At some point, my hate for this monster-dress slowly turned into love. I don’t know how or when it happened. It probably mirrored the same journey that these K-drama (too-gorgeous, probably plastic/botox-modified) protagonists were going through when they suddenly found themselves slowly and secretly falling in love with their (equally too-skin-perfect with great hair) nemeses. What I once thought were flaws in the dress became charming to me. The too-many-ruffles and over-the-top volume and too-short-length became adorable, and even lovable. And the swelling music during these K-Drama moments provided the right score for my doubting heart to fall hopelessly in love with the dress/tent/parachute.
Another factor that encouraged me to keep going and keep gathering was the perfectly-perfect fabric that I had the privilege of holding in my hands. Perhaps I was procrastinating because I didn’t want this sewing project to end, just like I didn’t want these K-Dramas to ever come to a conclusion. I must confess that I’ve always loved the fabric from the start, and I didn’t want to stop touching this loveliness. This wonderful Egyptian Cotton Lawn from Storrs London Fabrics affectionately named “Lala” is to die for. The print isn’t double-sided, but it almost is because of the high-quality screen-printing. There were times when I mistook the right side for the wrong side of the fabric. The colours are so vibrant and it has a lovely combination of my favourite shades – pink, orange, purple and mustard. It has an incredibly smooth and soft hand. It is light-weight but also sturdy when working with it. This is one of those fabrics that is a dream to cut, press and sew with. And when the finished garment is on the skin, it feels luxurious and practical at the same time. I want more Storrs London Fabric the same way I want more K-Drama procrastination! Big thanks to Minerva for gifting this precious silkiest cotton to me as part of the Minerva Brand Ambassadors Program.
The Rozan Top sewing pattern comes in size XS-XXXL, with the largest size catering to a 146cm bust measurement. I made an in-between size of XS and S, but I think it would have fit just as well if I had made a size XS. It’s relatively easy to sew, and is very doable for beginners who are not afraid of making buttonholes or ruffles. However, I would like to remind those who don’t have that much experience sewing in sleeves that the Fibre Mood instructions are lacking the crucial detail of easing in the sleeves when sewing it to the bodice. Gathering stitches have to be sewn to the sleeve cap between the notches, and slightly gathered so that the sleeves can be attached. I also did some hand-stitching along the whole edge of the neck facing to the bodice so that the former would sit flush agains the latter.
There are some stellar details in this top: the V-neck, the sleeves ruffles and the front button placket. I also like how the front and back bodices have these curved lines, angling in a flattering slope in the opposite direction of the V-neckline and rounding slightly towards the back. This top can purchased as a PDF pattern and also be found in the Fibre Mood Magazine 13, and it can be purchased by clicking on the image below which has an affiliate link:
I will end off with the Top 5 list of Korean Dramas that I really enjoyed:
- It’s OK Not To Be OK
- Itaewon Class
- Crash Landing On You
- My Name
But be warned, the following may lead to major addiction/procrastination problems. Happy bingeing, happy sewing! And here’s a link to my Instagram feed which shows you how the dress moves, twirls and swishy swirls: