My daughter thinks that the woman on the pattern envelope for Amy Butler ‘Lotus’ is a vampire. I think it’s actually Amy Butler, laughing triumphantly at having got the whole world sewing again. I first became aware of this company a few years ago when John Lewis began stocking their fabrics in an otherwise tired and drab haberdashery department. Since then, this section of the store has enjoyed something of a revival and I always imagine that Butler’s inspiring fabrics and zingy marketing are to some extent to be thanked for that.
Last year, a friend made a beautiful and flattering version of the Lotus dress and, thinking I’d get similarly lucky, I asked to try out her pattern. It came with two warnings. With the cold summer that we’d had in 2012, my friend said she hadn’t got to wear her dress that much. Also, she warned that at the corners of the neckline, which are slightly less than 90°, the lining had a tendency to roll outwards. With these in mind, I drafted longer sleeves and put corded piping along the neckline so that the piping keeps the lining hidden away (the idea for the latter came from one of the Lotus reviews by 3 Hours Past.)
I found a very fine Liberty needlecord at Classic Textiles (44 Goldhawk Road, £5.50 a metre) and some matching lining which feels velvety, silky and cotton-like all at the same time but what it is I don’t know! It came from Unique Fabrics (28 Goldhawk Road). This dress was gonna be perfect for those days when it’s windy and cold but there are flowers everywhere (so it must be summer….)
The dress was easy and quick to make till I decided it needed a series of nip’n'tucks at the princess and waist seams to make it more flattering. I’m not sure all that adjustment has helped. The header picture is the best of at least a hundred photos I had taken. Some were so bad that after I downloaded them onto my laptop, it died. “It’s the dress, it makes you look twice the weight you are!” my husband said. I had to pause and think awhile, wondering if the comment was as insulting as I’d first thought! I put the dress on over some jeans and Converse - the kind of practical, mummy way I’d intended to wear it - but DH’s slow head-shaking made me jump out of them PDQ!
So what went wrong? Well, you tell me. Did I draft the sleeves bad? Is the fabric/lining too thick? Is the trapezium-skirt shape a no-no on me? Shall I wear it, dammit?!