Originally I wanted to make a day version of the Six Nap Dress with a black bodice and a tartan skirt: something weighty that would eliminate the need for many metres of fabric. I learnt from the dress’ designer, Masayo Yasuki of dogstar clothing, that the skirt has 8 metres of organza and 6 metres of lining. With so much silk in there, I figured there had to be something very simple and not fiddly in the way it’s designed, otherwise surely the dress would be more expensive than it was (it retailed at £380). But what went on in there? Lots of deep pleats, all the same length (which wasn’t obvious to me till Stephanie pointed it out), and then two extra squares of fabric inserted, one at the front and one at the back, to give those bias dips. It added up: two more metres in the organza than in the lining.
I had 1.5m of very cheap (but not all that nasty) white polyester lying around. It feels soft but has weight and movement… and a slightly non-flat, puckered texture that I’ve recently noticed on quite a few H&M and TopShop garments. I attempted to tye-dye it – imagine the contrast of white against a patterned deep blue, had it worked. Unfortunately it doesn’t get very wet, this fabric, and so the overall effect is a kind of faded blue with a few interesting patched of deeper colour which you probably can’t see.
One difficulty I’ve encountered on this project is that most of the draping and pinning of the skirt during the experimental stage has been done with the fabric on the crossgrain, for convenience’ sake. That way you get the width for all those pleats. But I was never happy with the fall of the fabric so this time I cut it up into 72cm pieces and joined them. Then I pressed up and hemmed everything. I attached it to the bodice, pleating going a bit slapdash by this stage, and I also attached it to the long side zip. Ah, the joy of finally being able to try it on! Then I ripped open the original joins (one at the front and one at the back) to insert kite-shaped pieces which hang on the bias, dipping just below the hem. But they’re too small to make an impression of a deliberate style.
In a previous comment, Ruth joked that her own version of the dress is more of a Three Nap than Six. In which case I better name this One. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything so sloppy (inside it has the finish of a Great British Sewing Bee garment, all unfinished seams and unmatched thread!).
Having conceived this challenge as far back as in May, I’m keen to move on to other projects. But this half-hearted draft isn’t a good enough note on which to exit. So I’m going fabric shopping and maybe the right tartan or even organza will show up. Though I’d be much more happy to spend money on the latter if I felt I knew what I was doing.
Which I don’t!