Creation: Mortmain Frock

I feel a warning is in order. If you plan to invite me to a party in the upcoming fall/winter season you will be seeing this dress. I love wearing it and I feel totally pretty in it. This dress will probably celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, plus it has the opportunity to see two musicals (American Idiot and Kristina från Duvemåla). Not too shabby for one dress! It also gets to make an appearance during The Monthly Stitch’s Frocktober.

Mortmain (16)
Happy about my new dress (and ran into a wet bush on the way to take photos)

The pattern is Gather Kits’ Mortmain dress. I have made an FBA, which I talked about in my process post along with other alterations. The pattern was great to work with, I loved that it was printed on a sturdy paper, as opposed to the tissue paper that’s often used. I even got it back in its envelope the same way I took it out! Since I’m a tracer at heart I much prefer sturdy paper. Since I am learning the ropes of the FBA, this pattern, with the dart placement is an excellent base to accommodate for a fuller bust. However, I think the darts are still a bit too long.

Bodice closeup
Bodice closeup

The fabric is a cotton satin with about 5% lycra. It’s quite heavy, but I think it works for this dress. It’s very comfortable to wear due to the lycra. Of course the main attraction of this dress is the exposed zipper in the back. For this type of dress, it’s so perfect! A calssaci silhouette and bam! Some excitement in the back. My zipper ended up a bit too low, so I had to add a hook and eye at the top of the seam. I don’t think it distracts too much from the design.

La pièce de résistance
La pièce de résistance

Since I already had decided that this is a winter party dress I wanted to add some decorative stitching. My first idea was to do it in a silver metallic thread, but after doing half the neckline I started to feel bad for my machine and took them all out. All I had to show for that evening of sewing was small bits of metallic thread all over my sewing and reading rooms. And myself. Plus a silver stitch on a teal dress really makes the dress look like an ornamented Christmas tree. It was a little too much. In the end I did the same stitch but in regular black thread instead. Still fun, but not over the top.

Decorative stitches for neckline, armholes and hem
Decorative stitches for neckline, armholes and hem

The other instance in which I had to break out my seam ripper was a total “what was I thinking?”-moment. I had made my armhole facings and was set to attach them. I found which piece was front and back and pinned accordingly. It didn’t quite fit, but I pulled and tugged and got it in to sew. I did the other one, which fitted perfectly, and turned to look at my first one. Sure I had set the front in the front, but I had pinned the whole thing upside down. Nothing to do but rip and replace. Such a stupid mistake!

As I mentioned in my process post I interfaced the waistband and did a self-lining, all inspired by Mary of Idle Fancy. I hope it will hold the dress up better, especially since I have stretchy fabric to begin with, plus it looks quite nice, don’t you think? The waistband feature was one I liked about this pattern, since it’s not seen very often these days. All the edges are overlocked. The suggestion from the pattern was to use pinking shears on the facings’ raw edges. I did overlock them too because for one I don’t own pinking shears and secondly overlocked raw edges are bound to hold up better. There are facings around the armholes and necklines, I know some prefer to use bias tape instead, I’m on team facings. I do however find the need to topstitch armhole facings to keep them in place. The exposed zip is sewn, close to the teeth, with the wrong side of the fabric folded out, then the excess fabric is trimmed and the zipper is sewn again close to the edge, hiding all raw edges.

Overlocked edges and faced and lined waistband
Overlocked edges and faced and lined waistband (and some stray threads)

I enjoyed working with this pattern. The instructions were very clear and the glossary of sewing terms in the back was great to keep the flow going without explanations of terms mid-text. My one problem with this dress is I have nothing to wear with it. I think a good option would be a cropped jacket, such as New Look 6080. Yes, then I’d have one party outfit, but maybe all you need are few great pieces, with some variation potential in terms of accessories (perhaps the Tallis collar drafted for this dress) and layering, because let’s be honest here: I don’t attend that many parties.

Do you go for a many special occasion pieces or is a few enough? Do you have a party invite for me so I can wear my new, lovely dress? Do you get the Mortmain reference (I don’t) and why is it that there as so few of them on blogland?


6 thoughts on “Creation: Mortmain Frock

  1. Well done Helena, this is really gorgeous! Love that decorative stitching, it’s such a nice touch! I’m afraid I don’t have a party invite for you but hey, who says you need a party to wear a party dress 😉

    ps the Mortmain reference is from I capture the castle by Dodie Smith, one of mine and Sandra’s fave novels. All of our patterns are named after fictional characters we love!

    1. Thanks! It was a joy to work with the pattern, loved that it was printed on actual paper and not tissue.

      I’ve never heard of that book… Luckily the dress still rocks!

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