Doing the polka with Violet


I made a BlueGingerDoll Violet to go back to work in. I thought, if I’m not exactly feeling dotty about going back to work after two weeks off, I can at least look dotty. Here she is!

All the dots

All the dots

And here am I modelling her in a stairwell…

IMG_1741 IMG_1754

Pretty awesome hey? I used some super cheap super interesting double border print knit stuff that is as light as candy floss and sticks to everything with any kind of rough texture. It’s kind of like the soft bit on velcro. I found this out when I got it stuck to the scratchy bit of a piece of velcro. Boy did this stuff grip on. As you can imagine it was pretty horrible to sew with, though not as horrible as I feared. I guess I’m used to sewing with cheap floppy slippy knits now! As per the very good instructions I reinforced shoulder and some other seams with stay tape, though I used clear plastic elastic instead of he recommended unstretchy tape for the waist band seam: a girl’s got to be able to eat lunch you know. I cut size 20 at the shoulders grading to size 24 at the waist and hip which was good. The waist is actually about 5 inches too small technically, but I like a snug fit! I didn’t lengthen the bodice piece which was silly seeing as I am 5 foot ten with a long torso and big boobs that the fabric has to travel over, so I ended up adding in a three inch piece of black ribbing at the bottom of the bodice piece. I like this, it’s like a belt without a buckle and looks quite slimming. When I make this dress again, I would add about 3-4 inches into the bodice piece.


As you can see I had a lot of fun playing around with the double border print fabric using its shrinking and growing dots to a pretty ‘jazzy’ effect! The Violet has lots of different pieces (i.e two yoke pieces, a bodice piece and a skirt piece on the front) which allow you to colour or pattern block like crazy. I used different size dots for different pieces using the smallest ones at the middle to hopefully optimistically create a sort of  slimming effect. One thing that I found very off about this fabric was that it stretched lengthways instead of horizontally, so there is very little ease/movement in it when sewed up using the dots as I did. It would look odd to have the dots getting smaller or larger horizontally wouldn’t it? It works though, and hasn’t stretched downwards yet.

Deformed shoulders pose

Deformed shoulders pose

I combined the back yoke and back bodice piece to make one piece at the back, so it wasn’t too fussy. (Ha you say, are you kidding yourself? It’s got aaalll the dots all over the place!).I did a ribbing t-shirt style collar binding to match my tummy ribbing, though you can use the main material. My neckline had stretched out rather a lot in the handling of it so I would definitely recommend stay stitching it at the beginning, especially if you are using a light weight fabric. I didn’t actually bother doing the signature ruching at the bust because I thought it would make the neckline too low for work. I will do it in the next version but I will make the neckline slightly higher and cut a slightly thicker bit of ribbing for the neckline binding.

Twin needling on this fabric was pretty horrid, especially because I didn’t want the skirt to be too short so used a tiny hem allowance. The hem is a bit wobbly in places….

Please avert your eyes

Please avert your eyes

But the fabric is busy enough to let me get away with it. I really like this pattern and will definitely make another. I have one MAJOR problem with it though. It comes with different sleeve lengths and a pencil as well as full skirt option (this is the full skirt, long sleeves option, obvs). I was surprised to see that even with full sleeves and full skirt, this pattern was said to only need 1.6 metres of 150cm wide fabric. I had this in a different ikat style jersey print, and folded this on a double fold as the pattern recommended, and there was NO WAY my pattern pieces would fit on it. The skirt piece would not fit on at all, let alone have room to spare as the layout suggested. I ended up using about 2- 2.5m (hard to tell as I cut it up weirdly due to pattern placement). Has anyone else had this problem??


Otherwise, I think the Violet is a grand pattern. I feel very smart in the dress, and it is super comfy. If you haven’t already….Make one! And tell me about it!

Oh, can we just take a moment to appreciate my pretty new shoes….


Thanks bye!

30 thoughts on “Doing the polka with Violet

  1. Happy New Year to you as well! I think you look fabulous! And you did a great job with the dots… I would’ve been interested to see the horizontal graduation of the dots myself; I don’t think you need to worry about what looks “slimmer”, I’m at least as wide as you and get the most compliments from my horizontally striped shirts… I think it depends on the pattern (of the fabric) itself and wouldn’t’ve mattered at all with this one. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a knit dress where the dots graduate horizontally, and I get compliments on that one too.

    I’ve only done one Blue Gingerdoll pattern, Bonnie, and it was a PDF to boot; very poorly scanned copy is what I got, as well as poorly fitting pages – I had to cut out the pattern pieces to get the lines to match. And yes their fabric requirements and pattern layouts leave much to be desired, it said I should need 1.65 yards (I’m assuming as they didn’t actually specify which metric was which) and I had 2.5 yards which barely made it. I didn’t care for their “order of battle” either on the instructions, but maybe Violet is better in that respect – I’m hesitant to get another pattern from them.

    But it came out great and your polka dots made my day – looking forward to your next post.


    • Very Happy New Year!
      I am also a massive horizontal stripe fan, and would have liked to have used these horizontally but the pattern is too big and I would have looked all lopsided! Another dress I made at Christmas (soon to be blogged) had horizontal chevrons and it’s awesome.

      I am very interested to hear that you had the same experience with the fabric requirements: I really thought I was going mad. I even tried fitting the pieces on in the smallest size the pattern comes in and they wouldn’t have fit! The instructions and PDF pieces were good though: I’m sad to hear that the Bonnie was so tricksy. I am planning on sewing the Peggy skirt soon… Fingers crossed it’s ok! I would recommend the Violet fabric requirements aside though: maybe give her a whirl?


  2. It looks great and I particularly like your photo shoot location and improvised ribbing belt. I too had some knit fabric with a border print that could only used sensibly cut at right angles to the grain, I spent ages dithering because I didn’t want to ruin my lovely fabric but in the end decided a dress that is worn for 6 months and then goes baggy is better than some fabric in the corner not worn at all. So far so good with the dress. But I couldn’t find any advice on cutting border prints online, maybe they’re usually wovens and that isn’t so much of an issue??


    • It’s very off the issue of border print knits. I have another with humming birds at the bottom and the stretch goes vertically instead of horizontally. WHYYYYY? I’ll just have to suck it up I guess. I think you definitely had the right approach with yours: glad it has turned out a success!


  3. Okay so two things:

    1) That dress looks frickin amazing on you! I looooove the polkadots and the black band in the centre looks fabulous! I am so over the moon with how you look! 😀 😀

    2) You’re lucky you aren’t closer to me, because I might have to steal the shoes and the dress. OMG!

    In summation: you rock.


  4. This dress is AWESOME! I completely totally 100% love what you did with the border print. Sorry to hear that the fabric was so fussy, but I hope it will hold up for you, because this looks amazing on you. I am almost speechless, which just never happen!!! You totally rocked it!


  5. *Squeals with excitement*!!!! This dress is my next-up sewing project. I absolutely love yours. Great work on the pattern placement with the varying polka dots, And as for the shoes……sublime! I’m going to give the pencil skirt version a shot first. And did i mention it’s going to be python print?!? x


  6. I think this may be my favorite make yet! Its hard to believe that you’ve been sewing for such a short time. Congratulations on a gorgeous, fun dress and, of course, FANTASTIC shoes!


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