Smug mug… I’ve been working on three dresses over the last couple weeks, each one a variation of the Simplicity 8640 Handkerchief Hem dress. No surprise – I changed up the hem to be more exaggerated, and I drafted a V-neck option as well!
It’s 94 degrees outside, and I’m taking full advantage of the drape and float of rayon challis. This little number is a play on the Grainline Studio Felix dress.
I apologize for the ‘bad’ photos. I was using my camera phone, had it propped on a pillow in a chair, and I just didn’t feel like getting picky. But I do love this pattern. The neckline is so flattering, comfortable, and feminine. See the zebras? This challis is from Fabric Mart’s ‘Famous Dress Designer’, snagged on sale at $4.20/yard. So cute!
I recently redrafted my Felix pattern to size 6 (my previous pattern was size 8, and it was way too big on me).
As in past versions, I did not line this dress. It’s so simple to make without a lining.
I also cut both sides of the bodice using the right bodice pattern pieces. This puts evenly-distributed fabric weight into the bodice/skirt seam. And it bypasses the tricky sewing of the band, as described in the original pattern. IMHO, that band treatment alone can be very off-putting and significantly raises the difficulty level of this dress.
A tip on the band: rather than use fusible interfacing, I underlined the band with lightweight poly/cotton broadcloth. All those bias edges are challenging enough without having a fusible shrink the fabric. Honestly, I seldom use fusible interfacing now, it’s just too likely to compromise the shape, size, and appearance of a pattern piece. Shirt and coat-makers, do not cringe. There are some lovely fusible interfacings available for those garments.
For fun, I added 4″ to the midi-length hemline, and then I added a 5″ deep ruffle. Kicky 🙂
Since this version is sleeveless, I also trimmed about 5/8″ off the entire armscye before adding self-fabric bias binding.
This is actually my second dress with this design. The first is also in rayon challis from Fabric Mart, but overwhelmed with house decisions, I just posted it on Instagram. I also wore it for 4 days running, while waiting impatiently for the zebras to arrive.
I do love to wear them on rainy days (that cozy factor) and in the evening after my shower.
These have been in the sewing loft for over a week, pending photos. I do this all the time and I need to get them into my closet 🙂
This is my second pair of these super comfortable and cute PJs (first version here). Making them – layout, cutting, construction – is a rather big project, but it’s also fun because of all the details.
I sewed a straight size 8, View B, which has the cuffs on sleeves and pant legs.
This wonderfully cool and wrinkle-free fabric is chocolate/off-white cotton/lycra poplin shirting from Fabric Mart’s NY Designer category. I looked at it for days before it went on sale for 60% off – I was really fortunate to get it.
Once again I applied bias edging details instead of piping. This time I used double-fold quilt binding, pressed open and cut to 2″ wide. It’s poly/cotton (no shrinking to speak of), and is a nice weight for an edging. It’s also available in a myriad of colors.
I like the fit of the pants so much that I’m planning a couple pairs to wear with a sleep shirt.
Something else got moved out of the loft this morning as well. This dress was on Emile for 4 weeks as part of the staging when the house was on the market!
Parting shot – my resident doves. I know they had a baby earlier this spring, because the three of them spent hours sitting together on the fence and ground-feeding once the juvenile was out of the nest. I had to take this photo from inside the house because they startle so easily. Beautiful.
More fun in the loft 🙂 Having finished my draft of the Patricia Rose dress, and having sewn a muslin, it’s time to enjoy.
My muslin went to a new home. The color is all wrong for me, and I was really annoyed by my print placement. It happens!
But I learned so much from this version. On to the next one, this time in a beautiful Ralph Lauren white/black stripe from Fabric Mart. It’s cotton/poly/elastane, described as suiting, but it’s very light, with just a bit of stretch both ways. It’s also opaque, and I have no issues with ‘see through’.
As before, I sewed the size 8, and I increased the neckline seam allowances from 1/4″ to 1/2″.
I also used my back and skirt variation, which has a fold to match the front fold (lots of info on the folds and skirt on my original post). I took these two pics outside, before our temp reached 91F. At which point I went inside!
My bananas print fabric was 46″ wide, this one is 53″ wide. I used 3 yards of both.
Playtime! I used an oversized pocket, centered on the side seam. The unfinished pocket is 11″ x 11 1/2″. After the top fold of 1 1/4″, it’s a bit wider than it is long.
Something I left out of my first post, I’m really happy with the seldom-seen armscye darts on the front bodice. I was afraid they would be pokey, but they’re perfect. Also shown, the solid white cotton/poly broadcloth facing, which prevents print shadows on the right side.
Cute! I’m not done with this pattern 🙂 It’s a wonderful palette for solids, stripes, large or abstract prints, and many substrates. I’m sewing summer now, and I cannot wear wool, but I think this would be beautiful- elegant – in a black wool woven or dupioni silk.
Or French terry – that middle ground between a woven and a knit.
This project has been in thinking mode for a long time! When it first came out, I bought the Patricia Rose dress because I had pinned a really pretty dress with a front and back bodice fold. The Rose seemed a possible starting point for something similar.
My stash is pretty thin right now, but I did have a cute linen/cotton/rayon shirting I picked up on a whim from Fabric Mart. It’s called Traveling Bananas, by the mysterious Better Hawaiian Dress Manufacturer. Does anyone know who this is? Tori Richards maybe? Anyway, it’s a beautiful fabric, a pleasure to sew and wear.
My drafting process.
Of course I wanted my back bodice fold to match up with the front fold. So I used the front to draft the back.
Next, the skirt. I’m not fond of inverted pleats in skirts – they just don’t wear well. So I took some width out of the front skirt, leaving just enough width for soft gathers. Since the bottom widths of my front and back bodice are the same, I used the same draft for the back skirt!
A few more sewing notes:
I sewed the size 8, based on my bust measurement plus some ease.
The pattern has 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere except the neckline and facings, which are 1/4″. That is totally contra-intuitive given the risk of stretch and ravel on the neckline bias curves. I drew my tissue with 1/2″ SA everywhere, so much safer.
I added 1″ to the length of the bodice, just above the area of the fold.
And added an additional 1 1/2″ to the length of the skirt.
My short sleeves are based on the original sleeve.
I used 1 3/4″ hem allowances on the sleeves and skirt, just to echo the bodice fold.
BTW, my fabric was 44″ wide by 3 yards. I had enough to cut pockets and long sleeves.
I happened to take a snap of the front before I folded the bodice. It’s actually rather nice.
Closeups of those pretty folds:
This project was so much fun that I was sorry to see it finished! Not really the end…I have a piece of striped fabric that has me back in the thinking mode.
Parting shot: David and Preston are in Beaver Creek, Colorado, for ski week. Preston is almost 10 and has been skiing for 3 years. Amazing, my little athlete, he actually does the expert slopes (moguls this year?) with his dad!