When it was older sister's turn to choose fabrics, she picked out a rose-print woven cotton pique, purchased for $4/yd during a FabricMart sale last year. I was curious about the fabric's lineage, and thanks to the magic of Google, discovered that it was from a Land's End dress line a couple seasons back.
It's funny, if I had seen this dress at Land's End, I would have thought "meh," and scrolled past it. I don't think the lines of the dress make the best use of the fabric. But when I saw the fabric swatch at FabricMart, I couldn't stop thinking about it until I had purchased it.
During my Google investigation, I also found a few projects using the same fabric, including this incredible ball gown. I think it is stunningly beautiful, so click over and have a look!
It took me a few days to figure out what pattern to use. Big sister is so skinny and the print was so big that I didn't want it to overwhelm her. Ultimately I decided on a simple silhouette.
I got Simplicity 4927 at a thrift store for 50 cents. View A, with sleeves, looks very Becky Homecky to me. But View B, a sleeveless a-line shift, is a classic design that reminded me of the dresses my Babushka made for me when I was a girl.
The dress is simple enough - three pattern pieces if you don't count the facings. And I didn't. I wanted the dress to be cool and summery and facings felt a little fussy for that. I decided to try an invisible bias finish on the neck and arms instead.
As you can see, I did not achieve a perfect finish. Though the neckline does pucker slightly against the stitching, it now lays flat against the body when worn. Not so with my first attempt, which was poke-out city. I had to take it out and redo it, helped in large part by this great post from Grainline Studio. I had neglected to clip the neckline sufficiently the first time around, but another go-round with the scissors fixed the problem.
After it was all sewn up I decided that it needed something. I searched the stash and found some trim that I had picked up at the grocery store (yes) when we lived in Georgia. I think it suits the lines of the dress and the fabric perfectly, and it further reminds me of things my grandmother used to sew.
A big yellow button from the stash to complete the mod feel, and I was done.
I searched for a photo of myself wearing the dress that I was thinking of when I sewed this, but I couldn't find one. However, I do still have the doll dress that my Babushka made to match. When I pulled it out (after the dress was all sewn up) I couldn't believe it - it was exactly the same dress with exactly the same construction. Granted, this construction was not at all difficult. I did have to modify the back opening after I opted out of the facings, and it makes me smile to know that I did it the same way Babushka did when she made this little doll dress.
A-line shape - check. Cool structured fabric (in this case cotton faille) - check.
Invisible bias neckline - check. Seamed back with simple button closure - check.
However, Babushka's bias-finished neckline and armholes didn't pucker at all. And she finished them by hand. I could have learned a lot from her.
She would have loved the dress.