This project involves a lot of ideas coming together hopefully into a good summer dress. I’ve been looking at the multitude of tiered dress patterns which have become available over the last few years and it’s put me in a bit of a dilemma. On the face of it, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a tiered dress type of person. I generally like things to be more fitted. I also hate to be drawn in by hype but the tiered dress has been wheedling away in the back of my mind and I decided I must have a go if only to confirm that I’m not a tiered dressed kind of person.
I used a fabric provided by Minerva.com to make this very feminine dress. It’s a polyester charmeuse satin in a very bold floral pattern on a predominantly pink base – who am I? There was a time in my life where I would have not gone near this print with a barge pole, even after I grew beyond the all-black-everything stage, it was solids and monochrome all the way. There was a recent conversation around beauty standards and ageism when a lazy article regurgitated ‘rules’ for what women over a certain age should wear. It dictated that florals are ageing. As I said I never wore florals as a young woman, but as I get older I actually feel freer to wear prints and patterns that I would have been self conscious about before. Do I like florals more now because I’m older? Is this where all middle-aged women end up? Or is it because I DGAF about what people think now?
On to the pattern, I’m still telling myself I’m going to learn to draft patterns and when I look at these types of dresses I can’t help but think “come on you could do that”. I’m trying to use my pattern stash but I didn’t think I had anything like this in the stash. However, I did have a relatively recently purchased Rachel Comey Vogue pattern V1618 which has a lovely floaty blouse and wide-leg cropped trousers. I looked at this and I thought that it could be hacked into a kind of floaty tiered dress.
I decided that if I lengthen the body pieces and widen the shape I could have a very nice floaty dress without too much additional gathering because I think it’s the gathering and fullness that I’m not entirely sure about.
The pattern has the always ominous-looking Advanced/Difficile classification but I’m a Vogue Patterns veteran, I scoff! So I embarked on what was becoming a bigger and bigger project all the time and started by tracing the pattern. I must confess to always having been a pattern slasher until joining the sewing community. However, when I look at the pattern I can see the maximum size it goes up to is size 14. I’m pretty sure that I was already bigger than size 14 when I bought this pattern so I think I’ve snatched this up in the sale not checking which size band I needed. It’s a good job then that I decided to hack this pattern, because now I’m going to have to grade it up a couple of sizes as well.
OK so here goes. It looks like there’s a lot of French seaming in this pattern as well as a ‘burrito’ yoke which is presumably where the Advanced/Difficile designation comes from. Many of the pieces such as the top yoke are cut on the cross-grain which is something I don’t think I’ve come across before. I’m not sure if it will make a difference but it just jumped out as an atypical feature with patterns I’ve sewn before. To extend to a dress, I added 60cm to bring it to ankle length and then fanned out to give the flare. I wanted to keep the shirt tail shape. However, I baulked at going the full width of the top and hope it’s not too narrow.
As this print has so many colours in it, I sewed it using my rainbow thread. I think it would be impossible to choose a thread to blend in. I’m really happy how it turned out on the gathered yoke and on the cuffs. The hem was obviously extremely long but the rolled hem foot gods were with me that day and I finished it smoothly without any drama.
On size and fit, in retrospect I think I needn’t have gone up two sizes. The pattern is so voluminous I could have got away with it as it was. I was thinking I’d be wearing this loose like a tiered dress but this definitely gave me nightgown vibes so belted is a must for me. I made a belt in the self fabric but I don’t think it stands out enough to be seen. The only issue I have with it is the hem, it is a shirt tail style but the volume and the slippery fabric makes it hard to see and it looks a bit random, but I think it works.
I think I can claim this dress as a showstopper. I’ve never worn anything quite this eye-poppingly floral before but I’m absolutely not mad at it, in fact I love it. One in the eye for anyone pushing the ‘florals aren’t for oldies’ mantra. I wore this out to dinner with my mates in the blousey knee length incarnation then later wore it for our anniversary date as a maxi.
What’s your take on the florals debate?
Thanks for dropping by,