Liberty for Spring

Wow- it’s the middle of April, and we were assailed with another snowstorm! The only rational response to Thursday’s thunder blizzard was to sew a mood brightening dress in cheery Liberty print. 

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I keep a modest amount of Liberty fabric on hand for similar emergencies.  I recently purchased this happy print from The Fabric Store during their Liberty sale.  I’ve made a fair amount of Liberty print button downs over the years- but an April snowstorm required a more significant floral response. 

This was a super quick project.  I used Simplicity 8295 with minimum hacking.  I added a back yoke facing- not called for in the pattern- but pretty essential in my book.  I simply cut two back yoke pieces instead of one.  To attach the yoke and facings, I follow excellent instructions from Grainline Studio with two options for yoke facings; the first is here and second option here.

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The only real change I made was to shorten the front band which originally ended at the waistline.  I shortened the band to mid chest.

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I cut a size 6 at the top- and the shoulders were plenty roomy.  I graded the waist and hips to a size 10 - all the better for biking! I also added 2 inches to the front and back hem length. 

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Yes- that is snow behind the small green plants!

Getting fancy with Vogue 1809

The invitation called for cocktail attire!   Whenever I am stumped for a fancy dress, I fall back on the most excellent Donna Karan Vogue 1809.  This pattern – now sadly out of print — has been my reliable go to when I need a dress for weddings and parties. The remarkable Vogue 1809 enjoys quite a following and has been lauded by many sewists- including Sarah Gunn at Goodbye Valentino. 

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Obviously, the dress is perfectly and simply drafted and the cut is classy.  I have made it with and without the open ended darts in the front and the back.  It always looks fabulous.  Bonus- this Vogue dress pattern requires minimum fabric- so those spendy special occasion fabrics are an option.  I found this rather special embroidered floral mesh fabric at my local fabric shop -Treadle Yard Goods.  This type of fabric is pretty easy to track down and is available at several price points.

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I puzzled a bit over how to work the border design mesh into this dress.  I landed on a simple blocked bodice design.  Embroidered mesh could come across as an exclamation- and I wanted to tone it down a bit.  The plain bodice is an easy pattern modification.  It also was a genius comfort move- because the mesh is scratchy.  The bodice was easy to draft. For the bodice and lining, I used a nice -but simple- cotton because -again- I wanted to soften the overall statement.  Even if I go dressy, I like to stay grounded. 

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I debated over the construction- because the mesh is tucked into the bodice seam, I wasn’t sure if I should line the dress or sew the mesh and lining as one piece.  In the end, I cut out the embroidered mesh and the lining and sewed them as one piece. I know this seems like the easy route- but sometimes the easy path also provides the best outcome.  By encasing the seams within the lining, there were no seams showing through.  And the darts easily became invisible- love that.  I also eliminated the front double ended-fish eye- darts, although I kept the back double ended darts for subtle shaping.

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Below you can see how I worked the border design from the hem- so the flowers are “growing” up from the bottom of the dress.

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