Thursday, July 12, 2012

floral petal dress

Did you think I forgot how to sew woven fabrics? Well, I did. Or at least I forgot that it's possible to hem a garment without inducing an anxiety attack.

Let's talk prints. In the past couple months on this blog, we've seen chevron prints. We've also seen plaids and stripes and dots, birdies and birdy feathers, blue checks and bigger blue checks. What's obviously missing are florals --the sure sign of summer/wedding season. I guess you could consider my Cambie fabric to be a floral, but I think of it as more of an... abstract weed.

I'm super picky about floral prints. It's a tricky design, as a certain combination of colors, design and scale can make it look either too sweet or too matronly. I've been trying to pin down what it is about certain floral prints that I find either agreeable or sickly, but it's a fairly unstable relationship we have. Generally speaking, the flowers need to be well-spaced, or oversized, or looks like they're drawn by a 5 year old. Like normally I'm more drawn to stuff like this:



and I'm obsessed with almost all Nani IRO fabric:

can't source the actual fabric, but photo is from here

So it's kinda weird that I went for this busy-ish small-scale floral. But, I LIKE it.

The fabric buying all happened within the span of two minutes max. I opened a promo e-mail from Denver Fabrics entitled "Huge Fabric Sale - Linen, Rayon and More," clicked through to the rayon challis section, saw this floral print at the top of the list for like $4.50/yd., tossed two yards in my virtual shopping cart, confirmed on PayPal, then made my morning coffee. I knew immediately what pattern I'd use: something for which I made a muslin so long ago that I've since lost it.

Hospital gown chic, you say? Luckily there's this thing called "Google" in which you type a pattern name and number -- in this case Vogue 8631 -- and up pops photographic evidence of bloggers posing in successful versions of the pattern. It actually makes a fine dress, despite what you may think of the waifs posing in weird muu-muus on the cover. Sizing is definitely an issue, though, so just be aware that you'll probably have to scale down. I made an 8 in the bodice and a 10 in the skirt (2 sizes smaller than the size I'm supposed to make and 1 size smaller than the size I normally make). 

If you're anything less than a Dolly Parton, you may have to adjust the bodice wrap accordingly. For me that meant taking wedges out of the shoulder seams so the top wouldn't droop as much. I also sewed deeper into the upper side seams to reduce the armhole gaps there. Even after tightening up the wrap, I would never ever wear this without a camisole underneath.

YES it's a real wrap dress. There's a tie on the inside so the underwrap stays attached to the sideseam, and there's a shoddily sewn hook and eye that attaches the overwrap to the exterior side seam.

I have to be pretty careful of how I stand or walk against the wind. The underwrap provides okay coverage but I think I flashed a nice (or naughty) bit of thigh to the grocery store parking lot. I like the dress design in a drapey fabric, but the pleats behave strangely without structure. Gravity works against them so they sort of fall open. I decided to stitch them down a couple inches so they'd permanently lay neat and flat instead of flop open at the waistline.

That's my hand in a side pocket, not a hip growth, btw. I nixed the bias-tape-finished hem and used Stitchy Witch's method of baby hemming it like she did on her version of the dress. Can't believe I never thought before of serging the raw edge first to mark an even line for folding and pressing. Doy. If I could move through the rest of my sewing life without using a seam gauge, I would. 

Maybe this is why I don't wear florals that often. Pollen allergies:

...or Paranormal Activity? You decide.

What's your preferred kind of floral, or do you love them all? Steer clear of them all?