I magically dropped off the face of the blogsphere. I’ve been sewing but had very little time to sit and write.I decided to share this dress with you today – it’s the first weekend of the Australian spring and that makes me feel disgustingly cheerful. While my winters are not particularly cold, I always wave them goodbye without a shadow of regret in my sunshine-lovin’ heart.
The Spring Dress Journey…
Before you see more dress photos… here’s the story behind this project.
I’ve got little love for the off-the-shoulder look that has been haunting the retail stores and sewing blogs. Some of my sewing friends will be stifling their laughter to see me in an off-the-shoulder dress/top at all, given my distinct lack of enthusiasm/bewilderment for this 2016 fashion trend.
I enjoy puzzling out what I don’t like about certain looks – and sometimes how to interpret a look to be more ‘me’.
After much internet cruising and considering, I realised what I mostly didn’t like about the off-the-shoulder look was the necklines gathered with elastic. When I saw a few Style Arc Cara Tops made up (see end of post for links), I was curious about the flat band across the front of the front and the use of elastic at the back to provide the tension to hold the top in place. So I decided to investigate – by making one of course. This is a very simple top to make – and it uses very little fabric. An ideal stash buster!Once I made this top, I immediately had an idea to turn it into a dress. A maxi dress that was soft and feminine, demure and slightly revealing all at the same time.
Once I had this idea in my head, I couldn’t shake it and I needed to ‘sew it out of my head’ so I could move onto other projects.THE FABRIC
The fabric I used is a gorgeous large floral woven rayon from Spotlight (Australia). It is very flimsy and a little sheer however the gathering helps disguise most of the transparency. This dress won’t last forever… however nor will the off-the-shoulder look.THE SKIRT
To create the skirt I simply used all the fabric remaining (I purchased 3.5m for this project of 135m wide fabric – noting a sewed a size 4 top and my height is 5 foot 4 inches). I used to the bottom width and curve of the top to cut the waistline and simply cut the skirt with a generous a-line flare heading toward the hem. I added a little to the width of the front skirt piece to enable me to create a front split. I then cut the front piece in 1/3 and 2/3 pieces so the split would sit over one thigh. I find these maxi skirt splits the easiest and most graceful to walk in.I sewed the waist seam with a 25mm seam allowance and then pressed it up into the bodice, machine down the edges to create a channel for the elastic waist. I will probably wear this with a narrow woven belt but left it off for these photos.
The entire garment is French seamed. The edges of the front split are turned under twice and sewn down the length of the skirt so no raw edges can be seen.The hem isn’t as straight as I would wish… however in the photos, walking and moving about in it, it doesn’t appear to be dreadful so I’ve forgiven myself for that indiscretion.
The top is quite ‘blousy’ very loose and full – and it is the look I was after. Just soft, feminine and loose.
This dress isn’t a work of art, it’s not my best sewing due to the fragile fabric… but it’s soft and pretty – and sometimes that’s enough for me.
Pattern: Style Arc Cara Top (purchased from Etsy). Size 4.
Fabric: Floral woven rayon, Spotlight Australia. Available online.
Location: Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie Australia