You guys, I am so so thrilled to be finishing the year with this dress. I have made some stuff I am proud of this year but this is hands down my favourite make. It is a slightly hacked version of the Orchid Midi Dress by Chalk and Notch made out of some Atelier Brunette Shine Night Viscose.
Now, this make is my favourite but it was not all smooth sailing, I made the mistake of only ordering 2m intending to make a long sleeved Simplicity 8454 top but once I had it in hand and felt the fluid drape of the fabric I knew it’s sewing destiny was to become a dress! Of course, I want to be able to wear this throughout autumn/winter so I knew I wanted a long sleeved dress. WHY NOT make life hard for myself?! I fell in love with the Chalk and Notch Orchid Midi dress. I thought the subtle gathers and blousey nature of the pattern would look beautiful in this fluid and drapey fabric. But of course I wasn’t going to get a long sleeved midi dress out of 2m of fabric. This meant getting CREATIVE with the fabric layout and a little bit of hacking.
I started by shortening the skirt – that was a no brainer, I am not really a fan of midi length on me anyway so I shortened it to roughly knee-length. The next thing I did was throw out the pocket pieces, I do love a dress with pockets but there was no way I would have enough fabric for them and to be honest the fabric is so lightweight and drapey I don’t think I would put anything in the pockets as you would just see the lump of whatever it was in the fabric anyway!
Finally, as I had shortened the dress I had also eliminated the front slit so I no longer needed the hem facing pieces as I planned to just double turn up the hem. The only other piece I couldn’t get out of my fabric was the bias piece for finishing the neckline on both bodice pieces; this was solved by making continuous bias binding out of a tiny 15 x 11 inch rectangle of leftover fabric. This is my favourite tutorial for making continuous bias binding for anyone who is interested, I have used it several times and have always made loads of binding out of small pieces of fabric. To be honest, I could have used some ready-made bias for the neckline, and I could have even used a scrap of different fabric for the yoke lining so I guess I could have got it out of even less! But getting rid of the length, pockets and hem facings were enough to get the size 12 out of 2m!
It wasn’t difficult to construct but it did take some time thanks to all the little details packed into the pattern. Both front bodice pieces are gathered to match up to the yoke pieces and then the raw neckline is finished with bias binding. The back bodice is gathered too and all the raw edges are concealed into the lined yoke which is constructed using the burrito roll method so it’s super clean on the inside. Even the sleeves have a bit of gathering at the shoulders. This leaves me with a dress that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside but is not quick to make. This is a-ok with me as I am trying to sew slower and produce less garments, also making them to a higher standard will also hopefully mean they last me for a long time. Also, did you know that the entire new collection of Atelier Brunette fabrics are Oeko-tex Certified? I am thrilled that the new collection is committed to adhering to certain standards regarding the chemicals used in the fabric production process.
I plan on wearing this on evenings out with heels and some jewellery but it was easily worn for these pictures – going to lunch on a Sunday – with leggings and boots. I definitely think I will make this dress again and loved working with this fabric. It is drapey but wasn’t slippery to cut or sew with and even though it is quite light it is completely opaque and in no need of any lining. I’ve popped some more info on the fabric in my full review over on the Minerva Crafts Blog.
This is my last make to share with you for 2018 and I just want to send you a heartfelt thanks for reading along. Every like, comment and follow is truly appreciated and I am grateful to have you with me. I know I haven’t been hugely successful in meeting my sustainable goals from the beginning of the year so I am looking forward to reflecting on one year of blogging and what I’ve learned about myself and my own sewing practice. Happy New Year guys! Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019!