Is a dress really complete if one has nowhere to wear it? Well, yes, I think it is. Otherwise, I fear, I never would have finished this dress.
Its inspiration came from a ready-to-wear dress I spied on the Halsbrook website.
My original intention was to make a wool dress using this vintage royal blue-and-black houndstooth boucle I found several years ago.
After deciding it was just a bit too hefty to use for a dress, I switched gears and ordered this boucle from Linton Tweeds in England.
It is a cotton, silk and viscose blend with a lovely hand and a beautiful luster to it. The colors look like the woven manifestation of Spring, and once it arrived, I was feeling very grateful that I was moving on to some warmer weather sewing rather than being stuck in a Winter project. Below is the vintage pattern I had chosen to recreate the look of the ready-to-wear dress.
All was not so merry, however, once I had my silk organza underlining cut out. While positioning it onto the boucle fabric, I had a rude realization that the boucle, despite its very even grid, was an uneven plaid, in regard to color. There was no way I was going to be able to balance the colors evenly across the width of this dress. I had to make a decision how I wanted to treat the center front seam (which helps with the shaping of the dress). I also had to determine which of the colors was dominant in the grid and then try to fixate on getting that evenly spaced.
After much debate, I decided to use the yellow as the dominant color, and I decided to “railroad track” the center seam, disrupting the even windowpane grid in that spot.
I guess I have looked at this dress just a bit too much, as I am still second-guessing myself. Sometimes it looks okay to me and other times, all I see are the unevenly spaced pink and green grids.
I decided to line the dress in pale-ish yellow crepe de chine, ordered from Emma One Sock Fabrics.
When it came time to finish the inside neck edge with understitiching, I was completely out of matching yellow thread. Of course, with all the non-essential stores closed (since when I ask, is a sewing supply store considered non-essential?), I had to choose another color for that task. I went to my supply of vintage buttonhole twist and found coral pink, a nice substitute.
I machine-sewed strips of silk organza interfacings onto the edges of the sleeves and hem, so that I could fray them confidently. Then I finished the interiors by hand. Somehow, most vexingly, I lost my pictures of this process.
I actually used the reverse side of the fabric for the double-wide fringe several inches up from the hemline. It gave me another “railroad track” detail which I thought would help make sense of that center front seam.
Can you tell I was consumed by this uneven color scheme? I think it is still playing games with my head, but the good news is, once I did the final try-on of the dress, I thought it looked okay!
Well, from Ready-to-Wear to No-Wear to currently No-Where to Wear anything pretty, the only way to go is towards the time, hopefully soon, when we can all be thinking,”So many places to go, so many new dresses to Wear.”