I am very pleased to finally be able to show you this dress, which has been quite a while in the making!
I first bought the motif at Mode et Travaux in Paris when we visiting there last summer, but then a few months ago I decided that I really wanted to do something with it, so I started laying out my first pattern ideas. Then I finally decided on a a pattern and started basting the motif onto my linen in preparation for our French road trip, where I painstakingly sewed the motif onto the dress using silver thread and an embroidery hoop.
The finished dress is a variation on dress #102 from the March 2010 KnipMode supplement, but I modified the neckline heavily so that it’d match the motif’s curves. In actuality, I cut the curve of the neckline after I’d completely sewed the motif into place!
Since I changed the front neckline, I also had the widen the back at the neck edge to match the front, too. It means my big head can only just fit through, as it’s much narrower than the original pattern.
I also ended up halving the height of the waistband – I’m so glad I sewed the lining first as a quasi-muslin, because it was SO long in the waist and frumpy as indicated! It’s still a smidge too big in the waist (a first for me!) as it is, but that just means it’s really super comfortable and fine for sitting long periods and will be great for a cool summer office look.
Anyone notice my mistake in the back? Yeah, James didn’t either when confronted so I kept it as is…*
Here’s some close up shots of the motif. I just want to reiterate that I did not embroider the silver stitching and sequins here – I merely spent hours and hours sewing tiny stitches over the entire motif, anchoring it to the fabric. And then I went round with tiny cuticle scissors trimming away the next it was sewn onto!
I was hoping you’d be able to see my stitches in these photos, but to be honest, they’re really hard to spot even if you get your face right up to it in person. I’ve had to point out the stitches to neighbours who genuinely can’t see how it’s attached when they came round my sewing room!
Since the fabric of this dress is a 65/35 linen/viscose mix (bought in eek! 2007), I thought it’d be prudent to line it to try and reduce any ambient wrinkling. I bought some bemberg lining to match while we were in Paris at Easter, and as a special touch, I decided to prickstitch the lining to the seam allowances the whole way around the neckline and both arm openings inside.
It takes a while extra to do this, but I just love the secret added touch of prickstitching in a garment – it really does make it feel so special, and it’s something only I get to see.
Oh, I also used that turquoise lace hem facing and a super-wide hem (about 4 inches) to bring it above the knee. The lace means the hem is a bit stiffer than it would’ve been and it hangs really nicely as a result, almost like a poor woman’s horsehair braid. I bought this package at the Perry County Amish dry goods store for 85 cents, and the copyright on it was 1986! It was still in its original packaging, too…
I’m sure there will be nicer, professional photographers from our friends’ wedding at some point, but until then you just get to see me at the wedding accompanied by my wooden spoon version of myself (we had post-afternoon tea enforced crafting! My kind of wedding)!
* I accidentally reversed the box pleats in the back, so the pleats are underneath in the front, and on top in the back. Yeah, I didn’t think it was noticeable enough to correct, either!