As most of my ideas for fashion start with footwear, this fabric, which I bought because I thought it would go well with the boots, was no exception.  I like the mildly monochromatic look and I also don’t have to think too hard about what goes with what.  Dresses are great for simplifying the process of getting dressed.

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When I bought the fabric it was an end of the bolt piece and it included a small flaw.  The dress is the Danni Dolman pattern from Style Arc  which has been modified to suit the amount of fabric I had available to use.  The pattern has asymmetrical folds at the hip – a feature requires the front (which is cut from a single layer of fabric) veer off the straight grain in the lower half and use a lot more fabric in order to add the fabric required for the folds.  In order to eliminate the folds, and reduce the amount of fabric required, simply find the centre front (purple line below) and trace a new pattern piece with the centre front being the fold line and then cut the piece on the fold.  danni-dolman-resized

sleeve-pattern-022-resizedThe Pattern design has the sleeves cut in one piece with the front and back of the dress (also requiring a larger piece of fabric).  To accommodate my limited amount of fabric, I shortened the sleeves by about 9 inches (shown above).  I didn’t actually cut my pattern.  I traced new pieces marking the length up the seam starting from the hem edge, and then overlapping the centre (top) seam and cutting the lower section as one piece with a seam on the underside of the arm only.

 

sleeve-020-resizedThe pattern differs slightly from the illustration in that the sleeves are drafted at 3/4 length, not full length as shown in the illustration.  When the length is reduced by 9 inches the seam created by reattaching the bottom section, which will be cut separately, will fall about mid-bicep.

For me, knits always need lining of some sort.  I had a length of power mesh in my stash so I decided to use that as a lining.  It was tempting to see if I could harness the power of the power mesh for its smoothing capabilities, but out of concern for about the potential of the lining to ride up constantly, I decided against that and just made it the same size as the body of the dress.  It feels fabulous, although I don’t think it’s pretty to look at.  I prefer using beautiful fabrics like silk charmeuse for linings and taking time to finish them like lingerie.  The armscyes of this lining are unfinished because I was concerned that added lace might make an imprint on the outside, but I think I still might finish the arm edges just to see if it works…I can always take it off if it shows through…

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This project followed the coat in the previous post.  I like following a challenging and time consuming project with something really quick and easy, and this definitely fills that requirement.  I love the dress style, particularly the neckline and sleeves.  I will make the next version including the side folds and I will be making the sleeves extra long.  I was also thinking of adding a cowl neck collar – but I’m not sure about that yet.  This is such a versatile and well drafted pattern and I can see so many possibilities for it.

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I’m not sure when patterns become vintage but this classic style must be close.  I first made it for my daughter about 18 or 20 years ago.  I think she liked it but I have to admit that at the time I didn’t love it.  The style was/is great, but I wasn’t totally happy with my execution.  Anyway, this is a chance to make some of that right.

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The only alterations I made were to shorten the length by about 3 inches before cutting the fabric.  It was still long enough to be almost ankle length on my 5’3″ self, so I cut another 3″ off when I hemmed it and still had room for a 2 1/2″ hem.  I made the pocket flaps about an inch longer than the pattern, eliminated the back belt and made the buttons on the sleeves operational by adding buttonholes. a note on the pocket flaps – I used a lightweight sew in interfacing and should have used a heavier iron on interfacing which would have prevented the pocket welts from imprinting quite so much and would have made them a bit stiffer.  Since the pattern just had sew on buttons and no working sleeve vent I added 1.5 inch extensions (should have been 2 inch) to the lower back sleeve seams to create the vent.

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My interfacing plan is as follows:

Hair canvas on the entire front, and the upper back/shoulder area.

Underlined the entire back with lightweight poly cotton.

Interfaced the sleeve hems with weft insertion iron on interfacing.

All facings and the sleeve caps were interfaced with iron on knit interfacing.

Lightweight woven tape was used on the lapel roll line and the front edge to keep it from stretching in use.

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In order to eliminate bulk when interfacing with a heavy sew-in interfacing like hair canvas,  I cut the seam allowance off the interfacing and add an extension of something very lightweight (in this case silk organza) to catch in the seam. That eliminates a lot of bulk from the seam.  An easy way to maintain the exact shape of the interfacing, is to cut out the interfacing to the actual pattern, then lay a 1 inch strip of organza at the edge and stitch it 3/4 of an inch from the edge.  Then when you trim the interfacing off close to the stitching line you won’t have canvas in the seam allowance and the interfacing piece still has exactly the same shape that you started with.

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I’m happy with the collar.  I pad stitched the lapels and the collar, but completely forgot to take pictures.  I decided not to top stitch for now, but I might still do it later.  One of the problems is that I like to use silk topstitching thread, which is difficult to source.  I suspect I will have to resort to ordering online.

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This green outer fabric is a lofty 100% wool coating material and the lining is a lightweight, opaque 100% silk twill.  I bought both at Britex during a recent trip through San Francisco.  The buttons are hand cast pewter from Button Button on Homer St. here in Vancouver, and the flat piping on the facing/lining seam is from a necktie….ties are one thing that should never be thrown away.

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A silk necktie will give up at least 2 yards of 1 3/4 inch bias binding…the fabric is always beautiful and best part is that it is already cut on the bias!flat-piping-020-resized

This was a very challenging project. The fabric is heavy, it releases buckets of lint, the seams are long, pressing is arduous, there is lots of hand sewing AND the success of the entire project comes down to the buttonholes, which are always the last thing and which in this case, I’m not 100% happy with…but I’m pretty happy with everything else.