Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Floral Dress for a Sunny Day

Last Saturday I went to my cousin's wedding in Napa, CA.  I don't think I have ever been to a wedding with a yellow color theme, and it was beautiful.  The flowers were gorgeous and the cake was delicious, frosted in butter yellow icing with white snowflakes as a nod to their Colorado connections, with a Mr. and Mrs. snowboarder on top.  So cute.

In between my other projects, I quickly finished the dress I wore.  

The fabric I had written about in another post.  (purchased from FashionFabricsClub)  For this dress, I decided to do a simple square bodice and then add a full skirt.  I used New Look 6457 for the bodice, and raised the top seam up about 1".  I was not sure where the waist should end up, so I lengthened the bodice pieces which ended up causing a lot of extra work later because I had to fiddle around with the placement of the skirt, and I was not totally happy with it, could have been up another 1/2" or so.  (But only I would notice it.)
I used the dress form to fit the bodice, and then fit the lining pieces the same way.
The one construction tip that I have been using lately is to sew the zipper into the bodice and then the bodice can be fitted on the body or the dress form, without the skirt being attached.  After I am happy with the bodice fit, then I take out the stitches about 1-2" above the skirt placement, sew on the skirt and then finish sewing in the zipper.  Here is a photo of that process, with the zipper shown unattached to the skirt.  I was so clever and put some text on the photo with Photoshop to indicate the zipper and now I see I spelled "invisible" wrong, and can't figure out how to re-edit in Photoshop.  oh well.

For the skirt pleats I just cut the front and back, and then made 1" pleats using a clear ruler.
After I sewed on the skirt, the waist was a bit bulky, so I trimmed it a lot and did a row of stitching to hold it together. 

I used my favorite construction method of sewing all front pieces and then all back pieces, adding the zipper, and then fitting on the body.  Patterns rarely have you do this, but it makes fitting so much better.   See below, the top facings are sewn into the side seam, but I hardly think it makes any difference.  Added shoulder straps as I am never comfortable with strapless dresses.   Under the back facing, there is a hidden strip of elastic across the top, which is a clever idea that gives it a bit of hold.  I will have to remember that for future dresses.

And in honor of my very flowery dress, today's SunnyGal garden photo, some lavender hydrangeas that live in a shady corner of the yard.


  1. Cute dress. I pretty much sew in the order you do for easy fitting. Not sure why pattern companies don't instruct that way!

  2. Very pretty dress, love the fabric.

  3. Karen in Fort WorthJuly 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    I love your dress! I have two questions:

    1.) Is that grosgrain ribbon that you used for the tie? If so, did you get it online? I'm asking, because I want to make this dress and the color of that ribbon is perfect. I found the fabric on FFC, so I just need to know where to get that ribbon.

    2.) Did the pattern instructions tell you to put in that elastic in the back?

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Karen in Fort Worth

  4. Hi Karen in Fort Worth
    Yes that is grosgrain ribbon, I bought the ribbon at Michael's, went in ther with a fabric swatch and matched the pink color. I also bought green ribbon, but decided I liked the pink better.

    I believe the pattern instructions did have you put the elastic in the strapless version, I just noticed the elastic idea when I was looking over the instrucions and decided to put it in the back only. Since I had shoulder straps it is was not necessary to hold the dress up.

    I feel quite honored that you like my dress enough to make one for yourself! would love to see a photo when you finish. :)

  5. Karen in Fort WorthJuly 29, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Thanks, Beth!

  6. What a fabulous dress - it is so pretty and summery, I really love it. Your cousin's wedding sounds lovely - and I have no doubt you looked wonderful in that dress!