Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer of Love Denim Dress

The summer of denim continues! This dress is my homage to the Summer of Love - which started right here in the bay area. So I couldn't pass up this fantastic denim embroidered with flowers, in the ever-elusive border print. At least elusive to me, I'm always looking for good border prints and they are rare.

flower denim dress in garden2

I had taken some pictures against a plain background but this dress just calls for more flowers. The fabric is from Stone Mountain in Berkeley, and they had several variations of the fabric. I bought the one without any yellow, as I just liked the pink and turquoise with green stems on this one, but the other ones were nice as well. The embroidery is just on one selvedge, so I had to cut on the crosswise grain, which made no difference in this tightly woven fabric, it's halfway between a denim and a chambray in feel. Plus I didn't have to buy very much, just enough to go around me plus seam allowances so I think I got about 1.5 yards and I still have a lot left, mostly of the solid blue, since it is 60" wide.

Dress form view. Can you recognize which pattern?

denim flower dress on form front

It may get retired now as I have just made 3 versions in a row - and I confess the first two were kind of tests in order to get everything right for this one, including the length.  Now that I like the fit I might have to make a winter version.  But it was 106˚F here yesterday so NOT thinking about winter clothes now! New Look 6500 or D0569 on this envelope. strange....

New Look Shift dress pattern

Some sewing details, I decided to line this dress, partially so it would wrinkle less. I decided to make the lining attach to the facing (which I made in the previous post on this dress) as an example so I can show it at my dress class at Hello Stitch.

denim flower dress lining construction

denim lining front and back

That is how it turns out - I really like this way of doing the lining, very ready-to-wear. And uses the same techniques as when I modify a pattern for color-blocking.  The zipper does go up to the top - not sure why I didn't zip it on the form there. I used the grey Ambiance lining because grey is my go-to color for linings that I keep in the stash...

denim flower dress on form back

flower denim dress in garden1

I think these kind of dresses with minimal shaping end up with a few drag lines that I suppose I would have taken out - but it has no darts at the waist or in the back so not a lot to work with. It is
super comfortable though!

This dress reminds me so much of things my mom had in the late sixties, she had some really cute shift dresses with embellishment, I remember a white one with flowers like this that ran from hem to shoulder on one side, and a black one with geometric squares in shades of bright pink and orange. Very mod! I think we had some kid's versions as well.

denim flower embroidery detail

Getting that border to sit right at the hemline was my biggest concern so I think it's just right :)

I have already been wearing this dress out and about, so I took this picture in front of the window at Hello Stitch, with all the sewing machines. and their sitting area. It's really nice to sew there and then take a break, sit on the couch, chat with whoever is around. A nice change from my mostly solitary sewing! If you look closely you can see Chuleenan of reflected in the window as she took the picture. She is the organizer for our Bay Area Sewists Meetup group and she does such a great job arranging interesting topics and events.

flower denim dress in front of window

One of the best things about the Meetup group is that I get to see my sewing friends who are all across the bay area. Even though we are in the same locale to traverse from one end of the bay area to another can take hours depending on the day and the traffic. So it is a treat to see my friend Pauline, (who is @sewuthinkucan on Instagram). If you love stripes you should follow her. You should follow her anyway! I call her the Queen of Stripes. She is on a roll this summer with interpreting things she sees in retail and making her own (better) version. Anyway - it is great to see her and we end up talking a mile a minute to cover everything we need to discuss!

meetup with Pauline2

So that's it for this flowery summer dress - it is my new favorite - until the next new favorite, right?

Up next, hmmm, I don't really know. I am knee deep in making things for others. Including the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case patterns, for someone else, so I will have lots of info on how to do a full bust adjustment on that, add a dart, change the armhole and keep the style but make it look good on any size.

Classes at Hello Stitch - next week starts my two-part shirt making class on Wednesday evening, I think there are a couple of spaces available. You know I love to make shirts - so rewarding, so many fiddly details that am excited to show.   Sunday July 30 - one day dressmaking class.   Sun. Aug 19, Fit Lab, I think there is only one space left.
Jacket making - you know this is the one I am excited about - we are planning now. If you are in the bay area, reading this and would be interested in doing a jacket class, probably starting mid-late Sept or early October, please email me as I have some questions on how to structure the class and would love to discuss.

Happy Summer of Love Sewing,

today's garden photo, a very old rose with small blooms that I kind of want to pull out and replace with something grander  - but oh, this peachy color is so pretty.

dahlias etc



  1. Lovely fabric and the simple pattern is really perfect for it! What fun to meet with sewing friends !

  2. Just love the dress. Perfect fabric!

  3. You have worked this pattern, Beth! Love the dress and LOVE that fabric :)

  4. If the drag lines bother you, would you consider changing the darts to French darts, and make that a tutorial? Many , many of us would find that valuable... just saying! Love that border print! I am not normally a floral fan, but I am getting so inspired by those of you who are...hmm, might need to go shopping. And I always look forward to your garden picture-I can slmisf smell the blooms. I don't have a green thumb. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

  5. I was looking at your reviews of this pattern yesterday so I could tell immediately which one you had used. I have just ordered it and hope it will suit my style as I am quite thick in the waits with a tummy so hopefully this will skim over the bumps and be cool in the heat.

  6. Someone on line, emmaonesock? maybe, has a similar fabric but I like yours better. It's a great summer dress. I am looking forward to your altering the Charlie caftan, for which I would need similar alterations. Of course getting it made this summer can only happen after I finish Alex's wedding dress!

  7. Oh, and thanks for recommending your friend's instagram address. I love here sewing.

  8. Lovely dress, Beth. I follow the same practice sometime when I trying to get the fit right. I really like the facing attached to the lining and must start doing that too. Thanks for sharing your process.

  9. I love that fabric!! It's absolutely perfect. One of these days I'm really going to make it to a meetup. It's really not that hard to get across the bay.

  10. I'm just making up a light denim border print (white embroidered flowers)which I love. I'm making the View Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs which is a wonderful pattern! I'm thinking so '70's or even '60's too - my mother would have loved your dress so MUCH. She always said there was nothing cooler to wear in the summer than cotton shift dress (and used to buy us both a few of these come May every year.

  11. That is sooo pretty. Perfect dress to show off that wonderful fabric.

  12. That fabric is so pretty, perfect for this dress! Off to read Pauline's blog now.

  13. I love your dress! The embroidered border print is SO nice!!

  14. What a fantastic fabric choice! It looks great on you.

  15. Love the fabric choice. That border is just absolutely beautiful!

  16. I saw the dress in person and it looks AMAZING!!!! I will definitely get that pattern on my next Joann's trip. Thanks for the shout out Beth!!! I wish I lived closer to you than I am already!!! It's such a treat to see you when I can make it to the Meetups!

  17. I am obsessed with embroidery right now and this dress is great! Love a classic shift dress, too.

  18. I love your dress. I'm thinking of making a shameless copy with a lowered neckline for my G cups.