Patterns: M7279 (darted sheath dress and darted sleeve) & V9325 (sleeve flounce and bow)
Fabric: Grey Italian stretch wool jacquard from Josephine’s Dry Goods; Portland OR. Sage green and white silk charmeuse from Thai Silks; Mountain View, CA. Silk organza underlining from Susan Khalje Couture.
This dress was a long time in coming. First, I had inspiration, but no fabric. Then, I had fabric which fought with both the design and the underlining. And finally, I didn’t have enough lining fabric in my stash, so I had two use one color in the dress and another in the sleeves. There’s still a few issues with it, but overall, I’m happy that it’s done!
My inspiration was the dress Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wore to a function in December, 2018. I loved the dress, which was basically a darted sheath with a flounced sleeves. I like to have M7279 in sleeved and sleeveless versions for my fitting class; I thought that this would be a nice winter dress, as my old winter M7279 doesn’t fit anymore (not a good look for a fitting class!)
It took a while to find an appropriate fabric. The fabric needed to have enough structure for a sheath dress, but enough drape for the flounces. Further, it needed to be attractive on both sides, as the flounces are not lined.
The wool jacquard I finally chose was not ideal. The small amount of Lycra actually fights with the wool, making it slightly too stiff for the flounces. I’d made M7279 from stretch wovens previously. However, I wanted an edge-to-edge lining in this dress (I despise facings) so I required an underlining. I chose silk organza.
I chose poorly. The silk organza was too stiff for the wool, and fought with the stretch. I would have been better off with rayon challis, or at least cotton batiste. As it is, the darts are still not right, as the fabric drapes oddly, particularly at the darts. At some point, I need to open it up again, and create a second, lower set of side bust darts, as that appears to be what the fabric wants.
Lesson learned, relearned and learned again: do what the fabric wants, not what you want. The fabric will ALWAYS win in the end.