Last weekend I bought a beautiful piece of linen to make a dress out of.
The fabric looks like it’s dark blue, but the thread colors are black, light blue, and tan. It’s fairly thick and heavy and the weave is somewhat irregular and nubby. The pattern I used is the Chloe dress from Victory patterns.
I downloaded the pattern as a PDF, which has the advantage of instant gratification, but the disadvantage of taping together 40 printed pages and then tracing the patterns onto big sheets of thin paper.
I made two changes to the pattern. I didn’t put pockets in the front side seams. I have a dress with pockets like that and they bulge open when I sit down. I added the one patch pocket instead. The other change I made was to use wool jersey tape instead of bias-cut fabric for binding the neck-line and arm-holes.
After puzzling together and tracing the pattern pieces, I made a test version out of cotton.
It actually fit very well! I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the pattern at all, except that I lengthened the dress by about 2 inches.
I had bought exactly the amount of fabric recommended by the pattern, and I tested the pattern pieces on the fabric and they all fit, just barely. Then I washed the fabric. Whoops! It shrank by about 3 inches! (No, I didn’t look at the washing instructions when I bought the fabric–lesson learned!).
I seriously considered make a skirt out of the fabric instead. However, in the end I got creative. I cut the four pattern pieces at where my waist is.
This meant that instead of just sewing 7 pieces of fabric together, I had to sew 14 pieces together, and I had to make sure that the vertical seams lined up nicely at the waist seam. Luckily the linen was very stable and I had very little problem sewing it.
The dress is fully lined as well. In my experience, when I cut out the lining fabric, it’s always smaller than the other fabric, so instead of sewing with the 5/8 inch seam allowance that I used on the linen, I used a 1/4 inch wide overlock stitch that finished the edges at the same time as sewing the seams.
Of course, I washed the wool binding as well, and it shrunk too, but I stretched it and made it fit. I had to hand-sew it on, though. I happened to have the buttons in my button box.
Here’s the side view.
Although this dress is sleeveless, it is really too warm to wear in hot weather like we are having now. It’s more a winter dress that I’ll wear a shirt underneath. This pattern is definitely a keeper!