I decided to take advantage of the weather and get a jump on my fall sewing. I found an upholstery end cut at the fabric store the other day that I like with a sweater that I made last summer, but really haven't worn much. I think it's because I don't really like what I made to go with it.
The fabric is a decorator linen. Really quite heavy, but soft and drapy. Even softer after a few rounds in the washer and dryer! I had a 2 yard hunk and it was 54 inches wide. Lots to work with.
I picked out a Sandra Betzina pattern that I got from her booth at a trade show eons ago. I have had it on my list to try for years!! I had the chance to try on her sample garment and loved the bias cut of the dress. The sample had been made with a heavy linen, so I knew it would work with the decorator fabric.
I trolled around the interweb to see if anyone had made a version of the dress sans hood. I knew I didn't have enough fabric for the hood and it certainly would not work with the sweater...the whole point of the exercise! I was really surprised that I couldn't find ANY versions of the pattern. Lots of Sandra's other patterns, but nada for this one. Curious, because I think it is a lovely style. I was on my own to come up with the 'non-hoody' version.
I cut the front and back pieces and knew immediately that this fabric was going to have to spend a good amount of time hanging around on the dress form to let the bias relax. So I hung it up and went to work on the new neckline. After several rabbit holes I finally landed on a simple v-neck with a wide facing. Given the loose weave and the bias cut, I thought the neckline would need some extra stabilizing.
It looks like a rather simple, straight forward dress...and it is...except that I was working with bias pieces and that took some extra steps. Directional sewing, particularly at the neckline, was a must. The bias really shifted around and wanted to wiggle out from under the presser foot at every opportunity! The shaped seam at the back just above the waist is a particularly nice feature of this pattern. A full back piece on the bias always ends up bunching up around the waist. This shaped seam acts like a set of darts to take in the extra fabric and lets the dress hug into the curve of the back. Very flattering!
I wasn't sure whether to add the sleeves or go sleeveless, but I rather like them and they don't get in the way under the sweater, when it's on me...on the dress form it's a different story!
The sweater is very cropped and the waist-defining bias of this dress really works well. I think it will be a nice transitional piece when we get to having 'real fall.'