Friday, July 15, 2011

Designer dress simplified

It all started with this.
 Vogue 1153 by Anna Sui.
I made it up last summer to wear to a baby shower.  One of those very rare occasions in the last number of years where I brought a pattern home and immediately opened it and used it.  (I did lengthen the skirt quite a bit.)  One very comfortable "fussy" dress in silk.  (Just for the record, it hasn't been worn since.)  Well, the lining piece for the front bodice has a very simple rounded neckline, which got me thinking that this would make a very comfortable plain summer dress for casual wear, minus all the ruffles.  First try was this.
 I extended the shoulder seam by one inch, used the lining front and made a casing of the seam allowance at the waist for elastic.  Somehow that front with ruffles worked fine.  Without ruffles there seemed to be way too much puffy stuff going on at centre front.  That was last summer.  Fast forward to this summer.  I did start a grey dress to wear with the pink jacket, because one really does need more than one outfit per jacket.  Had some issues with fitting that needed to be resolved.  Wasn't in the mood for those.  Didn't  want to ruin the dress.  Sewed up some stuff for the children's camp that I periodically volunteer for.  Sent that off.  Still not in a mood for fitting issues.  Aha!  Back to figuring out that "perfect casual summer dress".  I removed 4 inches total at the waist at centre front from the bodice, and altered the skirt piece to match those measurements.  Here is the result.
I know.  I know.  The I should have actually paid attention to the design on the fabric.  My excuse is...  This is a lovely (to feel) piece of rayon.  "Inherited" from someone or other.  The print is horribly off grain.  I decided that it was more important to lay things out on grain, than to worry about where the print was going.  This is an "at home" dress, and I just had to get the idea produced, rather than worry about all the other stuff.  Well, if worse comes to worst I can always pop a little black jacket over this to run over to the grocery store.
I'm now happy with the results.  One very comfy dress.  And now this has me thinking that this could also work in something warm and snuggly for winter wear, with the addition of sleeves.  Now it's back to the grey dress!


  1. The dress looks comfy and really like the print.

  2. This is a great dress! Love it with the cardigan, too!

  3. Lovely dress, I actually like it with the print off grain, it looks like an intentional design feature with the three patterned bands running across.
    It's lovely with the jacket over the top too.

  4. Your alterations to the pattern are great, and the new dress looks wonderful, but I see no reason why you could not pop on that adorable original to pop off to the grocery store in either! I would!
    The non-fitted nature of those Anna Sui patterns make them a wonderful choice for a summer dress.

  5. Great summer dress, very casual and comfortable, just what you were looking for, so you should be really happy, love the print of the fabric, so original!

  6. Nice work Irene! I love that you took a great pattern and changed it up to make it even better! Isn't that fun? Actually, I love the fabric!

  7. This is a great dress. I like the print running on the diagonal. I would wear this out and about if it were mine!