Monday, May 28, 2018

The Orchid Dress

Some years back I decided that what I really needed was an easy summer dress - 2 main pattern pieces (front and back) and then, by changing necklines and sleeves/sleeveless options I would be happy.  I started with this pattern.
OOP, but available through some vendors on Etsy and EBay

It's ancient, but it fits all the categories - a front, a back and easy as can be.  Ha!  I started with a SBA.  Great - two less darts to sew.  I made up the dress and decided that I had to "try it out" for a while before I decided what else needed "fixing".  I was constantly tugging at it.  Felt like  I had to stand ramrod straight at all times or something just wasn't sitting right.  Not a dream dress at all.  Oh, well - too bad.  Then I fell in love with this fabric - amazing orchids.

It's a fairly heavy cotton sateen.  It just had to be a sheath dress, because there was nothing else it could be.  Back to the drawing board.  I pulled out the original dress, ripped seams, pinned, tugged, repinned.  Finally got it right.  Time to tackle the orchids.  Original pattern has a seam running down the back to make room for a zipper.  No way was I having a seam ruining my orchid on the back!

So- side zipper and buttons on one shoulder took care of how to get in and out of the dress.  No side slits for me - I turned it into a big pleat.

Ah - the zipper - after much thought and deliberation - I decided on a regular zipper - lapped application with hand-picked stitching.

Yes, an invisible zip would have been so much easier, but ... that would have left the zipper pull dangling under my arm.  Not pretty, I decided.  With this application, the zipper pull tucks neatly into its slot, and - an almost invisible zip.

Buttons are flat.  Do you know how it hurts when you have buttons with shanks on your shoulder and you then hang a bag on that shoulder?  Trust me - serious pain.  One really has to think these things through, otherwise comfort is definitely compromised.  The original dress is still in pieces - really must do something about that.
The orchids were to be my Easter dress.  The weather thought otherwise, so this turned out to be a Pentecost dress.
Should have perched the camera higher up - live and learn!

Verdict - I'm beginning to think that I'm just not the right shape for this style.  Yes, it now fits.  No I did not tug at it.  But overall, it's just not ... I don't know what.  May-be if I wore a belt...  May-be if I stood like a statue and didn't move ...  Perhaps a fabric that's less stiff... Let's just say, that I'm in no rush to make another one of these.


  1. Perfectly executed as usual! I love the lapped zipper.

  2. Your dress is lovely! I have a small bust also and even though I really like this style of dress, I'm just never quite satisfied with the look on me...could it be proportions?

    1. I have no idea what it is that makes this dress "uncomfortable", may-be it will just take some getting used to.

  3. Smashing. From the outside it looks fabulous but only you know what it feels like to wear. Hope you love it more over time and wear it often. It's so beautiful it needs to be seen.

  4. Beautiful dress and very fine work!

  5. gorgeous! I just found your blog and will follow. You sew beautifully.

  6. There are so many details which make this dress special, and I especially love the addition of the lapped zipper. Just beautiful!

  7. Ms. Irene. I love your dress and how you enhanced it to make it functional and better fitting. I truly appreciate your effort to explain it all. Thanks, Cennetta

  8. Sometimes a style is just not right - I have had to concede that as well. It may be right for someone else, of course. It's a pity, because the dress is so beautiful, and so nicely detailed.

  9. The dress and fabric are absolutely stunning, I hope you grow to love wearing it too!

  10. I think the dress is lovely and I really like the way you have worked around the flowers so they shine .... sorry about the button bruises though! Crikey - I bet you won't do that again! Anyway, it's funny how some garments just don't feel right somehow. To me the dress looks fab and I think you look wonderful in it, but if its not right then its not right.