The title of this post should really be “if at first you don’t succeed . . . ” because that’s ultimately the message today: try, try again. A couple months ago I made a wrap dress, and there was plenty to love about it – but it landed on the misses list in December. The issues with this dress had less to do with the pattern itself and more to do with the scale of the print combined with all that dress. So, I got to work removing the sleeves and replacing the belt with a solid black sash to break up the print a little. I think doing those things does the trick: now this is a dress that I feel good in and makes sense to me. It’s also more wearable, because I can easily throw on a cardigan or blazer without trying to cram the sleeves into another sleeve – or “smoosh” as I like to say.
I’m currently working on a black and white collection, and when I was putting it together a few weeks ago I knew I wanted another crack at this pattern. It’s just too good (easy to sew, fit is great), and I was excited about using the last little bit of a black and white tropical floral cotton I’ve had in my stash for a long, long time. I made a shirtdress out of it a couple years ago, but that particular dress went to my momma’s closet. I had just under two yards of fabric left over, and I had a feeling it would be a lovely version of the peplum top (view A) from this pattern.
I’m wearing it with jeans here, but it will also work well with summery linen pants or a black skirt or shorts. In this case, the sleeves work because the scale of the print is larger and the top isn’t overwhelmed by so much pattern. I went with a black belt again, for two reasons: I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the ties out of the floral, and I liked the contrast of black around the waist.
This fabric is another great find from Fashion Fabrics Club, but I got it years ago so it’s long been sold out. If you’ve been following this little blog for any length of time you know that I don’t particularly care for black – it’s just not a color that usually inspires me. I’ve also learned that solid white isn’t necessarily the most flattering thing I could wear, but the combination of black and white is what’s on my mind right now. It’s so classic and versatile, and while I have no plans to introduce a lot of solid black into my future sewing, I can appreciate having a few black pieces in my closet like a great pair of pants or skirt. If you’re a fellow fan of black and white, I found a few other options that would make great tops and dresses. I love the fact that great floral prints like this can work year round because they’re in neutral black and white. Plus, looking at those tropical prints in the middle of winter is motivating – spring is on the way!
If you’re looking for a flattering, easy to sew blouse, I’d recommend this pattern. I think it would be darling in gingham, but I’m really interested to see the dress in a solid color or something with some texture like an eyelet. Because the shoulder seam has been dropped (this makes “setting” in sleeves much easier than if the shoulder seam hadn’t been lowered), the armhole is quite large without the sleeve. I like the fact that there’s a little more coverage than a traditional sleeveless bodice, but your arm (and the surrounding area) is much more exposed than it normally is. Not a big deal, but it’s worth noting.
I finished the armhole seams with bias tape I made with what fabric I had left over. The pattern may include armhole facings – I honestly can’t remember – but I would never use them anyway. Bias tape is a much cleaner, less clunky finish.
Sometimes – especially when a project is a total loss – I can walk away knowing it couldn’t be fixed. This dress was different, and I’m especially happy with the black ties around the waist. I’m smitten with the peplum top too – that one will be especially fun to wear this summer with my favorite Panama hat and sandals.
Do you fix the so-so projects or just move on? It’s been a while since I’ve altered or changed a garment like this, but I’m glad I did. I can finally wear it!
Be sure and come back on Thursday. We’ll be talking all about a special line of sewing furniture, and there will be a giveaway for one winner. Can’t wait!
P.S. This is the dress I made a couple years ago out of the black and white floral cotton. I used an older Vogue pattern, and I really loved that dress – but I ended up giving it to my mom because I knew she would be adorable in it. I never took proper pictures of this dress, so maybe my mom and I will take some photos together next time I’m in Nashville. (Hey, Momma! We’re taking pictures together next time I’m in town!)
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