I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries! When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.
To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.
My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.
The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.
To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.
To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.
I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did! There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress? Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?
I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.
Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.
7 thoughts on “A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things”
I love your dress, the shape is great and the fabric looks amazing, I haven’t been sewing too long, a couple years and have not yet sewn with either fabrics, this could be to do with the shops near me that are general haberdasheries that sell some a range of fabrics but not higher end ones, I think I should definitely try sewing with these soon. You look fab
Thanks so much! Yes, linen is really nice to cut and sew. It holds a press really nicely too, which makes it so satisfying. I hope you can give it a try!
Very stylish! It looks great. I love how your turned this top into a dress. I’m not sure that I’ve tried to do that before but I think your methodology makes sense.
Thanks! I think it was a pretty easy pattern to experiment with …which I do love!