Several months ago, I went snoop shopping at my favorite almost-unaffordable boutique in Philadelphia. They had a ton of stuff I liked, and a lot of interesting details I tried to sketch out when I left for later addition to garments. But the one piece that really stuck in my mind was the dress worn by the sales girl. It was a simple sheath, gray blue, beautifully fitted, and the neckline was trimmed with an assortment of roses made from bias tubing - gray, navy, black.
It was gorgeous. And she hadn't purchased it there. She said it came from Anthropologie the year before. And I never remember to go in that store, which is almost directly across from the boutique.
The dress stuck in my head, but I didn't see any chance of making it any time soon. And I hate making bias tubing, so the idea of making enough of it to adequately trim a dress (aside from being embellishment-challenged) was enough to send me out of the sewing room completely.
And then about 5 weeks ago, I was in NY shopping with Elizabeth, and I ran across some navy blue Italian cotton suiting in Metro Textiles. It struck me that this fabric would work beautifully for a knockoff of that dress, so I bought some. Then we went to Pacific Trims, and I fell in love with this floral trim they had, but none of the colors worked with my new fabric. So it was going to be back to the drawing board for the trim. Except I liked the stuff from Pacific. I didn't buy any, but a few days later I emailed Elizabeth and asked if she could pick up a yard of it for me.
When I got it, I knew that it had to be on the dress, and I just needed to find a different fabric. Which very quickly led me to this black and white pinstriped stretch woven I picked up with Kisha about 2-3 months ago on 4th Street at PA Fabric Outlet. It had originally wanted to be pants and a jacket, but it got over that idea.
Then the hunt was on for the perfect sheath dress pattern. I looked at about 5 patterns on BWOF, and one on Ottobre, and all of them (but none of them) would do. I didn't want seaming that interrupted the pinstripes, and almost all of them had something that didn't work for me. Then last week I read a review on PR for Burdastyle's Fatina dress. The dress as made up didn't work for what I wanted, but when I went online and looked at the pattern, I realized it had the bones of exactly what I needed.
Doesn't take much to make me buy a pattern.
I printed it out, took it home, taped it together, cut it out and cut out the fabric on Friday night. Saturday, I sewed up the dress. It was ridiculously easy - just a front, a back with a centered invisible zipper, and lots of bias strips for the neck and armholes. Substantial bust darts provide shaping, and I did bring the dress in a bit at the waist so it was more sheath, less shift. But overall, no fitting issues. Full patternreview is here.
The floral trim came sewn to black net. I cut the trim apart in sets of 3, and pinned it around the neck of the dress until I got an arrangement that I liked, then I sat on the couch watching reruns of Project Runway and hand-sewed it on.
I'm absolutely thrilled with the result. It's exactly what I had in mind, but better. The severity of the pinstripes works really well with the trim, and I think that maybe . . . just maybe . . . my fear of embellishment is subsiding a bit. At least when I can find embellishments like this, that announce loud and clear what they want done with them.
Sewing Saturday flowed into Sewing Sunday, and I actually knocked out a second version of this pattern in a plaid knit that I've had on hand for about 6 months. Once I bought it, I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but when I was trying to think of another variation on Fatina, it called out rather loudly from the stash shelf, "Me, me! Pick me!"
I drafted a sleeve for this version, and other than hemming the sleeves, pressing the hems and adding one tiny embellishment, it's done.
Two fall dresses in one weekend. I feel so much better.