Over the years, I've had the opportunity to make several Oliver+S patterns, but this one is definitely one of my favorites. If I had girls, they would absolutely live in this dress. The pattern itself is simple (only 5 pieces, including the button loop guide!), but there are so many ways to put your own stamp on it.
For this challenge, I headed to the fabric store to provide the inspiration and I found it before I even walked in the door, on the sale rack. I've been eyeing this sherbet-colored fabric for ages and once I spotted it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do--chevrons! The end bolt just said 100% cotton and "Made in Switzerland", but it appears to be a yard-dyed, sheer voile or something even more lightweight. I bought 4 yards (a steal at $5/yard!), enough for two girls' dresses and an as-yet-to-be-determined something for me :) The coordinating lining is a baby pink cotton lawn and the contrast neckline is solid quilting cotton.
To create the bodice and skirt chevrons, I cut the pattern down the middle of the front, and along one of the elastic stitching lines, adding seam allowance where needed. Then each piece of fabric was cut individually to ensure that everything matched up. I used the same technique as I did here, overlapping the pieces at the sewing lines and drawing the stripes right onto the pattern pieces before aligning and pinning to the fabric. Here's a close-up of the chevron-matching detail (below is the back seam).
This fabric is sheer! Therefore, French seams were really the only way to sew this dress and I used that technique for both lining and shell (aside from the armholes and neckline, since those curved seams had to lie very flat). Unfortunately, it meant matching chevrons twice for every seam, but in the end, the results were so worth it! The back seam, under the button opening, I used what I refer to as an "after the fact French seam" (officially, a mock French seam) since I couldn't do a true FS there.
|You can see through it!
The French seam along the waistband was tucked into and sewn inside the elastic casing, which helped keep the elastic from being visible from the outside.
|Front of the dress
|Back of dress
I wanted the v-neck to echo the chevrons of the bodice, so I altered the original notched-neckline to a more continuous V shape.
I finished the dress with a simple double-fold hem for both the shell and lining. My original plan was to use the same fabric as the neckline for a band at the bottom, but after pinning it in place, I decided I preferred the airy lightness of the dress without it.
Since my model has a younger sister, I couldn't make a pretty dress for one and not the other, so Miss Maiya also got a (much simpler!) sherbet-striped dress. I started and finished that one in a few hours; needless to say, not having to cut and sew chevrons made for a much quicker construction (although I still used French seams)! I'll post more photos of the second version soon.
|French seams and hems on the lining and shell fabric