Here’s a bit of a special treat today as I finally get to share this
dress that I’ve been lusting after [in my head] for a couple of months now!
My fabric is this luxurious and truly awesome silk “Sailors are My Weakness” fabric from Smuggler’s Daughter. Susan contacted me a couple of months ago and asked if I would like to sew with some of her fabric and review it. I jumped at this opportunity as she carries some beautiful fine fabrics in her online store. I was able to choose any fabric from her store and came across this unique silk print. I have never seen a print like this and I was even more amazed by it when it arrived in my mailbox. The print is like American Traditional style tattoo work with a gorgeous vintage lady, flowers and yes, snakes (or perhaps a sea monster). I don’t like reptiles, but this print just speaks to me and I love everything about it. This is honestly the most insanely beautiful fabric that I’ve ever sewn with. I’ve been gazing at it ever since I opened it’s lovingly packaged carton and this may have resulted in my favorite dress yet.
This pattern goes together well and the instructions are easy to comprehend. The faux smocking — which are gathers that are topstitched — is a bit tenuous and I was a little worried that my silk would not handle the rows and rows of stitching, but it did and splendidly. The results are a very vintage effect that adds volume at the bust and results in a comfortable and flattering retro dress.
I made this dress a little more laborious on myself with linings, bindings and hand sewing. The bodice is underlined and the skirt is lined with bemberg lining. The seams are finished with rayon bias tape and all of the hems are hand-sewn. This took quite a bit more time to do, but it resulted in a nicely finished dress that keeps it’s retro feel inside and out and as my hems are stitched by hand, the thread disappears and allows the focus to be on this gorgeous fabric.
The Dorothy Lara dress pattern comes in 9 sizes up to a 46″ bust. I graded the pattern up one size to a 48″ bust and two sizes for my waist/hips. The only other alteration I did was to add an inch to the skirt length and to sew a narrow hem. After making this dress in silk, I can’t wait to cut into some voile and make another!
I had originally planned to add a self fabric belt to this dress with a vintage 1940’s bakelite buckle set that I found on etsy. But after I finished sewing my dress I decided that a belt and any other adornments would be a bit too much as the fabric is busy and a belt would either disappear amidst the print or detract from it. So I guess I’ll save that for another retro dress!
When I received my dress pattern, Janet had added a note about adding cap sleeve shoulder pads for more structure and a more accurate 1940’s look. I actually did make some shoulder pads and I liked how they defined the shoulders and shaped the sleeves. However, I like how this dress resembles a kimono with the silk fabric and sleeves and decided to leave it without the pads.
I am so happy how this turned out! It’s always great when an idea that you have envisioned in your head comes to fruition exactly as you wanted it to be. I had a few times where I was apprehensive as I thought to myself of how I probably should make a muslin first as I was working with exquisite fabric and a new [to me] pattern company. But judging from the pattern pieces and the loose silhouette of the dress I knew it would fit and that I wouldn’t have any problems.
I’m actually going to be wearing this dress on a Valentine’s getaway with my husband, so essentially this is my Valentine’s dress. <3 We’ll be on the coast, so the sailor theme is quite apropos. If I was closer to the water or had enough forethought I would have taken photos on the wharf or by the harbor in this dress. Instead, here I am in the pasture…. but I did do a 1940’s makeover on myself with vintage 40’s hair and makeup!
I really can’t tell you more about how happy I am with the outcome of this dress! I truly and deeply love it as much as one could love an inanimate object. It feels so glamorous and special to be wearing it. I think it’s a marvelous marriage between pattern and fabric and I really am pleased.
Note: I received this fabric from The Smuggler’s Daughter in exchange for a review. These are my honest opinions.
- Dress: Decades of Style 1940’s Dorothy Lara dress in sailor print silk, made by me
- Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens Floral T-Strap
- Earrings: Bauble Bar
- Parasol: Vintage 1920’s