I’m dusting off this old blog yet again! I created so many wonderful things last year and have yet to share them. I either get indifferent about blogging or too busy creating to document it much further than IG. I’m hoping to stop doing that and start sharing again as there is more that I want to say on my blog than I can in an IG post. Blogging might be on the wayside, but it’s good way to have a record of your projects and the best way to share them. Anyway…. on to more about this dress!
This is the Lamour Dress by Charm Patterns. I received a copy of this pattern to review for the Curvy Sewing Collective and was super excited as Gertie had re-released this pattern with an updated size range and so many options. I have loved vintage Alfred Shaheen sarong dresses for a long time and had been planning to make my own using two of Gertie’s patterns for Butterick with some alterations and drafting the sash/shoulder drape. But when this pattern came out, it was just perfect to create a magical Shaheen style dress and I couldn’t wait to sew it up and wear it!
I collect Polynesian print fabrics and found this vintage 1970’s barkcloth in a thrift store a couple of summers ago. Barkcloth is a favorite fabric of mine to sew with, so I never pass it up if it’s a good price. This one is marked “GVH Hawaii” and having other fabrics in my stash from the same brand and going by the print, I assumed this was a 70’s fabric. My mom was over one day when I was making this and told me that it was (she lived in Hawaii in the 70’s and sewed herself clothes from barkcloth similar to this print).
As I mentioned before, I wanted a Shaheen sarong style dress, but didn’t have enough fabric to use the sarong skirt for this dress. Shaheen made lots of different dress designs, so I chose the circle skirt with the strapless bodice and bodice sash along with that dramatic shoulder drape.
I had no idea what to expect from this pattern, but I had seen so many great versions of it and knew that it was professionally drafted, so I cut my fabric, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I like to fly by the seat of my pants and ignore making muslins for well-drafted patterns. Thankfully, it worked out well this time!
As the bodice started taking form and I saw how the fit was on my dressform, I was super impressed. Even more so when I tried it on. It fit like a glove with no gaping and no alterations other than my usual swayback adjustment. It wasn’t too low and I didn’t feel like I was going to fall out or that it was too constrictive. I can’t count how many similar patterns I’ve tried that I hated due to a bad fit. I actually was starting to give up on sewing a sundress like this until this pattern as I was getting tired of the multiple alterations that I’d have to make before it fit right.
This pattern suggests and has directions for using spiral steel boning. I don’t recommend not going this route, but I didn’t use spiral steel or any kind of steel boning for my dress. Instead, I used heavy duty plastic zip ties. I got used to using these for historical sewing and I love them (I buy mine at Harbor Freight). These zip ties worked fantastically and gave my dress the structure it needed. I did sew extra boning channels as there was a lot of space between the channels in the upper sizes and I felt it needed more boning. I used a combination of self-fabric and dotted Swiss cotton for the bodice lining.
The shoulder drape is attached on the inside of the bodice with snaps. It’s probably my most favorite thing about this dress. It also makes me feel a little bit more covered up whilst wearing a strapless bodice.
I made a 20 D/DD in the bodice and graded up to a 22 at the waist and hips. I added some length to the skirt. The only alterations other than grading up and adding length was a swayback adjustment to the back of the bodice.
Once again, I’m very impressed with pattern and look forward to sewing up another version! With so many options, it’s easy to get a different look. Definitely a convert to Charm Patterns.
*I received this pattern in exchange for a review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
- Dress: Charm Pattern Lamour dress, made by me
- Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
- Bangles: Splendette and Bow & Crossbones
- Bakelite mahjong bracelet: Vintage
- Bakelite earrings: Vintage
- Hair flower: VeeVee Vintage on Etsy