Bold Graphics Come in Pieces
He-eyyyy I got a new dress for summer. A two-piece dress cut to show off a cheeky little bit o’ belly button.
I used Vogue 2538 for the top – minus the collar and with a few changes I’ll show you in a moment.
Obvs the biggest change is that it’s shorter. I cut the pattern off at the natural waist in front and curved it down about an inch and a half toward the back.
The back has a little surprise – a circular cut-out! I wanted it to coordinate with the giant dots on the dress.
Since the pattern is so bold, wearing both these pieces together might be a bit much. Luckliy, I had two lovely ladies step in and show me how to wear these pieces separately.
Sophisticated Helen is wearing an outfit perfect for a casual office or an evening salsa dancing.
Punk Helen went more casual with leggings and knit skirt. Also, punk Helen would like to address the elephant in the room: the mohawk. I wanted to try it out, but don’t worry mom, it’s probably just a one-time thing.
Since the fabric is pretty stiff, I didn’t want to add any more body to it by lining it. Instead, I finished most the edges with handmade bias tape. I didn’t want the tape to peek out at the edges, so I’ve understitched it all.
Vogue 2538 has french darts (diagonal darts down to the side seams at waist height – you can see them on my Mad Men dress, which is based on the same pattern). When I was making this pattern, I pivoted them into the side seams so they wouldn’t end in the hem.
The back looks like it has a yoke, but actually that seam is there because I ran out of fabric and had to piece it. As usual, I had been stingy and only bought a yard.
I added facings at the center back to support the buttonholes and buttons. Also, it was much easier to make a facing for the tab at the top than try and sew bias tape smoothly around such a tight curve.
Most of the seams are pinked on the inside because I had a brain fart and forgot that I own an overlock maching. By the time I thought to use if for the armscye, it was too late to refinish the rest of the seams. Luckily this fabric has such a tight weave that it shouldn’t unravel much in the wash.
With a big print like this, considering print placement is important. I lined up the circles of the skirt so they were at the same height all around it. Also, the diagonal stripe at the center front matches nearly perfectly from top to bottom.
The skirt has no pattern; I draped it to fit. It’s a basic pencil skirt style. The waistband is 1-3/4″ wide. The rule of thumb is that you can use a straight waistband as long as it is narrower than 2″. However I chose to make a shaped band since I was close to the limit.
The front is shaped by two pleats. To make them, I stitched darts 3/8″ away from the edge of the pleats, then basted the pleats closed at the fold line. Once I had finished constructing the skirt, I opened the basting stitches. The darts are supposed to remain in to help control the fabric, but they should stay hidden by the 3/8″ fold of fabric over them.
I used four darts to shape the back because I have a lot of curve back there.
Here’s a neat detail I got from a piece of ready-to-wear: enclose the end of the zipper in fabric for a nice finish.
I think that’s everything I have for show-and-tell today. So my question for you is: have you sewn something with big, bold prints recently? Share your projects in the comments – I’d love to see them!
Awesome job. Love the fabric.