Let me tell you, I was nervous about this dress. As you may remember, the fabric was a gift from Cidell that she got during her trip to Ghana last year. It was this fabric that helped me to settle on my theme for this wardrobe, ‘global wanderings.’ So I had to make something good with it. I went through many dress patterns looking for the right one. Initially I decided on a Vogue maxi-dress, but I kept my eyes peeled for other alternatives because I just wasn’t 100% sold on that.
Flipping for the millionth time through my oft-paged-through-but-never-used issues of Patrones, I found a dress with a silhouette I thought was very complementary to the fabric. The dress is by Flamenco, which is a brand I’ve never heard of before. I’m assuming it’s Spanish. I tried Googling to find out more about this company and maybe see some more dress pics, but as you might imagine, when your search terms include words like “Flamenco, clothing, apparel, dress”, all you get is links to apparel specifically marketed for flamenco dancing. Edited: Thank you Laüra for providing the link to the Flamenco website! Very fun clothes!
Notes on construction/alterations
A muslin was a must in this case because of my unfamiliarity with the fit of Patrones patterns. I looked all over for “cremallera” (zipper) in the Spanish text but I didn’t find it, so I figured this must be the kind of thing that will just go over your head. It is. I took in the shoulder seams a bit and made the neckline larger (even before I added the tab collar it was seriously choking me). Otherwise the fit was good enough to proceed.
Bias cut front
To add a little pizzazz to the look, I added a center front seam and cut each of the two fronts on the bias.
(This one’s for you, Leslie!) As you can see, the front yoke has a slit down the front which is held together (or not) with 4 buttons. I had planned to form button loops using soutache but I couldn’t figure out a way to hide the cord’s raw edges given the way I constructed the slit (I should have taken pics of how I did this but I was working expediently and trying to stay focused!). The only other option I could think of was to make button loops (a thread bar covered with buttonhole or blanket stitches) like I learned last month during the “Couture Techniques” class with Susan Khalje in LA last month (yup, PR Weekend). Since I most certainly did not remember this technique off the top of my head, I consulted a couple of my reference books and I found it on page 138 of Susan Khalje’s Bridal Couture as well as on page 33 of Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques. My practice button loop did not turn out great, but in the interest of time I just went ahead and worked them on my garment. One’s wonky but overall the experience was a confidence booster. I can now turn mere thread into a button loop!
I found the gold buttons in my stash, they match the button that I used on the tunic with the drawstring neckline (See? There is cohesiveness in this wardrobe :) )
The muslin, thank goodness, gave me a chance to practice curved seams (on the front yoke), which I rarely do so they’re always a bit stressful. There was a lot of staystitching, seam allowance clipping, pin basting and thread basting involved…
Looking at the pictures of me wearing the dress, I see that the hem is flipping out at the left side slit. Could this be because I pulled the thread too taut when I was doing an invisible hem by hand? Must investigate. The camera never lies, does it?
The overall design of this dress is simple and therefore a good ‘introduction’ for me to Patrones. (Now I’m seriously hooked and I just ordered the latest issue (Joven) from Ebay!)
I prefer the way this looks when I have the collar spread open vs. when the collar is completely closed. Because of the round shape of my face, I think I look better when I have some neck/chest showing to help elongate. In the model photo, the yoke seems to naturally spread open, but mine doesn’t do that unless I really fold the entire collar under.
The deadline for the wardrobe contest looms near, and I really have to thank this lady for getting me through some long sewing sessions...