Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Black and Orange Paisley Print Midi Dress

Autumn sunset colours and another dress, this time in a flowing midi length 1970's style.  This is a super-sized paisley print in black, cream, grey, oranges and pinks.   

Its a burdastyle pattern (for either a maxi or midi length dress) from the June 2016 edition.  I had intended to do the full maxi at first, but due to limited fabric I had to cut the length shorter. I'm very happy with the midi length actually and as my summer tanned legs will rapidly fade back to the colour of skimmed milk by October, I'm making them most keeping just a few inches of lower calf on show for now.  It's a great length to wear with boots too, making it perfect for going into the chillier months.  

The design has a very flattering inset godet panel at the front that flares out from the waistline, and the shaped bodice flows down into quite a full skirt.  The skirt sides and back are cut on the bias.  There is a sewn-in band around the waist on either side of the godet that ties at the back.  I have to say the shaping is great and the fit very flattering for me.  I cut a size 14, which came out pretty spot on as a UK size 12.

I love coral colours of this material and I like a bold print occasionally, and so when I spotted this crazy paisley fabric for £3 per meter a while ago it just had to be mine.  It was just waiting for the right pattern to suit it.  I have no idea what the content is (man made fibres to be sure) but it's quite a weighty fabric and slightly stretchy with a really good drape and flow to it.  Hell to cut out and keep still enough to sew, but beautiful to wear.  

The sleeves are very full and flippy, making a great top shape in contrast to the plunging neckline at the back and front. I love the deep double V neck on this, but you might need to adjust according to your comfort zone before cutting the bodice out.  I'd recommend a couple of bra strap loops to keep things in place on the shoulders too, especially if the fabric is a bit weighty.

Cutting the pieces was a challenge with this pattern repeat as I really didn't want any obvious repeats cropping up in odd places, and neither did I want to miss any opportunities for a nice placement.  I was particularly careful with the front godet, which I cut carefully and then placed and pinned.  It wriggled horribly on the machine, with seemingly acres of heavy slippery fabric that was hell-bent on pulling away from me.  Inevitably this ended up with the print being way off kilter and the whole thing had to be unpicked and re-set in.  Bleurgh!  I made sure I basted it in the next time so it was held securely.  

I was short of fabric to properly deal with the design repeat, so that I was winging it for the most part actually and just needed to squeeze every piece out as best I could.  Luckily the print is large and quite random, so the repeat isn't clearly visible.  This fabric has a bouncy texture which just wouldn't submit to ironing at all and in fact the finish on the hems is just a very close zig zag along the raw edge, no turning under as it wouldn't lay flat. I usually prefer cotton, linen and wool mixes to work with as they are much less likely to have a mind of their own and are well behaved on the machine and under the iron.  The upside is though, it doesn't tend to crease, so although it's refusal to iron means some of the seams are not as flat as I'd like, the benefit is it won't crumple easily on wearing.  And less ironing of clothes generally is bonus all round.

I have omitted the full lining on this dress, and I'm very happy for it to be without one.  I would usually line most dresses as the fit is usually much better and skims over the body with less creeping or bunching fabric.  Lining also stops you being caught showing all you've got, when the sun shines right through the fabric and you realise your dress is more transparent than you thought!   

However this fabric is very opaque and so slinky-malinky that I just felt the skirt lining would only add unnecessary bulk.  The bold pattern prevents any of the lighter coloured areas revealing what lies beneath.  I experimented a bit with a facing to finish the neckline and in the end opted for a bodice lining only, using a dark grey cotton poplin.  This makes the top section comfortable and stable around the neck, but doesn't constrict the movement of the dress.  I really like flippin' those sleeves around!

And so it was off to its debut outing for a garden party on Saturday, with a gang I haven't seen for most of the summer.  What with school holidays, work and kids to juggle and a couple of weeks in France I don't seem to have had a chance to hand out with friends for quite a while.  Of course if you combine a group of the most fun and fabulous ladies I know with prosecco on tap and professional entertainment, it was a hilarious and very late night. Apologies to all of my lovely friend's neighbours for having to listen to me belting out Don Henley 'Boys of Summer' at the top of my voice and non-too tunefully at 2am in the garden. In my defence, the wonderful guitarist who had previously been playing had left a unguarded mic outside in plain view and the results were inevitable I'm afraid.  Anyway, a fantastic last summer fling was had by all and so onwards into Autumn!


  1. Gorgeous dress, and looks beautiful on you. Love the boots with it, very in vogue (actually lots of longer dresses worn with boots in this month's Vogue). A great debut for it at the 'garden party' - sounds fun!

  2. Thank you AWR! Yes boots are great this time of year! I am wearing them with all my dresses at the moment to make the most of them before winter clothes.

  3. This looks amazing! I love the fabric.

  4. Thank you LGS, yes the fabric is mad isn't it?! Sarah X