Finished Project · Sewing

A Dress Made of Watercolor Flowers and Fairy Wings

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

Have you ever sewn with wool gauze?  This dress marks my first occasion to sew with this type of fabric, and I swear it was like sewing with fabric made of fairy wings.  So light and delicate and fragile.  But amazing and beautiful and perfect all the same. UPDATE:  I just looked up my order info, and the fabric was actually labeled wool georgette, not gauze!

I’d been saving this particular watercolor floral fabric, which came from the Tessuti Fabrics remnants section (or specials section?), from way back when I was trying to get my Gridlock order into the realm of free shipping.  I seem to fall head over heels for painterly fabrics, and this one was no exception.  It needed just the right pattern.  When I got a sneak peek during pattern testing of Tasia of Sewaholic‘s next dress pattern, the Yaletown Dress, I figured it was just the thing.  It had large skirt pieces that would feature the giant floral pattern nicely, and the loose wrap bodice was perfect for the more abstract parts of the print.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

I had just enough fabric for the dress but not enough for the self-fabric belt, so I made do with a belt from my closet.  The pattern calls for facings, but since this wool gauze was so sheer, I instead lined everything but the sleeves with some ivory silk crepe de chine left over from this skirt project.  It took some creativity to figure out how to line the entire blouse while also enclosing all of the side seams, but my perseverance won out in the end.  The pattern suggests you topstitch the facing down along the entire neckline, and though I hadn’t used a facing, I decided my lining would benefit from the same treatment.  The openness of the wrap meant understitching alone wasn’t cutting it for me.  I used a walking foot and went as slowly as I could, but the delicate wool gauze did end up with a few slight ripples between the topstitching and the neckline.  The fabric wouldn’t have forgiven any seam ripping, I think the tiny ripples are imperceptible to most, and it beats seeing the lining peek out, so I didn’t bother to try to restitch.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

Did I mention how much I love painterly fabrics?!  Look at those flowers! I just love how they dance across the back in their muted browns and oranges and bright pinks and yellows and greens.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

The front and the back of the skirt are the same pattern piece, which for me means I get nice soft gathers in the front and a nice loose skirt in the back.  Perhaps it’s my bum that eats up the possibility of any gathers in the back!?  Both of my shorter Saltsprings do the same (Liberty here and galaxy here), so I think it’s just a feature of how this style of pattern fits me.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

Sadly, there are no pockets here.  I found that though I love the idea of pockets, I don’t like the way side seam pockets in floaty fabrics like this look on me.  Though I like the style of dress (as apparent in how many times I’ve made the Saltspring!) there are not enough gathers to hide pockets well on me.  I’m always catching myself in the mirror trying to smooth them down.  Perhaps if they were caught up in the waistline a bit to help them lay smoothly towards the front?  I guess that’s something I should have mentioned in my pattern testing feedback but didn’t realize until now!

The looser wrap top is new for me.  I like how it drapes across…

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

…but it does gape a lot, so I think I’ll tack it closed once I’m no longer nursing and needing access to that area.  For now I’m wearing the dress with a nursing tank underneath.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

I also really like how my StyleArc Nina cardigan pairs with this dress.  This year I’m trying to think a bit more about how the garments I stitch can come together into a wearable closet, which is how I went about planning my SWAP (the Stitcher’s Guild Sewing with a Plan challenge) a few years back.  My Belcarra blouse and my Mariska skirt made earlier this year go together nicely, and now my Nina cardigan pairs with both my galaxy Saltspring dress and this Yaletown dress.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

Also, here’s a peek at what the dress looks like without a belt…

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

…and though I always wear my Saltsprings without a belt, I like this one better belted.

Sew Well - Watercolor Yaletown Dress

I wish I’d had enough fabric to try out the self-fabric belt since I think it adds to the loose-wrap-dress look, but I wouldn’t have wanted to give up anything about this dress to make it happen with the little fabric I had on hand.  Plus, this fairy-wing fabric might not have taken kindly to being tugged and tied in belt form at the waist.  The sleeve seams, the only seams not lined, are already showing a bit of wear and tear from the few times I’ve worn it this summer.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the little guy who kept trying to sneak into the photo shoot.  He’s being camera shy here of course, but look at all that fur!

Sew Well - Yaletown Dress


40 thoughts on “A Dress Made of Watercolor Flowers and Fairy Wings

    1. Thanks! When I made it, I was convinced Seattle didn’t really have summers, and I would never be able to wear the dress without a cardigan. It’s warmed up in the last couple of weeks though, and I’ve been able to put the cardigan away!

  1. That is lovely looking fabric! I’ve got a little shy of 2 yards of wool gauze that I’ve been hording for over a year now as I waffle over what to make with it… It’s pretty hard to find stuff, huh?

  2. The dress is lovely, and you look lovely in it. The cardi is a nice addition. I’m not sure I would want a dress with such a low neckline wrap, so that I would have to wear a cami under it. I hope you enjoy wearing it, and thanks for sharing!

    1. If you look at Tasia’s versions, you’ll see that her neckline is much more modest:

      She’s stitched it (or buttoned it) closed. I chose to do neither just yet since I’m currently breastfeeding and like the access the loose, open wrap gives. I guess I could have buttoned it, but I figured it would just be easiest to wait until I could permanently stitch it closed. I hope to not need a camisole underneath then. That said, it is looser and blousier than the typical DVF wrap dress though…

  3. The fabric is gorgeous! Love the dress too. Almost enough to buy the pattern, but I know that in order for me to get the pattern to work well for me I’d have to do too much, so I’ll continue to covet from afar.

    1. Awww, that’s too bad. But, I do think it’s important to know how pattern companies generally fit your body type. For me, I know Sewaholic fits really well right out of the envelope as long as I trim down the hips (since I’m not pear shape). So, as long as I like the style, I’m pretty sure I’ll like the pattern. Hopefully you have a few go-to pattern companies that you know how to easily fit for you!

  4. SO beautiful!! ohmegosh I LOVE that print! Wool gauze seems to be getting a lot of mention lately; I just blogged about the vest I made with it. LOVE the fabric, but mine was very fray-prone. You found just the right pattern to pair that fabric with; it’s absolutely delicious on you!

  5. This is such a gorgeous dress and looks beautiful on you. The belt and cardigan are a nice addition. I know you will wear this so much and many different ways.

  6. I love your dress and really want to make this pattern. I think I prefer it with a separate belt. I haven’t got it yet and have my eye on some gorgeous (but a little pricey fabric). What yardage did you use to make this version without the belt?

    1. Unfortunately, I can’t remember. I just looked up my order information, but since the piece was a remnant, it was just sold as a single item. I bet you’d need enough to cover the length you wanted the dress from shoulder to hem. The sleeves were easy enough to squeeze out of odd sized pieces after I’d cut the main skirt and bodice front and back pieces. And, since the front pieces are odd shaped, I think I was able to squeeze them into the space left between the top of the dress pieces, cutting on a single layer. I didn’t cut facings, either, so that helped minimize the fabric I needed. If you can wait to buy your fabric, in the past I’ve often laid out all my pattern pieces at the defined width of the fabric that I thought I bought my expensive fabric.

  7. That fabric is gorgeous. Just ordered the Yaletown too. Now if I can get District Fabric to carry something like that . . . I’d be in sewing heaven! So glad you got to make the Yaletown nursing friendly!

  8. Oh I’m a massive sucker for painterly print on fabrics, too! This one is really, really gorgeous – so beautiful autumnally in tone. And the size of those flowers! Love it.

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