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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
Also, here’s a peek at what the dress looks like without a belt…
…and though I always wear my Saltsprings without a belt, I like this one better belted.
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!