I know, I know, it’s not summer any more. But I bought the fabric during summer, so I figure that this still counts as my summer DCF Challenge* garment. And the last few weeks in Melbourne have definitely still been feeling like summer!
Sometimes it only takes Emma and I a second to agree on what fabric we want to use as our challenge fabric each season. Other times neither of us feels particularly inspired. We decided on this one when it popped up on Darn Cheap Fabrics‘ Instagram – I think it was about January by then, so well into summer! You will be pleased to know that we already have our autumn challenge fabric in hand.
The fabric is a broderie anglaise, with bright, almost fluorescent orange embroidery around eyelets cut into white cotton. It’s not a style of fabric that I often purchase or wear, but part of the fun of the challenge is to sometimes work with something that isn’t completely typical. And we all know that I do enjoy orange! The holey nature of border anglaise means that lining is generally required. I dove into stash to find the a printed orange/yellow cotton voile to line the front and back of the dress. I also chose to cut strips to make my own bias binding to finish all the edges.
I underlined the front and back pieces by simply overlaying the fashion fabric on top of the printed voile and cutting them as one. I then treated the two layers as one throughout construction. I left the sleeves unlined. The print on the unlining provides some additional dimension to the garment.
The pattern is the Style Arc Mary shift dress, which I’ve sewn before. I’d already shortened the pattern by taking a fold out of both the front and back midway down, and decided to omit the pockets completely. There is enough going on with this fabric! I also cut the back piece on the fold. It also made this a very quick garment to sew.
Because I’d sewn this before I knew that I’d want to make the neckline a little larger. I’d already decided to bind it, but was a little concerned about the fabric stretching out. After joining the fronts, backs and sleeves I ran a line of stitching around the neckline, about 5/8″ in from the edge. I then trimmed away the fabric close to this stitching, then ran another line of stitching around also 5/8″ in from the edge. I trimmed that down to a quarter of an inch, then applied the binding.
Since I had plenty of binding made I decided that the same trim would work nicely on the sleeve edges. And then again on the hemline! (This photo also nicely shows off my latest Django & Juliette sandals…I am very addicted to this brand).
You need to consider edge finishes carefully when working with fabrics like this one, as all those holes mean that seams could easily be seen. I finished the raglan sleeve seams by overlocking them then pressing toward the body. A final row of orange topstitching holds the seam allowances in place and provides a subtle detail.
I think that I am converting to raglan sleeves. If they are well drafted – and these are – I think that they can fit really nicely. The key for good fit in a raglan sleeve is a shoulder dart. They still need shaping! The shoulder dart in this pattern in combination with the gentle curves of the raglan armhole allow this to fit really nicely across my back and shoulders and upper chest. Raglan sleeves are also incredibly easy to sew.
So, although it took me ages to decide what to sew from this fabric, the finished garment is very satisfying. It feels nice and cool, and just skims across the body. And the colour is lots of fun – and you know that I enjoy fun in my clothing!
So, what has Emma sewn? Time to pop over to her blog Ernest Flagg and see!
* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment. We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day. It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).