If you follow me (or my sewing friends) on Instagram, you know that we got together a couple weeks ago and it was a blast! I came back super refreshed and ready to face motherhood in the trenches again. Which is part of why the post has been long in coming.
Our little sewing vacation came together through Instagram connections. I had met Adrianna last year in Denver and I felt like I knew Leslie pretty well from testing once together and then keeping up on IG. Emily I knew from two of my favorite Facebook groups, RCF and Hey June. The rest of the ladies (Gabriela, Nicole, Sara, Fleurine, Alina as well as the locals that joined us, Kelli, Erin and Allie) I’ve followed and intereacted with on Instagram, but really got to know them on this trip. And guys, they are all every bit of awesome that you could imagine. This incredible sewing community is real folks. They are real people with common interests and I was blown away with how much fun I had and how comfortable it was with everyone. Like we had been friends for a long time.
We rented this sweet AirBNB church converted living space that was absolutely perfect for a group of sewing bloggers. Think all the natural light and and space to spread out and work on projects together. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t take advantage of the picture ops, but I was too busy having a great time. We sewed intermittently but mostly just hung out. Most ladies worked on the Range Backpack from Noodlehead or another bag. Others worked on their jeans for the class at Fancy Tiger, and Sara and I worked on our Fringe dresses from Chalk and Notch the first day and then I worked on my bag the next day. So the Fringe dress, that’s what this post is about.
When Gabriela gave some sneaks to this dress I was so excited to make it! It looked every bit as practical as it is gorgeous. I could get the nursing friendly button placket with the defined waist that I like and then trendy sleeve details.
It released just before our little vacay and I was busy working on my jeans at the time. I had just enough time to cut it out before our trip. I would then finish it up first so I could wear it while I was there. I cut in haste which is not my nature but my only option. I usually cut very carefully because I believe that sets the project up for success. While in Denver I pieced the dress together in between convos in the living room and trips to amazing restaurants. I could tell I wasn’t paying attention to the details and I kept reassuring myself that this style is forgiving and it would be fine. However, I was a little nervous because the designer herself was there and I didn’t want to do a poor job right in front of her! I was right though, this dress is super forgiving, and in typical Chalk and Notch fashion, the pattern is top notch – clear, professional, easy to follow and well drafted. I really can’t point at anything I’m embarrassed about or any glaring mistake. And y’all I made a terrible mistake! When I was hastily cutting the skirt on the fold I didn’t check to make sure that the fabric underneath was completely covered by the pattern piece. So there was a piece missing from the top corner of one skirt that was about 2-3″ wide and 5-6″ deep! Since I had no leftover fabric and my top was already assembled my only options were to scrap it or to decrease the width of the skirt. Since it’s a gathered skirt I took about 2″ off each side of the front skirt piece, so mine has very little gathering in front.
I sewed a straight size 6, adding 3.5″ to the bodice and 1″ to the skirt for my #sewingtall adjustments. I added more to the bodice because I really wanted the waist to hit at my natural waist. That isn’t the intended design, but since my whole life waistlines have always hit at my rib cage I am trying to maximize my opportunities to finally enjoy natural waist-defining clothing. I tried Leslie’s Les Fleurs version on while I was there and I really liked how it looked with the waist just below my rib cage, so I would have been just as happy with that, but mine was already cut at that point. (One of the benefits to hanging out with sewing bloggers – you can try different patterns on 😉 Since I added 3.5″ to the bodice I took Gabriela’s advice and basted my front darts first and then pieced the bodice to determine how high to make the permanent darts. I highly recommend that.
I love the skirt shaping of this dress. It’s very flattering and also quite modest. I’m all about dresses that allow me to safely bend over and care for my children. This is a winner. Also pockets. If a pattern has optional pockets (or even if it doesn’t) I add them. I’ve had the fabric in my stash from the beginning of my apparel sewing days. It’s a Joel Dewberry design by Free Spirit and it’s amazing. Their rayons challis are 56″ wide and the quality is amazing. I was able to get this out of two yards, so two thumbs up.
I want to make a lightweight chambray version next. This is definitely a pattern I see myself repeating. Four of us wore our Fringes to dinner on our last night and alas…no pictures. Seriously for a group of sewing bloggers we sure didn’t follow through with the documentation of the trip!
I worked on the Compass Bag after this dress and finished it up at home. I’ll post pictures on my Instagram soon, so stay tuned!