PROJECT: A faux-wrap dress to use up the rest of the Paris-themed fabric
TIME: several days
MATERIALS: Paris-themed fabric, ribbon, decorative flower, notions
The Paris Sightseeing Dress… a.k.a. The Dress of Many Failures
I was so thrilled to find this Paris-themed fabric for my mom’s surprise apron, I decided I’d use the rest to make something really nice with it. My first thought was a summery dress – something modern but with a nod to the full-skirted mid-century dresses I love so much. I found the Frill Seekers Dress by Forever 18 Inches on Pixie Faire and decided it’d be perfect for what I had in mind.
The only tricky part? It’s an Intermediate pattern. No problem, I thought! I’ve been hanging out in Easyville for awhile now, maybe it was time to crank up the difficulty. Boy, did I…
The Frill Seekers pattern is actually really well made. It comes with three variations of the dress and detailed instructions on how to create the lined bodice. The only minor issue I had with the pattern was that the layout of my pieces had to be reversed because of the way this print faces. I was originally going to opt for the easiest version of the pattern (with the ruffled sleeves)… but even that seemed a bit too difficult at the time, so I opted for the super-easy version and left it sleeveless. Baby steps, right?
You, Me, Oui!
I love this fabric so much. It just looks like something American Girl would’ve created. I got mine from a mom ‘n’ pop fabric store nearby, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it at Joann’s, but I’ve since learned that this print is made by Timeless Treasures and is called “You, Me, Oui!” It may be easier to get online than in stores. Definitely worth the hunt, though. This fabric features a lot of elements from Grace’s collection.
OK… So let’s talk about why I keep referring to this dress as the “Dress of Many Failures.” I was expecting the bodice part to be the most difficult (especially after seeing the instructions dedicated solely to its creation). It really wasn’t too bad, though. The hardest part I had was sewing along the curves. As a result, my dress’s bodice doesn’t lay perfectly flat around one of the arm holes, but over time it’s kind of relaxed into submission (and luckily, it’s at the back, so you don’t really notice it). Then came the skirt…
So this is where impatient and slightly harebrained Jennifer took over. I was having issues trying to gather the skirt by basting, so – and I’m not really sure how I thought this was a good idea at the time – I decided I would gather and sew the skirt onto some ribbon (I think I thought this way it’d create a clean line on the inside of the dress, too? And of course, I decided I’d try to just eyeball the gathers instead of actually pinning them in place. Did not go well.
After undoing everything, I decided to do it the correct way by pinning and then sewing. It was only after I’d finished sewing the skirt on that I realized I’d sewn it on inside out. I debated for several minutes about ways to make this error work… and then started the reluctantly undo the stitches.
After finally getting the skirt and bodice to unite (which may or may not have also involved a lot of fray check, because of all the sewing and resewing), I proceeded to stab myself a few times while hand-sewing on the Velcro and decorative trims. The fabric glue that had worked so well to keep the decorative flowers in place on the aprons also turned against me and made a slippery, goopy mess where it should have held tightly.
But, for all of it’s many, many issues, I’m happy with how the dress turned out. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect (even though I have a tendency to think I can sew more difficult things more easily than I actually can). It was definitely a good learning experience.
Arista in the Paris Sightseeing Dress (with Grace’s City Outfit accessories)
Bonus: Sienna in the relatively drama-free Paris apron:
Forget sewing, let’s bake!