Whenever I am given fabric as a gift I experience a kind of paralysis. What will I make that pays homage to both the fabric and the giver? How can I avoid a disaster? How can I highlight the fabric? These are just some of the doubts and questions that go through my mind.
This fabric is a case in point. It was given to me by my lovely friend Hélène when she joined me for breakfast in New York City having come all the way from Montréal, and I’ve had it on my cutting table with some regularity ever since whilst I dithered about what to make.
I finished up making the Esme dress from Lotta Jansdotter’s book “Everyday Style”, which is full of simple, functional garments, and which I thought would showcase this lovely, gossamer light cotton/silk blend. This is a dress I have been wearing every few days through our warm summer.
However, I didn’t just cut straight into it. I made a wearable toile from some cotton that’s been in my stash for eons. I added pockets (of course), and somehow, this one finished up longer than my “proper” one. I used the extended shoulder for the blue dress, and it’s much cooler than this dress with the longer sleeves.
Apart from the fact that this dress will bring me wonderful memories every time I wear it, I love the fact that it goes with so many of my shoes!
Back view wearing my blue XSA sandals
and front view
I love the dress with my purple pumps
Orange flat sandals (Merrills)
Orange Neo shoes
And of course, my all time Louboutin favourites that go with almost everything I own.
Now, the pattern. This is a simple make. There is a facing pattern, and I used it for the first Esme dress, but I felt that this fabric was too fine and that it would show through, so I made bias binding for all raw edges. I used self-fabric for the neck and sleeves, and some fabric left over from a pair of Mark’s trousers for the hem. I used the origami method to make the plain blue binding as I needed a fair amount, but pieced together the floral binding from the tiniest scraps. I didn’t want to topstitch, so hand stitched all bindings.
I added in-seam pockets for both dresses. The pattern has large patch pockets, but I couldn’t conceive of using them on either of these fabrics, hence the in-seam style. I made them a bit small in the first dress, and perhaps a little high, but remedied that for the blue dress and they are perfect.
The preview photo and this one shows the dress teamed with Missoni sandals. I quite like these shoes but struggle to find things that they go with – this dress is the answer!
I have worn and worn this dress, enjoying the selection of shoes to go with it. I haven’t yet exhausted all the possibilities, and they may keep me going for the rest of the summer! I still have a small piece of this fabric left, so it’s not the last you’ve seen of it.
As for Hélène? We have our next meetup planned for spring. I cannot wait!