French dart dress sewalong

I’ve been participating in an Instagram sewalong of a Maven French dart dress and managed to sew two.

The first one I made from a piece of vintage batik, which still had the gold seal sticker on it. This came from my mother’s stash and was possibly bought by my father on one of his forays to Asia.

I decided to be clever and make the border go round the hem, which meant that I had to reduce the length of the pattern. I completely misjudged the length and finished up with a tunic instead of a dress, but I don’t really mind too much. It goes so well with skirts and trousers.

I adore the shaping that French darts provide; they really seem to suit my body shape.

I put the darts in the back, which provided even more shape. I find the collar is a bit high at the back, as I don’t look like I have a neck – actually I don’t have much of a neck!

I made the version with the collar and the cap sleeves. The fabric feels wonderful and I suspect I’ll be wearing this with shorts during the summer. It’s easy to sit in too.

A final closeup of the fabric, the design is lovely.

My second one is made from shot silk which also had belonged to my mother. It’s a beautiful colour, with green on the warp and red on the weft. It shimmers!

The photo above was taken before I hemmed the dress, so you can clearly see the red at the bottom . I again made it a bit short, so added a self bias hem band.

Once again I made the cap sleeves as I like them, but I halved the height of the collar so I looked like I had a neck.

This version looks a bit tighter, it has pulls, but I’m not sure why. The fabric frayed like mad and I wonder if I lost some of the seam allowance, but surely not that much! I might try some different underwear and see if that makes a difference.

You’ll note that I have a matching bag. I had a bit of fabric left over and figured a matching bag would be nice. It’s my own pattern from a Japanese knot bag I rubbed off years and years ago. I really like this style as that short pice is bent, giving a neater finish. However, I managed to ignore my notches and the opening is not as wide as it should be. Not that it matters.

I lined it with a scrap of purple shot silk. I could, in theory, use the bag this way, but I’m not sure I have too much that would go with it. Of course it would need a good press!

I thought I’d make a video of the dress in action. I can’t believe how awkward I look! This is why I don’t do reels.

The weather is beginning to warm up and I thought you’d like to see Miss G skipping to the slide. Please note that I put her bathers on backwards, hence the “g-string” effect at the back!


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