Sunday, November 11, 2018

FO: Sorrel Dress

I'm a little late for release day, but yay for the Sorrel Dress! I can finally share this dress that has been a few months in the making :) I was thrilled to be chosen as a tester for the new Sorrel Dress pattern by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. The pattern is a vintage style shirt dress with kimono sleeves, a fold back lapel, release darts at the waist for the bodice and the skirt, and a more straight silhouette. This was a little out of my style comfort zone, to be honest. I'm more of a fit and flare girl by nature, so I was hoping for that shape when I signed on, but the pattern sent only had a straight style skirt. I also have been skeptical of kimono sleeves for years. I'm very picky about sleeve styles as I just feel like some make my arms look bigger - I always thought kimono sleeves would be one of those unfortunate styles because they always seem like cap sleeves in line drawings. This dress has proved my suspicions unfounded!
When it came time to make up my final version, I was a little at a loss as to what fabric to use. This design is very open ended with the suggestions on fabric, and I knew I wanted to stay in my stash. In the end I chose a fabric that I had actually tried to sell a little while ago. I had this up on my Instagram destash, but I went with the inspiration and took it down :) The fabric is a mystery woven I got at a thrift store a while back. The overall fabric is navy blue with a subtle textured stripe in the weave as well as single strands of white thread woven in to create very light flecks in stripes throughout. I did a burn test and I know it's a natural fiber because it ignites and keeps on burning with no beading (just ash), but that's as far as I know. It seems to have some rayon content just judging by how shifty and difficult it was to cut. Whatever it is, I really like it. I'm glad I found a use for it at last.
For my initial muslin, I made it up as drafted except that I added 1.5" to the waist length since that is a standard adjustment for me with Jennifer Lauren patterns. My muslin seemed a bit too long in the waist, so I shortened it by 1/2" for my final version. I also made a 1" forward shoulder adjustment and let out the waist a little by sewing at a 3/8" allowance instead of 5/8". I think the weight of my fabric affected the fit on my final version and now even with shortening a little I think it's still a bit long. The waist does sit at my natural waist, but it just looks a bit too long to my eye - maybe this style would look better on me just above the natural waist. Anyway, I had to do some adjusting to make it look more fitted like it's supposed to. I had to take in my addition to the waist just a bit at each side seam, then I extended my darts on the bodice and the skirt by 1" each to take up some of the excess fabric and smooth things on my stomach. In the end I decided to add a sash at the waist to help snug things up and help the excess fabric blouse up a bit to look more intentional. All these things are based on my own "going rogue" with this pattern - the pattern itself was great! I always love Jen's instructions and drafting, and I have yet to have any type of issue with her designs. (and I'm totally not required to say anything like that, that is just my opinion - her patterns are always a pleasure.)
As with all of Jen's designs, this one includes pockets :) And I always add pockets when possible. This fabric is a bit heavy and drapey for them and they possibly add a bit of girth to my hip area, but I don't care because pockets. Incidentally I think the dress looks very flattering with my hands IN the pockets, lol. My waist tie is just the full width of the fabric and 3 inches wide - I angled the edges down just for a bit of style. It's a little bi short, so I can only tie it once, but I like the effect.
Here you can see the stripes of flecks (flecks of stripes?) in the fabric. I actually accidentally cut the lapel facings upside down, and in my sewing room the back from the front of this fabric was quite obvious, but I did not want to cut new pieces and I figured no one will notice but me. Can you even tell that the strips on the collar are slightly more pronounced than the rest of the dress? I figured not. Keeping with my stash, I used some plain navy buttons that I have a whole bucket of from a Sewing Studio deal. At first I was less than thrilled by them, but now I really like that they blend in so well.
The actual "collar" is non-existent on this dress - it's just a lapel that folds back to give the illusion of a collar. This made the construction so much easier than a true collar would be, but I still get the look of having one - a win win :)
Here's how short my tie turned out, lol. I don't hate the look without the belt, it just doesn't help accentuate my waist, which is my preferred look, so I like to snug things up with the belt. This fabric was quite fray-proned, so I used my serger on all of the seams inside (yay serger, lol).
My fingers are at my natural waist in this picture. The seam sits fine, but not that I've worn it I can tell that I only needed that extra length in the front, not the back, which may be causing my issues. Anyway, these are small things. I've already worn the dress and aside from it being a little too short to sit on the floor for me, it felt great.
Here's a close-up to show the weave in the fabric. Isn't it cool? The fabric is also a little heavier than I typically wear in Florida, but I think it will be a nice "winter" dress (at least as winter as it ever gets here). It's still breathable, so I think it will work well for all seasons.
And here's a direct sunlight photo just because. This one is also without the waist tie. I'm on the fence. Do you think I should wear it with the tie? Should I make a new tie? A belt? Let me know your thoughts!

I'm really glad I had this project to get me sewing a little. It's been hard to carve out time for sewing, but it's so nice to have a finished piece to wear around that I like so much :) Thanks, Jen, for letting me test this pattern, and if you're interested there is a whole Kickstarter campaign going right now to help fund paper patterns from Jennifer Lauren Handmade! Isn't that exciting?! At the moment, you can only get the Sorrel through that campaign, but it will be available next year. The project is more than fully funded now, so she is starting to sell preorders of other patterns in paper as well. So fun. Head over here to see the campaign and grab a pattern for yourself!

Fabric: 2.5 yards of mystery woven fabric - $1.00 (thrifted)
Pattern: Sorrel Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade
Notions: 1 yard Pellon SF101 interfacing - $1.00, navy thread - $1.00, 10 plain navy buttons - $ 0.20
Time: 12 hours (with testing and muslin making included)
Total Cost: $ 3.20

* I received this pattern free of charge in exchange for testing it pre-release. All opinions are 100% my own and uninfluenced.

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