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Marie’s Passiflore dress!

Hi, and welcome to my first contribution to the Felicity Fabrics blogger team.

I had previously made a purchase from Felicity and Caroline and I have to say, their whole aesthetic really appealed to me from the outset so I was delighted to be asked to blog for Caroline and Fliss. I particularly love the luxurious feel to the packaging, whilst still being minimal and environmentally friendly due to the absence of plastic.

For my first fabric choice, I was immediately drawn to the Dotty Chambray.  This is a soft pale blue, and the fine dots are woven into the fabric, as opposed to printed, which is something I like.  This fabric is incredibly soft.  It is one of those that you can’t help but keep stroking! It has a cool feel to it, which will be nice for warmer days (I’m sure they will be here soon!) It is quite lightweight but it feels substantial and has a LOT of drape.

The properties of this chambray will lend itself beautifully to a pattern with gathers.  Something with a relaxed fit like the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo or the Atelier Scammit Tokyo dresses would show the movement and drape of this fabric.

That being said, the latest pattern release from Deer and Doe really caught my eye.  As many of you know I like the easiness of wrap dresses and shirt dresses as they allow me to dress independently.  Therefore, this is an ideal style for me. I find dresses a comfortable option and I don’t have to think about co-ordinating other pieces.

The Passiflore has a lot of bang for your buck.  View A is a maxi dress, view B a short dress and View C a shirt.  There is a short sleeve option with a cuff finish and a long sleeve with a placket and buttoned cuff.  There is also the option to make this in a slightly heavier fabric and wear it as a lightweight summer coat/duster.  

I really like the short length with the short sleeves for a spring/summer make.  I did set myself up for a challenge here with pairing this fabric and pattern combination, but undeterred, I made the cut!  

After tracing my pattern, I made a small bust adjustment as Deer and Doe are drafted for a C cup.  I have 1” difference between my high and full bust so I knew that this was an essential first fit adjustment. I used the By Hand London fitting guide to adjust the princess seams.  I recommend this guide to do this adjustment properly rather than pinching out excess from the seams.

The design of this pattern means that I didn’t incur any other fit issues. It has a generous amount of ease throughout the waist and hips, and the addition of a self fabric belt pulls it together at the waist for a fitted look.  Apart from the SBA, I made a straight size 36.  I would often need to make a narrow shoulder adjustments to my patterns but this fits my shoulders nicely. 

This style in general works very well for me as it allows me to have the fit and flare style I like, but an easily adjustable belt allows for fluctuations in the waistline, which can be uncomfortable if sat down most of the day.

Although the drapiness of the fabric made the tailored elements of this dress a challenge, I do like the way the weight and fluidity allows it to skim and hang nicely.  I think this is largely due to the fact that the dress isn’t overly fitted and allows the movement this fabric looks best with.

When cutting out such a shifty fabric, I always use the edge of the table as a guide to ensure that the grain line remains straight.  When placing the pattern pieces on this fabric, I also double checked that it had not shifted by checking the grainline on the pattern piece against the dots, which are in a straight line. 

If you decide to use this pattern, the instructions do not call for stay stitching.  I am always dubious about not having this as step 1, particularly as the pattern calls for lightweight fabric.  There are many areas that will easily stretch out (and I suspect in my case they did along the princess seam on the facing) and cause a headache further down the road.  It may be tempting to skip, but my advice is to always take the time to stay stitch areas such as necklines and lapels at the very least in this case. 

The finishing inside the garment looks very clean, with only the armsyce and side seams as exposed/overlocked edges. This does call for plenty of hand stitching along the collar, princess seams and sleeves to enclose the raw edges, but an effort I feel is worthwhile. It may also be possible to substitute the hand stitching for stitching in the ditch or a line of topstitching next to the seamline.

Overall I would definitely recommend the fabric and the pattern, but pairing the two together is not for the fain of heart!  That being said, I have learned a lot from this project and I have a dress I know is going to be well used throughout the warmer months.