Hello everyone! For newcomers around here, I have a long tradition of making myself something nice for my birthday. It isn’t always something super fancy by the way… but this one is quite the stunner. My husband and I went out for dinner on my birthday to a nice French restaurant in Ilkley (with a couple of drinks afterwards) but I didn’t get chance to take proper photos until now.
The fabric is the star of the show. This fully embroidered linen fabric has sweet white daisies on a black background. It’s medium weight and it washed absolutely fine, but I did trim a few fuzzy threads for neatness. It came from Aliexpress but is also available on Etsy and there are a few colours available.
I chose Simplicity 9294 aka B6556 from my stash. This Gertie design has a beautiful square neckline with a full pleated skirt and all important pockets. I decided to swap the skirt, for a 3/4 circle skirt. It was a really close call on whether to add the sleeves and an Instagram vote wasn’t completely helpful… in the end I went sleeveless as it’s quite a warm dress.
I made a size 12 in the upper bodice, grading to a 14 at the waist and then drafted a skirt to fit. The whole dress is lined with black habotai with the skirt lining hanging free as its own layer. I installed an invisible zipper in the centre back which sometimes needs a little help closing to avoid the embroidery. And as a special touch there is horsehair braid around the hem of the outer skirt.
There are three ways to install horsehair braid. Because my fabric was so thick I chose this method. I overlocked the raw fabric edge, then place the braid on the wrong side with 70% of it hanging below the edge. Sew with a narrow allowance near the edge, then fold up to the inside. The braid will sit behind the fabric edge then you can hand-stitch the upper edge in place invisibly.
The skirt hangs in such a pleasing way with the braid. It’s really fun to twirl in. Plus those pockets are super big and great if you want to skip a handbag, store things in the pockets and just dance! Keeping that in mind for future events.
The thick centres of the daisies were a little hard to sew over and it would have been near impossible to create the lovely v notch in the centre front, so I just created a true square neckline. To help at the waist seam allowance, I unpicked some of the thicker daisies so the skirt would sit flatter (but it was very tiring and VERY boring because the daisies were fixed very firmly).
The dress will be coming on holiday with me to California, and hopefully I’ll still reach for it during winter because it’s such a nice dress style even though daisies are such a summer flower. I also have a Gertie fabric print that has roses and fans on a black base which I think would work for version of this dress with the v neckline and original pleated skirt! Let’s just see if I can get that made before we go… seems unlikely given my HUGE to-sew list.