Behold, my pathetic attempt at a hula. Sure, I'm in my backyard, not Hawaii, but never mind. This dress makes me feel like dancing. A couple weeks ago, while unpacking fabric (yes, still), I found this hibiscus floral print. It made me pause. As you well know, I buy the majority of my fabric at estate sales where selection is limited to the curations of the previous owner. But this fabric, I bought on purpose. And, I can't, for the life of me, figure out why. Nothing about this fabric is my taste. I bought it during an end of season sale from Fashion Fabrics Club, at a deep discount, no doubt. It's rayon challis, and it has a beautiful drape. But, the colors are.... interesting, to say the least. I was at a loss with it, so I resorted to my new fall-back plan for questions of uncertainty, Instagram (I'm not sure this approach works for decisions outside the realm of knitting and sewing, precede with caution).
I asked Instagram to weigh-in on whether this fabric was fabulous or fugly. They came through. Joelle suggested that I sew a Tiki-style dress, and that sparked my memory that I had a pattern in my stash that I've been meaning to sew, Simplicity 9704. It was a perfect storm. I have no attachment to this cut of fabric, so there was no risk to using it as a wearable muslin for this pattern.
It exceeded my expectations. The fabric is transformed into something far more beautiful now that it's sewn. Sure, there's still that baby-poo color fern in the mix, but the pattern and the fabric cooperate wonderfully. The dress is simplistic in design. Simplicity 9704 from either the late 80's or early 90's is a front wrap dress with a curved hem and three small pleats at the right skirt front. There is only one seam in the skirt, located at the center back. Shaping through the sides is created using long darts. The bodice is underlined to create neat finishes along the edges. And, the dress fastens through a combination of ties and hook and eyes. I had two yards of fabric, and I used it all to make this dress. So, unfortunately, I didn't have the option to match prints across the seams. It also means, I don't have any of this fabric sitting on the shelf staring accusingly from the depths of the stash. WIN!
There are things I will change in my next go-round. First, I need to shorten the bodice. As you can see above, I will have a better fitting dress if I remove a half inch or so. Also, I will modify the contour of the side skirt darts to better fit my body. I think the only other change I will make in my next attempt is to attach the straps prior to attaching the skirt. The pattern instructs to wait until the end of sewing before attaching the straps, but I think it would be easier and cleaner to attach them to the seam allowance from the inside of the lining. Speaking of straps. Do you see how teeny and awesome the straps on this dress are?! I bought a tube turner. It changed my life. It's completely worth the $4. I see a lot of spaghetti straps in my future!
Overall, I rate this project a success! I was able to use a pattern I've been intending to sew, I saved a piece of fabric from a slow death in the stash, I learned some valuable fit information, and I ended-up with a wearable garment in the process. Win. Win. Win. Win.
Do you have questionable purchases sitting in your stash? Do you sew them, swap them, or stare at them in confusion?