Floral Silk Dress for Spring

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

Well guys, spring has definitely sprung around these parts! And I for one could not be happier about it! This time of year I tend to have one thing and one thing only on my mind – silk dresses. Making them. Wearing them. Living in them for the next nine months… That and long, lazy, bike rides. Preferably paired together. At sunset. Sigh… paints quite a picture, doesn’t it?

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

This month I was irresistibly drawn to this gorgeous floral crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics online. Silk crepe de chine is one of my all-time favorite fabrics to sew with, and to wear. It has a bit more ‘grip’ than many of it’s slippery silk counterparts, making it easy to handle, but it still has that lovely, fluid drape that you want from lighter weight silks.  And it’s breathable, which is an absolute must in my hot and humid climate.

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

I absolutely adored the floral print of this fabric! It’s so bright and playful, it made me instantly happy! I find the color palette to be sort of unusual and unexpected (magenta and poppy red, royal purple and inky black, viridian green and chartreuse… all on a soft, off-white background). It also reminded me a bit of vintage prints, but I couldn’t decide what decade – 30′s? 40′s? 70′s?? Maybe 70′s-does-40′s? I don’t normally go for a vintage look, but there was something so timelessly feminine about this print that was just calling me.

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

I thought it would be nice to pair this fabric with a pattern that also had a bit of a vintage vibe, without going totally overt, and felt like By Hand London’s Anna dress totally fit the bill. I love this pattern – it’s like all the best parts of being a woman rolled into one dress! For this version I opted for the v-neck and the shorter hem. However, rather than just chopping the pattern off at the knees, I kept the hem width of the maxi-version and adjusted the skirt panel pieces to compensate. This way I maintained maximum skirt swing-y-ness (very important for those warm breezes!)

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

I reinforced the v-neck with silk organza strips, which helped a little with gape-age, however there is still more gape than I would like. Perhaps I should have eased the v-neck to the silk organza a bit? Ah well – ya live, ya learn.

I also lined the entire dress with silk habotai, because the floral fabric was ever-so-slightly sheer. Silk habotai (or china silk) is a wonderful lining fabric, especially if you’re like me and like to keep your silk dresses silky – inside and out! The habotai I used was from my stash, but Mood has an awesome collection online in, like, every color imaginable.

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

And because I always like to learn new tricks, even on patterns that I’ve made before, I decided to try my hand at using my machine’s blind hem foot for the floral silk. Can you believe I’ve never used that little gadget before?! That’s one of the reasons I love sewing – there’s always something new to learn! Anyway, I love how clean the hem turned out, and it saved me so much more time than if I had hand-picked it myself. For the skirt lining I just used my serger’s rolled hem function. I always feel like I’m cheating when I do this, but it’s just so quick and easy, it’s hard to resist!

Mood Fabrics/Floral Silk/BHL Anna Dress

And there you have it! I can’t wait to wear this dress on the balmy summer nights that I know are right around the corner! What sort of fabrics have you thinking of warm weather?

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Comments


  • Lauren
    April 25, 2014

    GIRL, you look amazing. That print is so perfect with that pattern – and you’re right, it’s kind of got a retro vibe to it (I’m thinking 70s does 40s). I’ve actually lurked that silk print for a loooong time now, glad to see it made up into something gorgeous! And yay for silk dresses and long bike rides. I am SO looking forward to summer <3

  • Amanda S.
    April 25, 2014

    Ooooh, I love this dress! It’s so pretty and feminine.

  • oonaballoona
    April 25, 2014

    you. ARE. romance! i love that you kept the maxi width at the hem…was that a bear to adjust the skirt panels? i imagine you had to shorten a decent amount at the middle…

    i have a feeling i’m going to want your closet (too late, already do) and your bike.

    • Sallieoh
      April 25, 2014

      The skirt wasn’t too bad to adjust, actually. I thought it was going to be a beast, too – set aside a whole day just to do that, and ended up finishing in an hour! I just laid some tracing paper over the skirt pieces, traced off the waist seam, drew in the grainline, made a mark at the length I wanted the new hem, then slid my tracing paper down until that mark lined up with the maxi hem, then re-drew the side seams by connecting the waist line and the hem line. It was kinda a hack job (I probably SHOULD have slashed n’ spread) but it worked out beautifully!

      • Susan
        April 25, 2014

        Totally doing this. I was going to ask the same! I’ve made a version of Anna with the skirt as designed and also one with a gathered skirt, but I was mulling over the best way to do exactly what you did here, so thanks so much for the explanation!

  • Christy
    April 25, 2014

    This is positively stunning! Great fabric and great style of dress. I love the extra swishy skirt!

  • Wanett
    April 25, 2014

    So pretty!! That’s such a perfect spring print!! I love the extra skirt swing!

  • Connie
    April 25, 2014

    I have seen lots of the Anna dress made up by bloggers, this one is by far the best of the lot. Very beautiful dress.

  • Ginger
    April 25, 2014

    I really, really like this silhouette on you! The swingy hem width is perfect with the length you chose, and it really fits you to a T! What a fun spring dress!

  • Peter
    April 25, 2014

    The dress is gorgeous — yes, that print definitely has a 70′s does 40′s feel! As far as gape-age, if you can still access the seam allowance, sew in a strip of narrow elastic — not pulled tight enough to cause puckering, but just enough to make the neckline more secure. Even if you can’t access the seam allowance, due to the lining, you can stitch in a bit of elastic (maybe clear elastic) so the neckline doesn’t gape.

    • sallie
      April 25, 2014

      This is a GREAT suggestion!! Thanks Peter!

  • Cennetta
    April 25, 2014

    Your are such a romantic! Yes, silk is the way to go for spring and summer. Your dress is very flattering and perfect for long summer days.

  • Debbie Iles
    April 25, 2014

    Oh I totally forgot, I NEED a bike! But that is a little off track. What a striking floral dress. It suits the Anna perfectly! And those colours look lovely on you. I really need to sew with more silk over summer. I’m completely sold on the everyday wearability of crepe de chine, and don’t hesitate to use it for my girls but still seem to have a crazy illogical mental block when it comes to my own clothes…absurd!

  • Manju
    April 25, 2014

    That is one beautiful looking dress! I can almost feel the silk swishing…

  • Mary Danielson
    April 25, 2014

    Gorgeous! Wow. Sallie, this dress looks killer on you and will be perfect for our hot, horrid TX summers. The fabric just looks so swishy! I love this dress, top to bottom.

    • Sallieoh
      April 27, 2014

      Fellow East Texan!! Holla! Haha! Thanks Mary! Yeah, silk is basically my savior May – October (or… sometimes into December…)

  • lisa
    April 26, 2014

    Will you be washing this gorgeous dress? I would love to have a china silk lined dress but I hate going to the dry cleaners.
    Thank you and you look marvelous!

    • sallie
      April 26, 2014

      Hey Lisa! Yes, I wash all my silks. I always make sure to prewash in the washing machine, then I usually hang dry (this is how I continue to care for all my silk garments) but for my china silk lining I actually threw it in the dryer! Silk works great in the washing machine, as long as you machine prewash before you sew – then you’re good to go! As Lauren noted in her last post about silk jersey, sometimes you can lose some sheen (especially true with silk charmeuse) or a little color vibrancy, but in my opinion it’s worth it to be able to wash and wear your silks with ease!

  • Fiona
    April 27, 2014

    So beautiful! I absolutely love the Anna pattern too and this is the perfect print for it. It’s definitely got that contemporary/vintage feel to it which the bust pleats give the pattern. Love it!

  • Lori
    April 28, 2014

    I love this dress and fabric, you look so beautiful. Great job.

  • Laura Reed
    April 29, 2014

    I just love this! What a perfect fabric choice! I just made this dress for the first time – as a maxi – in silk. It was a slippery mess to work with but worth the result. But I forgot to prewash – am I stuck with dry cleaning or do you think it’s safe to wash it now? I do have a little wiggle room. Thanks for sharing!

    • sallie
      April 30, 2014

      Hey Laura! Good question! I think the safest bet if you haven’t prewashed is to hand wash your silk Anna. To do this, I just fill the sink with cold water, put a bit of detergent in there, my silks, then just swish it around and let it sit. Drain the water, rinse with cool water and hang dry. It’s a bit more work than just tossing in the machine, but you shouldn’t get much shrinkage that way either, and no dropping cash at the dry cleaners! Hope that helps!!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    May 18, 2014

    as our autumn descends I can’t help but feel jealous about your gorgeous dress and warm weather! What a beautiful pairing of pattern and fabric – Mood & By Hand London – a match made in heaven!