Italian Brocade Sheath Dress
About this time last year, Mood fabrics got in a wide array of Italian brocades with raised floral imprints. They were divine and I had a really hard time picking the exact one I wanted. Eventually I settled on this one in aqua with red, yellow and navy color accents. It looks like an abstract painting and the red bits look a little like dripping blood. It’s so interesting and unusual. Then, because I loved it so much, it sat around in my to-do pile before I could finally muster up the courage to cut into it. Unfortunately, after all that sitting around, it has completely sold out. You can see similar brocades from Mood fabrics here.
I only got 1.5 yards so I knew some sort of sheath dress was in order. I didn’t want to cut up the large aqua flowers (which you can see in some of the other pictures) so it had to be relatively simple. Also, I try to make things that are interesting and that have some sort of design detail at the neckline. I combed through my pattern stash and Burda magazine collection and then my pattern stash again, at last settling on New Look 6643. I made view D with the keyhole and bias bound neckline/armholes, using the same fabric for the binding instead of a contrasting color like the envelope picture.
After making a muslin I had to remove 1″ from each shoulder. I also widened the shoulder straps inward by 3/4″. The bust measurements printed on the pattern are incorrect – I suggest you flat pattern measure or make a muslin if you want to attempt this design. Since I could walk easily without it, I omitted the back slit. There wasn’t enough fabric for one anyway.
The bias binding really wasn’t very difficult, especially because the fabric was not in the least bit slippery. I just love the keyhole detail. You can see the raised aqua flowers better in this picture:
Originally I was planning to use a princess-seamed sheath dress pattern. It called for a side zipper which I special ordered from NYC in the perfect shade of aqua. After I figured out I needed something with darts and went with this pattern, I didn’t want to have to special order another zipper. That is why the zipper is on the side, even though there’s a perfectly good center back seam that it could have gone into.
A lining was definitely called for, and I found the perfect color match among all those Thakoon fabrics Mood listed this past spring. It’s silk crepe de chine, a fabric I’ve used only one other time which ended in disaster. Gosh, it is beautiful stuff. It feels so delicate and soft and I was a bit afraid of ruining it. I went slowly, taking my time and not rushing through. Now that the dress is completed, the silk feels strong and really makes a perfect lining.
This was a fun dress to make once I got past my nervousness about ruining the fabrics. And lest you worry about the seasons changing, rest assured that it will be hot here in Texas for a few more months. I’ll have plenty of time to wear my new dress.