Ombre Striped Jersey Dress
I’ve wanted to make this dress ever since I first started seeing Marcy Tilton’s shingle dress (Vogue V8904) pop up around the sewing blogging world. I had my heart set on making it out of stripes since I loved the way the design of the pattern made them play this way and that. Then, Goodbye Valentino made the exact dress I’d been dreaming of for her July MSN make out of a navy and white striped cotton jersey (the same one I used for the bottom layer, which no longer appears to be available online at Mood Fabrics). I figured all of you would rather not see the same dress here twice, but I already had the pattern and I just had to have the dress, so I went back to my place of inspiration – Mood’s extensive online jersey fabric collection – for more ideas. Did you know they currently have over 1,500 jersey fabrics listed? Yeah. Since that was a bit much, I narrowed my search to just Mood’s striped jerseys using their pattern search criteria.
As I browsed through their striped jerseys trying to think of creative ways to make this dress unique, it struck me that Mood had several some-shade-of-blue-and-white striped jerseys – aqua, cyan, regatta, and navy (no longer available, but this orchid would probably look just as nice) – all of which had similar stripe widths. The same was true for reds and pinks as well, but I’m more of a blue person thanks in large part to my husband being colorblind. I guess blue can be very vibrant to red-green colorblind people (supposedly Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, which is why Facebook is blue), so anytime I wear something blue, my husband is guaranteed to give me some sort of wonderful compliment (spoiler: this dress was no exception!). Anyway, I realized I could layer them all together to make an ombre striped jersey dress, and the idea for this particular dress was born.
For the most part working with these fabrics was easy. That said, I got a bit thrown off by the cyan tier, the one right around my waist (if you can call a baby bump a waist!). It has a bit of poly in it, which gave it a slightly different hand than the other fabrics, all of which were 100% cotton. My first time making this dress, I was rushing since I just had to wear it during a girls’ weekend retreat. When I tried on the dress after serging the side seams, I found that the cyan tier was bagging quite a bit. I then made mistake after mistake trying to fix it. The resulting dress ended up pretty tight with slightly wonky side seams, and I never was brave enough to pull it out of my weekend bag when I was with my girl friends.
When I got home from the weekend retreat, I vowed to remake the dress. Each shingle takes up a tiny bit of fabric, and I had just enough for a second dress. The dress is made by stitching each of the shingles to a full length base layer, and this time around I stretched the cyan layer just a little bit when I was pinning it to the base layer so that it would be more taut. I also stitched the side seams together using my machine’s longest stitch length so that I could try it on and fix any issues before running the side seams through my serger.
I was also hoping to match up the stripes at the side seams, so I pinned like crazy after carefully aligning all the notches, but things must have shifted while I was stitching each tier to the base layer. Most match up, but there are a few places where the stripes are really off! Maybe a walking foot would have helped? I could have ripped the long machine stitches out, but the cyan layer was behaving otherwise, and I kept having flashbacks to when I kept making things worse with all my efforts to “fix” round one of this dress. So, I left it with the stripes matching in some places but in others not so much.
Though I’d sewn a tiny hem on each tier when I made round one of this dress, this time I left all of the hems raw. I worried that hemming may have led to stretching which may have added to the cyan layer mishap last time around. Plus, the pattern suggests leaving the edges raw, and who am I to argue with Marcy Tilton? Each layer rolls a bit at the hem, but I like the casualness it adds.
I made one other change this time around. Instead of hemming the neckline and armholes with narrow bands of jersey like I’d done for round one, I took advantage of the base layer and hemmed both the neck and armholes by stitching the outer layer to the base layer right sides together before stitching either the shoulder seams or the side seams. When the pieces were turned right sides out, they made a perfectly neat hem. I got the idea from Goodbye Valentino’s MSN make earlier this week (this dress might as well be called the “Ombre Striped Jersey Dress Inspired by Goodbye Valentino”!), and then I realized I’d used a similar technique when previously making a Drape Drape dress. I understitched as far as I could on each section so that the base layer would stay hidden, and that was that. I quite like the nice finish!
Even though this dress took me longer to make than expected, Seattle seems to be enjoying a long, warm summer, so there’s still at least a few weeks left for me to wear this dress this year. Thankfully, one of the beauties of a jersey dress is that the weather will likely give out before this dress can no longer accommodate my growing baby belly. There’s still plenty of stretch to go around!