Sound of Music Dress

So, I was making this dress, but was attacked by a months-long spell of whatever is the sewing equivalent of writer’s block.  Then came the breakthrough.  And then another breakthrough, and ta-da!  The dress is complete.

Long story short:  I was trying to make a dress of this cut and construction, worn last year by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate-Royal-Solomon-Islands-Mulberry-Midnight-Blue-Eyelet-Dress

[Images from WhatKateWore.com–a great blog!]

But I didn’t like the silhouette it created in my chosen fabric.  So the half-constructed dress hung on my dress form for months, with the gathered skirt held in place with straight pins.  I started adding silly things to it–beads, a belt, a jacket, etc.  I didn’t take a photo at that time, so this is a recreation of the sad ensemble.

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Then I stopped seeing it in the room altogether.  Then I saw the picture of the Duchess wearing that dress again, and resolved to complete my dress, love or hate it.

I put it on and stood in front of the full length mirror.  Then I unpinned the skirt to try adjusting the waistline.  But when the skirt was off and I saw the straight portion (which I had not yet cut to length), I had my first AHA moment.  It looks better as a straight, sleeveless shift.  So, finishing it simply meant adding a back closure, armhole facings, and hem.  Done.

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At that point, I mostly liked the boxy shape of the dress, but wanted to take out just a bit of the fullness.  I did not want to belt it or add darts.  I was considering back pleats.  Then came the second AHA moment.  I don’t know how this one happened, but thank goodness it did.  I took two strips of fabric and criss-crossed them on the back.

It pulled the perfect amount of fullness away from the front…,IMG_3976a

and gave the back a distinct softly gathered look.  I love the result.IMG_3975a

Here is the dress on me. IMG_3980c IMG_3982b

(And yes, that is a bit of armhole facing that I didn’t get tucked in.  Argh.)

To put the dress on and take it off, I just need to unbutton it at the neck back, and unbutton the sashes at the bottom, and slip it over my head.  IMG_3977a

I’m calling it the “Sound of Music Dress,” because the fabric is from some old curtains I never liked.Curtain moment

I’m also calling it the “five-rectangle dress,” because it is made out of rectangles of fabric. The body is all one rectangle, seamed up the back and shoulders, with armholes and a neckline cut in and faced.  The collar pieces are rectangles, and the criss-cross in the back is also of course, made of rectangles.

I still want to make a dress like the one I started out to make.  So it’s back to the drawing board for another try.