As soon as the new year rolls around I anxiously await the arrival of spring! Lighter layers, warmer days, green buds emerging from the ground. These things make my heart soar!
In honor of spring’s soon arrival, I decided to make a lighter-weight statement dress and experiment with a style I’ve been intrigued by for a while…prairie chic.
The Pattern: Trend Pattern Raglan Dress (TPC22)
The Fabric: Crepe chiffon c/o Stylish Fabrics
The Process: My idea for this dress was ‘go big or go home’. I had a vision in my head and it was either going to be GREAT or awful, no middle ground. Thankfully, I think it all worked out and I really love the outcome! The striped pattern of the crepe fabric helped modernize the prairie style. I sewed a straight size 8 (UK sizing) even though I was between the size 8 and 10. The style of the dress has so much ease I figured it would be better to size down so I wasn’t swimming in all the fabric. The directions for putting the pattern together were quite minimal to the point I think I would have struggled to make this as a beginner sewist. Thankfully it isn’t a super complicated pattern so I made it through just fine.
Sara from The Sara Project just happened to share a blog post with tips for working with rayon and crepe right as I was putting this dress together. It’s definitely worth a read and I found it very helpful with this make!
Modifications: I made 2 very doable changes to the original design of the dress. First, and most notably, I added a dramatic ruffle to the bottom. To do this I shortened the finished dress length to hit just below my knee. Then i measured (with the dress on) the length from the bottom of the unfinished dress to where I wanted the dress to hit at my feet. I then calculated seam and hem allowance and that gave me my length. For width, I simply used a 1:2 ratio, doubling the circumference of the dress to get the desired volume. Originally I was hoping to do a 1:3 ratio but didn't have enough fabric. In the end I’m thankful for the outcome bc I think the volume is just right and doesn’t feel too heavy. This is a modification that can easily be done with many dresses or tops to add length or a bit of flair!
The second addition I made was adding the waist tie. I wanted the dress to give me some kind of shape and this was just the ticket! I simply eyeballed the width and used the length of what fabric I had left for the sash.
Styling & Versatility: You could definitely say there is a lot going on with this dress. Between the back tie closure, deep keyhole, waist tie, neck ruching, high neck feature, AND the ruffle and the bottom…it’s a statement. But I’m glad I went big and had fun with it. This whole process stretched my vision-to-fruition muscle and I’m excited to keep trying such adventurous makes.
To keep the dress a little toned down, I style it with a classic pair of Converse sneakers, unstyled hair, minimal makeup, and minimal jewelry. In the future I will try a more ‘dressed up’ version, possibly with an updo and some strappy black heels.
Overal Review: Y’all, I had FUN with this one. Can you tell? :) Working with the crepe-chiffon (thank you Stylish Fabric) was a new experience so I walked away with new skills there. Hacking the Trend pattern was a leap for me so I walked away feeling more confident in my ability to cast a vision. And lets talk about the photos! My incredibly talented friend, Jill, shot this dress for me and I’m so please with how it all came out. You can see more of her styling and art direction via her Instagram page.