Tropical Floral Midi-Dress

We all know I’m not one to shy away from a print. Well, this just might be my boldest look yet. As a matter of fact, I believe in the description for this fabric it said something like “create flamboyant dresses, skirts or tops.” Yep…that just about sums it up.

This is Simplicity #8833, and I fell hard for this pattern the moment I saw it. To me, this pattern looks like the ultimate ladylike, I’m going to high tea dress. The pattern has four versions, with variations on the hem length, pockets and sleeves. All versions have slightly dropped shoulders with gathered sleeves. This is a look I don’t think I’ve seen before in a pattern, and I have mixed feelings about it – I’ll get to those feelings in just a second. I made View D, with a midi-length, elasticized sleeves and decorative buttons down the front.

This pattern sewed up very quickly and easily. I only made two small changes to the pattern. First was raising the neckline. As drafted, the neckline was a bit too low. You could see my bra, and that definitely does not say “Out for High Tea” – haha! To fix this, I raised the neckline 1.5” and added an additional button and button loop. I wasn’t thrilled to take the neckline and facing apart, but without adding an additional button, the spacing would have been off, with a big gap between the top button and the neckline. Although, let’s face it…it’s not like you can see the buttons anyway. They would need to be blinking neon pink!

The other change was omitting the pockets. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You didn’t add pockets?! Are you crazy?!” Allow me to explain. This fabric is very lightweight and a bit transparent. Considering the weight of the fabric, I didn’t want the pocket bags to show through the skirt or add bulk to an already busy dress. To finish the insides, I simply serged the raw edges for a nice, clean look.

Now I suppose it’s time to talk about this fabric. This is an Italian Floral Cotton Batiste from Mood, and unfortunately, it’s sold out. So, clearly I’m not the only flamboyant sewer out there! The bright pink, yellow and orange, mixed with the greens, brown and black really caught my eye. I think it’s such a pretty color combo, and also a little 1970s, which you know I love. If you look closely at the fabric, there is also a subtle background print in a very pale khaki color – so many dimensions!

It took a bit of searching to find a fabric I liked for this dress. I really love the fabric Simplicity used to make the version on the pattern envelope. Usually I don’t like the fabric selections on patterns, but I thought this one really suited the dress. I couldn’t find anything with a similar floral/stripe combo, so I opened my search up to just a floral, no stripes. Boy howdy, am I ever glad I did.

So, my mixed feelings about this dress – I do really like it, but I’m not in love with it. Most of that has to do with the fit of the bodice, because I don’t find it to be especially flattering. I’ve made plenty of dresses with elastic waists (that seems to be popular in the pattern world right now), but I’ve never felt so completely engulfed by the bodice of one of these dresses before.

However, I do have a theory that explains it. I think it has everything to do with the dropped shoulders. Typically, I like my bodices, even the ones with an elastic waist, to fit closer to the bodice under the arms and around the bust. This one seems to get looser in that area, creating what I view as a bit of a bat wing situation and a very blousy top.

You still with me? Good.

I made my usual size in Simplicity patterns, and perhaps sizing down in the bodice would have helped reduce the bulk. Honestly, had I not been blinded by the great pattern image, I might have looked closer at the fit of this dress, and in turn, I may have decided against making this one. A lot of extra volume on top is never a good look for me, and I’m also not much a fan of gathered sleeves. They just seem fussy. I’m also usually better at discerning what patterns will and will not work for me. I suppose this one got through in a moment of weakness.

Despite all this, I am happy to have this dress in my wardrobe. It really is a great summer dress, and I’m also happy to have more florals in my life. As much as I love prints, I think I only have one other floral dress. But full disclosure – I have two floral fabrics just waiting for me in my sewing room!

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

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