Dresses

Brocade Dress

I wore this dress to a wedding in Philadelphia back in May. My husband’s cousin got married, and I needed a dress that looked formal yet allowed me to dance the night away at the reception. I purchased this beautiful blue and gold brocade from Mood and made Vogue 9252, a high-low dress with a lined bodice and in-seam pockets.

Vogue 9252 dress
Vogue 9252 dress front

The brocade is just stunning in person. There is a slight 3D crinkle texture that is visible in a few of the photos I am posting. It also has a very soft, flowing drape, so I interlined both the bodice and skirt with silk organza to give the dress more structure and volume. The wrong side of the brocade is just as beautiful as the face, so a matching blue silk organza seemed like the perfect choice for interlining because it allows some of the wrong side of the fabric to be visible at the hemline. The bodice is lined with silk crepe de chine, and now, I want all my clothes to be lined with silk because it feels so good. If you haven’t tried sewing anything with silk lining, try it. A bodice like this doesn’t take much fabric to line either. However, the silk crepe de chine does creep if you try to cut it with scissors, so I use my rotary cutter instead to keep the fabric on grain while I am cutting it.

Both the organza and crepe de chine were also purchased from Mood in the color mazarine blue. The seam allowances in the skirt are finished with hong kong seams using pre-made, gold lamé bias tape. The hem is also bound with the same gold bias tape too. Half-inch wide navy horsehair was used in the hemline to provide more volume at the hem.

Vogue 9252 dress inside
The finished vertical seams of the interlined skirt before it is attached to the bodice. The pocket bag is inserted and the edges are serged.

While I already knew brocade frays like mad, I was very surprised how badly the bias tape frayed. If I could get it in place on the first try there was minimal fraying, but the lame did not tolerate seam ripping well. While I would have loved all the seams to be perfect, but there are a few wavy seams that I chose to leave in place instead of risking overworking the fabric.

Vogue 9252 uses cup sizes in addition to regular sizes to get a better fit. I used the size 10 with the B cup pattern pieces based off my overbust measurement. For reference, I have an overbust of 30.5 inches and a bust of 32.5 inches. Zero alterations were made to the pattern. In actuality, and based off my underbust measurement, I am a 30D which actually has the same volume of a 34B according to sister sizing. So maybe the cup sizes for the pattern are based off a 34 band size? Bra sizes are confusing.

Vogue 9252 dress side and pockets
Vogue 9252 dress back
Vogue 9252 dress back

I was in a bit of a hurry to finish the dress in time, and I didn’t notice the back waist seams don’t align at the zipper until I was getting ready at the hotel. I felt like an idiot even though I know no one else cares about that (or even notices). My husband however, noticed because I have taught him so much about clothing over the past few years. At least the mistake was on my back so I didn’t have to look at it while I was wearing it. And, most importantly, I can fix it before I wear the dress again.

Vogue 9252 dress hong kong seams

I threw in this silly picture just because I have to show off all my hard work I put into the inside of the dress.

The horsehair trim is encased within the hem and is not visible. After the raw edges of the hem were bound with bias tape, I stitched in the ditch of the binding to secure the horsehair braid to the lower edge of the wrong side of the hem. The hem was turned up, pressed into place, and hand stitched using a slipstitch catching only the organza interlining.

Vogue 9252 dress with hong kong seams

Special occasion garments are my favorite things to sew. It is such a treat to get to work with fine fabrics. Would you agree? Have you done any special occasion sewing lately?

Chambray Dress from The Tunic Bible

Tunic bible chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The pattern for this dress came from the book The Tunic Bible by authors Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr. I purchased the book shortly after it was released, but I had such a hard time deciding what tunic to make. I was really stumped as to which neckline to pick as there are 12! That being said, there are an infinite number of tunics that can be made with this pattern as the authors included different bodices, sleeves, lengths, and necklines. The possibilities are endless with this pattern, and not all combinations look like a variation of a tunic, so it is a real wardrobe builder. And there is only one bodice to fit! You should checkout @julie_starr on instagram to see her “Tunic a Day” posts to see all the different tunics that have been made with this pattern. You can use a wide variety of fashion fabrics with this pattern, even knits with some modifications as shown in the book. I also love how Julie and Sarah reference popular designers such as Tory Burch in the book for inspiration as it shows how to make such a classic sillouette trendy at the same time.

The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
I made an extra small, and made zero pattern adjustments! I can’t believe I didn’t need an FBA or swayback adjustment! There are some drag lines around the bust, which occurred after adding the back darts. I might do some minor tweaking to darts before my next tunic, or I might leave it because they aren’t too bad. And just ignore the edge stitching on the inside of the neckline! It was a result of changing my mind about the neckline placket at the last minute.

The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
I used a gray, 100% cotton chambray from fabric.com that wrinkles almost as bad as linen. The trim was inspired by this tutorial about surface cording by the Colette Patterns blog. I basically covered cotton cord with a long tube of white broadcloth then slip stitched it onto my dress in a decorative shape.

A few weeks ago, I attended an event at Five Eighth Seams, a local fabric store in Charleston, where I got to meet Sarah and Julie when they hosted a sip-and-see of all of their favorite makes. It was so cool to see the clothes from their instagram and blog posts IRL, and I learned some new sewing tips too! Sarah and Julie were both so warm and inviting, and I hope our sewing paths cross again soon. Julie even let me try on her Chanel-style French jacket she made to feel just how luxe the silk charmeuse lining feels! I can’t deny I thought about making everything out of silk charmeuse for the next couple of days.

Tunic bible Sarah gunn Julie Starr Megan Francine Five eighth seams

I am already thinking of sewing my next tunic in linen to help me beat the heat this summer! This is such a great pattern, I can see myself using it again and again!