After the Ren Fest, I discovered some shades of orange were quite delightful, and I needed to add orange to my wardrobe. I had a gift card to Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided an orange fabric for a new fall dress was exactly what it needed to be used for.
I won the gift card back in April with the "Sew Bibs" Instagram challenge. I'm unaccustomed to winning anything in these online challenges/contests, so it was quite surprising to receive an email informing me I'd won one of the "Sew Bibs" prizes!
I hung onto the gift card for months, trying to decide what I wanted to use it on. Every couple of weeks I'd scroll through the Stonemountain and Daughter website to see what caught my fancy. There were so many pretty fabrics to choose from so I was afraid of making the wrong decision! I knew I wanted to use the gift card to get a special fabric - something I couldn't get locally - and I decided it would probably be best for me to wait to use the gift card until I had a specific project in mind.
The orange dress idea qualified as a "specific project" so I decided to see what sort of orange fabrics were to be had on the Stonemountain website. After looking through page after page of fabrics, I found the perfect orange material. A beautiful linen woven with green threads running one direction and orange running the other direction, so the color looked different depending on the angle you saw it at. It was different than any other fabric I'd seen before, and appeared to be a delightful, interesting, shade of orange on my computer screen, so I went ahead and ordered three yards of it.
When the fabric came it was just what I'd hoped it would be! My orange dress plans were ready to take shape!
I decided to use Simplicity 8916 to make my orange dress, and add sleeves to it (since I wanted a fall dress) using Simplicity 8506, view F.
When I initially saw Simplicity 8916 in the pattern book it did not appeal to me at all. The sample dress fits the model horribly, making the whole dress just look blaaah. I passed the pattern by without a second thought. Then someone in the McCall's and Simplicity Patterns Facebook group made the pattern and shared a picture of her finished dress. It fit her beautifully, completely changing my opinion on the design! I picked up the pattern at the very next pattern sale.
Now I knew the pattern would not fit me well right out of the envelope, so I went ahead and did a full bust adjustment first thing. I should have then made a quick bodice mock-up to make sure I'd added enough room to the bust and everything fit correctly, but I didn't. I went straight from pattern alterations to cutting out my final dress. As a result, the bodice fit isn't quite right, I should have done a larger full bust adjustment. Oh well. The fit isn't great, but it's decent enough I'll still wear the dress.
The other pattern adjustment I needed to make was for the sleeves. The sleeve add-on pattern comes with an armscye template to trace onto what ever bodice you will be adding the sleeves to.
I traced the new armscye onto my dress front and back bodice pieces and that was it. The sleeves went on easy-peasy!
My very favorite design feature of this dress is the closure method. It wraps across the back and ties in the front, making the fit very adjustable.
I have a soft spot for dresses which wrap across the back rather than the front.
Rather than knotting the ties in the front, I decided to fasten them with a slide buckle from my stash. A knot just felt too bulky, and I appreciate the interest a buckle adds.
The bodice is lined with a robin's egg blue cotton lawn, and the full circle skirt is finished off with robin's egg blue lace hem tape.
So, all-in-all, what do I think of my orange dress? Well, I love the color and the fabric. The fabric was definitely worth using my gift card on!
As for the pattern, I like the overall design, but I'll definitely make a few more fit adjustments if I use it again. It needs a larger full bust adjustment and I'd want to add a couple inches in length to the bodice as a whole so the waist actually hits me at my natural waist rather than at the bottom of my rib cage.
And that is my orange linen fall dress - the first orange dress in my closet, but not necessarily the last!