I had no plans to make this dress. None. Zilch. Nada.
I had this dress 2/3rds of the way cut out before I decided to actually make it. No forethought or planning went in to this.
So, this orange pin dot fabric. It's a cotton I picked up at a thrift store years ago. How much of it did I have? I don't know. That's part of the reason this dress came to be. I have no idea how much of this fabric I had, but it wasn't enough.
This fabric paired beautifully with a fabric I'd picked for the accent pieces (cuffs, collar, ruffles, pockets, those sorts of things) of a dress I wanted to make. So, I pulled the fabric off my shelves, looked at it and decided there was probably just about enough for the the dress I had planned, and proceeded to cut the bottom ruffles for said planned dress.
After I cut those bottom ruffles I discovered I'd miscalculated. There was not enough fabric left for me to cut out the remainder of the dress. Crap.
At this point I figured "Well, I've already got two tiers of ruffles cut, why not just cut a third tier and make a tiered skirt for myself."
So I cut out the top tier of ruffles.
After that top ruffle was cut I still had a little bit of fabric left, so I thought "Hmm, maybe I can make it a dress."
I proceeded to look through my pattern collection to see if I could find a bodice pattern that would pair well with a floofy ruffley skirt and not require much fabric. I found Vogue 1696, a reprint of a 1954 pattern and decided the airy bias cut bodice with ribbon straps was just the thing.
With careful positioning, I managed to squeeze the bodice out of my remaining fabric. Once the bodice was cut, I was thrilled to discover I had just barely enough fabric left to cut two patch pockets.
Nearly every scrap of fabric used, the dress got sewn up, and by the middle of the following day it was ready to wear!
The patch pockets were inserted into the second tier of the skirt. Each skirt tier was lightly gathered into the tier above it and the bottom hem was finished with a bias tape facing.
The bodice was fitted with two tucks in each side seam rather than the more standard darts.
This is different, but I do like it. Those tucks might just be the one detail that induces me to use this bodice pattern again. The bodice feels relaxed, but not shapeless, and fits excellently! The only alteration I made was to add an extra inch of length to the bottom of the bodice as it looked a little short to me.
The finishing touch of this dress is the ribbon straps that tie in a bow at the back.
I picked a wide dark green ribbon from my stash for these ribbon straps as I thought it paired nicely with the pale orange. I considered adding green rick-rack to the skirt to match the ribbon, but decided against it. This ribbon is entirely removable, just threaded through casings at the front and back of the bodice so I can easily swap it out in the future if I want straps of a different color. By leaving the skirt plain and untrimmed, I'm keeping the possibility of different colors open.
I love the look of the ribbon straps and the bow in the back, but I must admit it is a little annoying to have to tie up the straps at the correct length every time I put the dress on.
It's kind of hard to tie a bow by yourself in the middle of your back, so I generally enlist a family member's help. I love the look of the ribbon straps however, so I'm willing to deal with the annoyance.
For a dress I had no intention of making, this one sure did turn out well!