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With this dress, I fulfilled myself a sewing dream. I can’t talk about a life’s dream because I’ve only been sewing for about two years. But I just love waxprint fabrics. These intense colours and the wild patterns simply appeal to me. Of course I was very excited that Ines from Karlotta Pink (a fabric store based in Switzerland/Germany selling farbics from around the world) liked the idea of a vintage dress made with waxprint. And as soon as I had chosen my favourite fabric, she said: “Go for it” and then I was on my way home with 5 meter waxprint – and still a bit shocked.
Last week I showed the 60s winter dress with braiding (not yet translated). This week it’s all about the waxprint fabric, which has its main market in Africa, but is mainly produced in Europe. The patterns and colours of these fabrics often have a meaning. I honestly have no idea what meaning this fabric actually has, it reminds me of grapes and the dressmaking trade.
The idea of a vintage dress in the style of the fifties with a tight top and wide skirt was clear from the beginning. The exact pattern was still an open question. I wanted to show off the print, especially on the top. So nothing with draping and buttons in the middle. I also wanted to have sleeves an a matching belt.
I was able to limit myself to four very similar favourites and then decided very spontaneously on the pattern used now. A nice neckline, short sleeves and a belt. The little bows on the sleeve didn’t end up on the dress after all, because there is enough going on in my opinion.
With a waxprint and its large scale print, the placement is very important. I made a test model out of poplin, that I used later on as lining for the top. I also wanted to sew a test model, because the dress has kimono sleeves with a gusset. Something I’ve never sewn before.
In overall terms, the pattern was sewn without any drama. And apart from a little more width in the waist, the pattern fit perfectly. No darts had to be relocated, no shoulder seams had to be adjusted, the pattern simply fit as it should.
This was very surprising for me, but also very nice, because my last models after a Beyer fashion pattern had to be adapted in some places.
The top part is double-layered with the poplin to achieve more body for the fabric. The seam allowance on the shoulders and armholes are sewn by hand and also the facing of the neckline is sew by hand. Sure, I didn’t always choose the ideal/correct stitches for it, but it worked. All other exposed seams are covered with bias tape. The yellow was the most suitable of the available colours and not necessarily planned.
The top was already completely finished, when I started working on the skirt. Gathering and box pleats were eliminated from the beginning and so I decided to use knife pleats. After some back and forth, the choice fell on varying blue and pink pleats. Unfortunately, on the side seam with the zipper, the same colours come together but unfortunately this could not be avoided.
At the hem I once again used a wide satin ribbon. I also have horse braid hair at home, but it doesn’t survive the washing machine so well. This creates a small eye-catcher on the inside of the hem, giving the hem a certain weight and a nice soft curve. Inspired by Petit Main Sauvage, I also used the fabric’s original woven and printed edges. At the lower edge the bias tape is sewn with the machine, at the upper edge by hand. The dress is closed – as usual for me – with a invisible zipper.
The belt was, inspired by my Auderey Hepbrun dress, included in my plans. It rounds off the whole dress. Initially I planned the belt in solid colour.
Via Skype session the idea of combining another waxprint was finally born. Luckily, I had bought three leftover pieces before. And tada, it fit perfectly and the orange of the belt also ensures that the complete outfit stays within the warmer colour range. Since this belt should not become like the others, I have studied different vintage belts. They are usually sewn directly onto the dress, which I do not find really practical.
At the very end, I got a little bit stressed, because I wanted to wear the dress for a sightseeing flight over Switzerland. Freshly ironed and nicely prepared, I was ready for a few photos before the scenic flight. The photographer had everything with him, except the memory card for his camera. Regardless of that, I enjoyed the flight a little bit overdressed, even though the Matterhorn was cloudy.
So it became a photoshooting at another location: Toni’s zoo is located very close to Lucerne, small but pleasantly quiet and not overcrowded, with very talkative parrots, lamas, playful monkeys and cuddly house tigers.
Conclusion: new favourit pattern
Changes: adding a little bit width at he waist
Pattern: Beyer Mode 5/1960
Time: around two weeks