Friday, 5 January 2018

Two piece dress - an experiment with fabric

I have to confess, that I have a terrible weakness for buying remnants of material on impulse if they catch my eye. That is exactly what happened towards the end of 2017 when I spotted some beautiful fabric on my favourite stall in Leicester Market. The fabric is a medium weight, floral print scuba which started me off on a journey to create something that would really take advantage of this beautiful print.  

There were large areas of navy blue around each floral motif so I knew that I would need to place the floral design very carefully on whatever I decided to make. I was inspired by Ted Baker's online shop where there are lots of beautiful floral dresses that are way beyond my price range. This dress especially caught my eye because of the asymmetrical placement of the flowers. I wanted to make something similar using my lovely fabric.

Obviously this model is a lot taller and slimmer than me so I carried on searching for a style that I thought would suit me. I found a 1960s Butterick pattern on Etsy for a 2 piece evening dress that I liked.

Two-Piece Evening Dress

I was sure that I could create the look I was searching for using patterns that I already owned. I began by making a pencil skirt with my tried and tested pattern from The Maker's Atelier.  It is the third time I have made a skirt with this pattern since I received the book as a present in the summer and each one I have made seems better than the last. I  cut out the pattern pieces individually so that the floral motif would fall in the same place on the back and the front of the skirt. 

Three little pencil skirt all in a row!
Next I looked for a simple t-shirt pattern with short sleeves for the top portion of my dress. I decided to try the pattern for the Silk Woven Tee in the Great British Sewing Bee book, Fashion with Fabric. I hadn't made this pattern before and I was sewing with scuba not with a woven fabric but this t-shirt had the boxy style I was looking for and seemed straightforward to make. The pattern calls for a side zip but since I was making my t-shirt from fabric with a slight stretch I omitted the zip and I am pleased to say that it pulls on easily over my head.

Yet again I was very careful with the positioning of the floral design and I cut the fabric out as a single layer so that I could see where the pattern would fall on the finished garment. I am very pleased with the placing of the flowers on the t-shirt. I love the way that the flowers tumble over my right shoulder and continue down the right sleeve whereas the left sleeve is quite plain.

On the back I wrapped the floral design across the shoulders and I think it looks very effective. 

With hind sight I wish that I had made the top first and then made the skirt to match. I think I would have arranged the flowers higher up on the skirt, similar to the Ted Baker dress where they tumble down from the waistband. But, I made the skirt first because it was the easier pattern and I haven't got enough fabric left to make another one. I am still really pleased with the overall effect. 

I have worn the skirt and top together as a two piece dress and it is smart and comfortable. As an added bonus I have also worn the skirt paired with a jumper on a cold day and the top looks great with jeans and boots. Three outfits from one project can't be bad.

Happy New Year and Happy sewing!


  1. These look great separately and together. What a bonus.
    A cracking start to the year.

    1. This year I am hoping to plan my outfits better rather than impulsively sewing random items. I was wondering whether to take your lead and post my 9 makes for 2018. It might help me in my quest to have a more coordinating wardrobe.

  2. This is lovely! They look great together but also fab as separates - it's like you get two bonus garments!

    1. Yes. I hadn't planned this in advance but I feel as though I have lots of new outfits to choose from in the morning.