DENIM CHAMBRAY DRESS


Do you ever find yourself just wanting a dress, just one item of clothing you can put on and get out the door without thinking, ‘oh no the blouse which goes with that skirt is in the wash’.

I’ve been in the dilemma of every time I leave the house, I’m stuck for something easy to throw on and go. I don’t really like casual dresses as I never feel really great as the fit and proportion always seem a little off. I’m sure many girls feel the same as me, and I’m a pretty average height so it’s a whole other world for tall and petite girls. What to do in such dilemma? Make your own dress and fit that baby to make all your straightness and curves look their best.

The little denim dress has become a staple in a lady’s wardrobe in the past couple of years.

It’s casual and cool as well as stylish and put together.

I bought my denim chambray in a light wash, from The Fabric Store in Brisbane. I knew I wanted to make a dress but I was tossing up between the trendy off-the-shoulder dress or making something which felt more ‘me’.

I came across this petticoat pattern in my mum’s collection of vintage patterns and as I read the recommended fabrics, chambray was amongst the list and I thought, of course, it’ll be perfect. I wanted my dress to be understated without any major details like hardware or embellishments. Most of all, I wanted to steer well clear of the shift, ‘bag style’ and make it especially feminine with a fitted waist and gathers to soften the look of the fabric.

My biggest issue with making the dress, as it always seems to be whenever I sew clothes, is fit. It is the most vital part of making a worthwhile garment but always brings the greatest difficulties. Vintage patterns were only made in one size per purchase rather than nowadays, where the pattern comes in several sizes and you cut around your line according to your size. So this pattern said size 14 and when I put the paper pattern up to my body I thought, “oh yeah this will definitely fit.” So wrong, I was so incredibly wrong. The waist was my size but the bust was so much larger than I need. Luckily the dress has a side zipper so I managed to fit the dress to my body all on my own. However, I ended up having to bring the sides in 5cm at the bust on each side, and then angle it so the waist remained the same size as the pattern. Obviously this sort of adjustment isn’t the right way to fit a pattern but unfortunately I’d already cut the pieces and sewn the darts before realising the size was way off. I can’t wait to adjust the pattern properly though, and make another couple of dresses just to show how the fabric can completely change the purpose of the dress.

The pattern doesn’t have a fully lined bodice but just a facing which I think was fine as the chambray is of a heavier weight, but in future I think I will fully line the bodice just to keep everything neater.

I love wearing this dress, it’s fun to style with white sneakers, cool sandals or some espadrilles. Even in the suffering heat we’ve been experiencing in Central Queensland, this dress just feels so cool and breezy.

I encourage you to start thinking about your personal style and what your ideal dress would be. Then start experimenting with patterns or making your own patterns and bringing your desired wardrobe to life. Remember, that how you make it and the sewing doesn’t have to be perfect but if you love the end result, and it makes you feel good then be proud and wear what you have created as much as you like.

Cheers, Alexandra xx

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