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Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

Have you ever fallen in love with a fabric and pattern combo at first sight and just have to make the exact same thing? To me this doesn't happen often - I usually love the process of matchmaking fabrics and patterns on my own. But sometimes, a particular combination is just so perfect and speaks so strongly to you that there's simply no way to resist it! 
Such is the case for me with the very first Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress sample Gabriela made in the Art Gallery Treasured Kermes Rayon. I had my first peak of this glorious creation when Gabriela made her tester call back in 2017. I fell head first with the unique red print paired with the feminine silhouette of the Fringe. I was lucky to be chosen as a tester for both the original Fringe and later the matching Girl's Fringe. Over the years I have sewn many versions of the Fringe in beautiful fabrics. But you know what - I just simply couldn't get that original sample dress out of my mind! 
The Treasured Kermes is a print from April Rhodes' Heritage collection inspired by the landscape and spirit of Arizona. I love April's design aesthetics with the earthy tones and fold elements and this print is truly a master piece. Against the garnet red background is the most exquisite pattern of blue and sandy shades. The overall effect reminds me of a well loved Persian rug passed down by generations, but in a buttery soft Art Gallery rayon! 
The print was often out of stock from many fabrics shops so I was overjoyed when the opportunity came up to review it for Minerva. In fact I snatched up the last 3 meters there! They have since restocked it but you wouldn't want to wait around if you've been eyeing this particular print! It is even more gorgeous in person. When it comes to rayon dress fabric you just can't beat the quality of Art Gallery. It's drapey yet supple, light weight but not see through. In other words perfect for a floaty dress with placket details. It handles beautifully and hardly shifts around during construction. 
Upon careful inspection the seemingly random swirly patterns of the print does have a large scale repeat. I decided to pattern match the front and back bodice pieces so they appear symmetrical, but didn't match the skirt pieces to save fabric. In hindsight there was probably no need to pattern match - the print is busy and even enough to appear almost random. But hey - I had fun doing some OCD pattern matching over my precious fabric!
Having sewn the Fringe many time and each time a joy, I really savoured making it again this time with my dream fabric. The Fringe dress comes with 2 necklines and 2 sleeves variations. I made the exact same version as the sample dress, view A with buttoned front and sleeve tabs. Because when you have the vision of "the dress", the only way is to go all the way, right? 
But wait... What's the fun of sewing if you don't put in your own tweaks? ;-) I did make a few minor mods to make this dream dress truly mine. 
1. Slash pockets instead of inseam pockets! I adore the inseam pockets in the original Fringe and have actually used them for many other dresses in the past. However for a drapey loose skirt in rayon they tend to flap around. Fortunately Chalk and Notch has another brilliant pocket in the Orchid Midi pattern. After my Orchid x Fringe mash, I found that the deep slash pockets are more functionally and satisfying. They are sewn into the waist seam and remain stable in floaty dresses. I adapted the Orchid pocket to fit in my new Fringe. I used a plain cotton fabric for the pocket pieces and added narrow facings so the white cotton doesn't show on the outside. 
2. I inserted the waist ties to the front darts and wear it wrapped around the waist once , tied in the front. This is purely a personal preference and I just like the extra waist definition it provides. 
3. My very first tester version of Fringe has a wider skirt piece than the final release. I believe at the time of testing most people preferred a little less gather at the waist. I for one actually like the extra volume in the skirt and again this is personal preference. So for my red Fringe I simply widened the skirt piece in the middle by about 2 inches. 
4. On one of my earlier Fringes I had a little fabric shortage and had to make the front skirt slightly shorter than the back. The hi-low hem effect grew on me and guess what - it's now a default mod for me. For this version I simply lengthened the back skirt piece slightly. I don't think you can even tell from the photos.  
It's interesting while writing up all these mods how they all evolved from my previous versions of the Fringe. Although minor, they together define our own fingerprints on a beloved TNT pattern and remind me once again why I love sewing my own garments. 
Needless to say I absolutely adore my red Fringe! It is every bit and more gorgeous than I have envisioned it in my head all this time! I'm so happy I finally caved in and shamelessly copied Gabriela's very original sample. Because sometimes, and probably more often than not, the designer herself knows best ;-) 
Until next time,

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Georgina Filby said:

I love the Fringe dress pattern, and I think your make is beautiful, Chloe! The fabric is gorgeous, I agree, and I love the pocket hack: your facings are inspired! · 10th May 2019 11:18pm