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Not Your Grandma’s Rose Garden Dress

It’s not intentional, really. I like flowers as much as any other girl. But deciding to make a garment in a floral print is generally too much a commitment for me. So you may be thinking: that sure is a floral print dress you’re wearing here. Roses on a white background, at that! How in the world did that happen? Well, it started when I was browsing fabrics at Minerva late May. It likely had something to do with the unusually cool and gloomy spring we’d been having in SoCal and my eye was caught by a cheerful rose motif. Why not, I mused, and order a meter and a half of the Summer Garden Floral Print Stretch Cotton Fabric with a simple sheath dress in mind.
The fabric I received was lighter weight than I expected, reminding me I’m not the best at interpreting online fabric store descriptions. I admit there was a moment of panic. It didn’t seem quite right for the original pattern idea so I tossed it in to pre-wash and milled over my options. Pulling the fabric from the dryer it was immediately obvious. The fabric is a shirting weight with a bit of stretch and a slight sheen. It screamed to be made into a shirtdress! The pattern choice was clear as well: the internet-pleasing M6696 from McCall’s which I had already made twice before.
This time around I decided to go with view C, the sleeveless option with a fitted skirt and slash pockets. My pattern pieces were already cut for both the bodice and skirt and needed just a minor adjustment. On the back bodice I eliminated the volume that is meant to be gathered into the back yoke, and left just a slight amount to be gathered at the waistband. This is easily done by matching the bodice piece to the yoke along the top and trimming the excess from the fold line. The result is a more structured, streamlined look. Since this dress was not the original plan it was definitely tough to eek out all the pattern pieces required. I thought I had won this round of pattern Tetris, but found in the end that I had cut only one of the two placket pieces. In a classic make-it-work moment I spied a piece of peach lawn laying about and determined it would be my savior. I cut a second placket piece out of it, then cut that as well as my original placket piece in half lengthwise. One floral and one peach strip was stitched together(again lengthwise) with a scant seam allowance and folded carefully along the stitching line. Disaster averted! I had two placket pieces only slightly narrower than the pattern intended and in a couple of days, a brand new shirtdress in a print I would never had chosen before.
The verdict? I think it’s fantastic! It’s been a goal of mine this year to step out of my comfort zone and I love being taken by surprise. For me the juxtaposition of an ultra feminine print with a menswear inspired silhouette is perfection. I don’t feel like I’m being swallowed up in too much fabric and there’s nothing more ‘me’ than a classic collar. Thanks to Minerva for making this happen! xoxo April 

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