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Orchid Midi with Lady McElroy Cotton Lawn

Alright, I’m going to jump right into it - this blog post is going to essentially be a love letter, and I can’t decide if it is directed more towards this fabric or this pattern. So we’re just going to go with both.

I was so excited to see that the Orchid Midi Dress was being featured by the Sew My Style group this year, as it has been in the back of my mind ever since it was released. Everything about it is so pretty, and it gave me all the feelings that I originally had when I first started sewing and only wanted to sew all the pretty dresses. I got right to it and scooped up the pattern to sew it alongside so many other great sewists for Sew My Style!

This fabric came to me at the PERFECT time, destined to be an Orchid Midi! It is a beautiful, vibrant Cotton Lawn Fabric, which is lightweight and perfect for hot Texas summers. I chose to make Version B of this pattern with the longer, elasticized-wrist sleeves, because I thought this would be a great way to transition the dress through spring, summer, and autumn. Here in Texas, we stay H.O.T. all the way through October, so a cotton lawn will still be appropriate through all three seasons, but I felt that the combination of the lengthened sleeves and the colors of the fabric would still be lovely for autumn.

This pattern is incredible. The attention to detail is perfect, and I came away with a garment with insides just as beautiful as the outsides. The yokes, the bias finishes, the hems - there is not a single finish that was forgotten in the pattern instructions, which I always find to be so helpful. Even as an experienced sewist, I’m still the type of girl who follows instructions to a T. Sometimes this is so great, but sometimes this means that I get to the end of a garment and look back and wish I’d thought to finish things a little better / differently. So if you’re that kind of sewist, too, I think you’ll be so happy with Chalk & Notch patterns.

I will note that thanks to all the beautiful details, the dress took a little longer than most of the things I’ve sewn this year. Between a very full couple of months consisting of family in and out of town, exciting ceremonies and transitions for a lot of our loved ones, and some travel back and forth to see my family, my sewing time was more limited than usual. Combine that with the fact that I’d grown used to the quick completion of knit garments, plus the fact that this dress is constructed so beautifully, and I think I took about 2 weeks to finish this dress! Clearly, I didn’t get to spend time on it every day, but it still felt like such a long time looking at it and waiting to have the final piece!

I followed the sizing recommendations on this pattern and sewed a size 6, which is consistent with what I’ve sewn in Chalk & Notch patterns before. The dress cinches at the waist using a drawstring casing, and before I added the drawstring in, this dress looked like it was made to fit two of me! Don’t worry - if you’re looking at your half constructed dress wondering what in the world is going on, it’s all going to work out in the end! I will say I do wish I’d sized down one size - I feel like there is just a tad too much blousing at the waistline, even with it fully cinched - but it isn’t anything unwearable, and I will probably appreciate the extra space and air in the ridiculous Texas heat!

So now that I’ve finished my ode to the Orchid Midi, let me tell you about this fabric. Holy goodness. I’m a HUGE fan of Lady McElroy fabrics, and for good reason. I’ve never been disappointed with a single Lady McElroy fabric. This cotton lawn is light and crisp, it sews and presses so easily (as one would expect from a cotton!) but feels light and comfortable to wear. The colors are so beautiful and vibrant - I prewash all of my fabrics the same way I intend to wash the garment, in warm water and on the cool dryer setting. Sometimes, on lower quality fabrics, this means that I lose some of the brightness of the color before the fabric ever becomes anything wearable. I see this most often in cottons, especially lawns - I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but I’ve always felt like it may be due to it being a thinner fabric? I did NOT have that experience here! No fading, no bleeding, nothing but pure, vibrant, bold hues here.

As I assembled the dress, I started getting some serious 70s vibes - which lined up perfectly with the timing of the super fun #FlashbackSewingChallenge on Instagram! I found some unloved gold wedges in the back of my closet, threw them on with some big earrings, and tried to pull in as much 70s feeling that I could! I think the combination of the midi length, the big floral motif, and the bold colors really lent to this look.

I’m already planning to wear this dress to some upcoming events in late summer / early autumn, and looking through my stash to see what other fabrics I have that are waiting to be turned into an Orchid. I love the idea of the Orchid Midi / Parasol Jumpsuit mash-up, as well!!

Dress: handmade by me

Fabric: Minerva's - Lady McElroy Cotton Lawn in Gold

Pattern: Chalk & Notch - Orchid Midi Dress (View B)

XX Elizabeth

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