I absolutely loved the look of this Art Gallery Rayon fabric from Minerva particularly because of the beautiful rust/burnt orange colour of the print. I loved it so much that it took me ages to decide what to make with it because I had so many ideas.
I’ve been thinking about making the Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown for a long while now too and after a lot of deliberation I decided that the Wilder Gown and this beautiful, floaty rayon would make a perfect match.
I am 5’ 3” in height and although I absolutely love the look of the full length dress, I decided that, for my first version at least, I would go for a mini/midi length dress for fear of feeling swamped by the fullness of this style of dress.
The Wilder Gown pattern was brilliant in terms of instruction and ease of use. Because I wanted a shortened, tiered dress I had decided that I would use the skirt of another pattern I have and just trace off the bodice sections of the dress so that’s what I did to save paper.
This fabric is beautifully soft and drapey. I prewashed and pressed my fabric before cutting and cut out with a cutting mat and rotary cutter. I used a lot of pattern weights to avoid the fabric slipping out of line.
The bodice of the dress came together super quickly, the sleeves are a raglan style so very quick and easy to sew together and no sewing them in ‘in the round’ I love how this fabric worked with this pattern. I think it gave the dress just the drapeyness it needed.
It’s worth noting that this fabric has a directional print. All of the floral spray is pointing in one direction so do make sure that you cut out and sew together all of your pieces the right way up. I managed to sew one of my skirt tiered panels upside down and had to get the unpicker out – oops!!
I made two tiers for my skirt because I love the tiered look that’s so popular at the moment. I cut a narrower and shorter pair of rectangles for the short tier and then another pair of rectangles approximately a third wider than my first tier and slightly longer. Remember you’re going to be hemming this bottom section as well as taking a seam allowance so it’s important to include that extra length in your measurements.
Having sewed my skirt tiers together and attached them to my bodice, I did a quick try on before hemming and realised that I really wasn’t happy with the oversized, floaty feel of the dress as it was. To combat this I decided to run some elastic at the bottom of the bodice of the dress to bring it in and give a bit more of a shapely look. This is a suggestion in the pattern if you feel uncomfortable with the ‘nightgown-y’ feel. I measured a piece of elastic by stretching it comfortably around my high waist and added a seam allowance so that I could sew it into a circle. I then quartered the elastic and the dress, pinned the elastic to the inside of the bodice at the quarters and then stretched the elastic as I sewed it to the dress using a ziz zag stitch. This is a bit of a fiddle because you are having to negotiate all of the skirt fabric as you sew and stretch but I got there in the end.
I much preferred the more fitted look of my dress once the elastic was in. I recommend sewing in the elastic before hemming the dress because the elastic will pull the dress up a bit so you do loose some length there.
Once I’d tried my dress on with the elastic I decided to hem the dress one inch to take it to around knee length.
I am so pleased with this dress and I’m glad I decided to give this pattern a go. There really are so many options and variations to try with the skirts and of course you can also make it as a top which is what I’d like to try next.
I cannot recommend this beautiful Art Gallery fabric highly enough either its so soft, floaty and comfortable and as a rayon it’s 100% natural too so super breathable in the summertime.
Until next time!
*This blog post is written in collaboration with Minerva who kindly gifted me this fabric in return for a review in my own words. The blog contains some affiliate links*