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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

· A Touch of the Tropical ·

What should you do if it's the middle of winter, but you find yourself without any seasonally appropriate blog posts? Pull out something super summery for complete change of pace!

I bought this fabric in a desperate search for something out of the box and new a few years ago.  I was feeling like I was getting into a rut, and wanted to shake things up a bit.  This large floral rayon certainly qualified! ;-)  The color scheme is so fun and while I was most excited to accessorize with mustard or one of these pretty blues, when I went to my accessory drawer I couldn't resist the chance to finally incorporate this wooden bangle!  To help tie it in with the dress, I added this block-printed silk scarf while the rest of the accessories remained pretty neutral.  I'm looking forward to figuring out a few more ideas to accessorize this dress once the weather warms up again- I think the possibilities will be endless!

It took me a few years to decide what pattern I wanted to use for this fabric, but I eventually settled upon Butterick 6927 (an out-of-print 1940s reprint pattern).  The pattern details are amazing and it's such a comfortable style - I really should make it up again in a solid so that the details are showcased, but I always say that and never buy solid fabrics. ;-)

Angled released darts, slashes and inset gathers, fiddly seaming: this pattern has it all!

To top it all off, I was such a dutiful seamstress on this dress!  My experience with rayon is that it frays like MAD, so after learning that the hard way on my first project, I've made sure to serge all of my raw edges since then.  I really wanted to see how using rayon seam binding compared to serging and I think I'm a fan!  I'm not sure it made enough of a difference to justify the extra work on *every* project, but it was easy to work with!  And as for using it to finish off the hem.... I'm a HUGE fan.  Love the way it finishes it off beautifully, love the way it lays so perfectly!

Since this is a 1940s dress, I had my usual dilemma about shoulder pads- to add them, or not??  I was totally committed and ready to do it, but for whatever reason they were looking horrible in this dress so I left them out.  I figured I'd wait until I did a photoshoot and could view it more objectively to see if they needed to be added.

However, now I can't decide.  So, dear readers, help me out and give me your opinion!  Does this dress really need a little extra love in the shoulder area?  If so, what's your favorite method for making shoulder pads?

Now enough of the nit-picking and onto the accessories!  This silk scarf came from a church sale a couple summers ago and while it's not something I'd typically go for, I'm really happy I kept it!

I'm still looking for a really great statement necklace to complete this outfit, but I haven't stumbled upon it yet... This is a great shot of the neckline though!  I've used this blouse pattern before (my gold dotty dress), and the ingenious sweetheart neckline still thrills me!


Earrings! Or at least clip-ons. ;-)  Definitely an unusual look for me, but it did make me realize how much I love the look of earrings with turbans!  I'm hooked now, and my poor earlobes will just have to cope with the clip-on pain.  I'm way too much of a wimp to pierce my ears, so this is as good as it'll get! ;-)

For an entirely different look, I went with a pared-down styling of the dress.  The rayon fabric releases wrinkles and dries quickly, which it a great candidate for traveling.  I though I'd take a cue from that and style it with a casual resort vibe!

(Plus it's just a fun excuse to pull out my round vintage sunglasses!)

· Photos by Kathryn! ·


  1. I had this pattern in my Etsy cart for a while, and this post made me buy it instantly. I'm longing for summery '40s dresses; this is a dream.

  2. Oh, Lily...this is a simply gorgeous dress! Your stitching is impeccable and my, such stunning fabric! You are an inspiration! I love how you styled this dress - the turban works perfectly! As for the earrings, they are darling... Such a fabulous make and so summery! As always, I so enjoyed my ''visit'' with you! By the way...where did you acquire your amazing sewing skills? How would you advice someone just stepping into sewing clothing?
    With love and blessings!

  3. How fun to see something summery in the middle of winter! Great idea for a post, Lily! :) Makes me eager for spring and for spring dresses.... Hey, just a tip on the clip-on earrings, from someone who wears only clip-ons, as I too am a wimp when it comes to the idea of intentionally putting holes in my head (or so I like to say!). I take a needle-nosed pliers and *gingerly*, *carefully* pry them open just a hair at the base of the clip part, so that there is maybe a 1/8" gap where it clamps on to your ear. I either have fat earlobes or a low tolerance to pain (or both!) and that is the only way I can wear them. You can always take the pliers and adjust the gap, bending the earrings back in if you widened them too much, or spreading them just another fraction of an inch wider. A word of warning, just don't mess with the hinge/clippy part, as that easily gets out of whack. ;) Give it a try on some less-favorite pairs first and see what you think. Hope you can wear lots of pretty earrings pain-free now! (PS. I am always on the hunt for pretty, dainty, sometimes-dangly earrings, and thrift stores seem to be my best bet. Any other places you'd recommend? I do enjoy wearing them every day, just for a touch of prettiness!) Any questions shoot me a message and I can send you a photo of how I do it. ~SARAH from PrairieRoseSewing

  4. What a gorgeous outfit, Lily!!! The breath of summer is indeed wonderful to see!! ;) Such a lovely style of dress (what pattern did you use?), and it and the color are both stunning on you. Both looks are great, but the casual resort one is my favorite!! Ahhh, so pretty!!! :)
    As for shoulder pads, well, either way would look good in my opinion. Probably more comfortable as-is? It looks lovely in any case.
    Gorgeous! :)

  5. Just became one of those people who ignores what you said about which pattern and asks anyway. *face-palm*
    Now I know!! ;P

  6. I love this pairing of pattern and fabric ;o)

  7. What an amazing dress! This looks absolutely gorgeous on you. I can't believe that you made it yourself - I'm always so blown away by talented sewers. Very cute styling as well, the green looks gorgeous with the different colors in the dress.
    Zella Maybe

  8. This is stunning!I have been sewing for so long but when it comes to Rayon I have pretty much given up. I've tried looking up tips for sewing with Rayon and even tried keeping it pinned to the pattern piece until time to sew but it always ends up distorted and somewhat stretched. If you have any tips they would be greatly appreciated!!

  9. That dress is gorgeous. It is so appropriate for a nice Spring day. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Yes, very pretty fabric! I have a dress that leans towards those two accessory colors as well. It's fun to see how much it changes depending on what is paired with it.

    And I love hug snug! It's perfect for hems and finishing edges tidily. :) Felt layered between muslin would be my preference for homemade shoulder pads.

    Also, I do vote for shoulder pads. Not huge ones, but enough to give it just a little more structure.

    Do you ever bend your clip earring hardware to change the space it gives your ears so they don't hurt? I also wear clip earrings and sometimes they are too tight. But you can adjust the grip by bending the part that connects the back to the front to make them more comfortable. Perhaps you know that already, but just in case you haven't tried it I thought I would mention it.


  11. Love both looks with this dress. Gorgeous dress and great work as usual. I feel like with the the relaxed vibe of this print it really doesn't need shoulder pads even if it is a 40's look. I think though if you made this in a solid, shoulder pads would be so great with it <3

  12. Beautiful dress, I love the colorful print! I tend to make such basic things with very standard style lines in my own sewing, but I'd love to upgrade to making more lovely detailed things like this dress. Gorgeous work as always!

  13. This is such an elegant dress and I love the accessories you paired with it too. The seam binding is such a pretty touch and looks so polished.
    The Artyologist



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