This dress is one of my favorite things I made this Summer! I’d seen a lot of great things made from this shibori style rayon poplin a while back and had regretted not buying it when it was stocked at Blackbird Fabrics. Amber found it on Amazon on sale for under $5 a yard in July and when she told me I immediately snapped up 3 yards of it. Then two more of my sewing friends told Amber and I they had the same fabric in their stash.
The four of us, Amber, Shar, Heather, and I, decided we would try to sew it up before the end of August. I went back and forth a few times trying to decide what I wanted to make. I remembered these amazing Winslow Culottes from Helen of Helen’s Closet and thought about doing some flowy pants. In the end I really wanted to make a dress and I settled on the Forsythe Dress from French Navy Patterns.
There are four different prints spanning the width of this fabric. The center of the fabric looks like plusses, outside of that are dashes, then circles and squares on the borders. I wanted a pattern with a straight hem to show off the border print, which the Forsythe Dress has. I also loved that the dress has princess seams so I could showcase different prints on the different bodice panels.
I had fun doing some serious fussy cutting of the fabric. In the end I used up almost all three yards of my fabric getting each piece placed on the different prints. I used the plusses for the center front and back, the dashes for the side panels and pockets, and then cut the skirt pieces so that the squares run across the hem.
This was my first experience with French Navy Patterns. (There is one other pattern offered by this designer, the free Orla dress.) I was a little surprised to see that the instructions use photographs instead of illustrations. My personal preference is illustrations– I think it’s a lot easier to see what is being done in an illustration rather than a photograph. I really didn’t need to use the instructions for much more than seam allowances since this dress is simple to construct.
I made a size 10 graded to a 14, lengthened the skirt 2″, and I cut the back skirt piece with about an extra inch in the center back to make the skirt a little more full. I did a forward shoulder adjustment of 5/8″. I brought the whole shoulder seam forward instead of angling it more forward as I would normally do. It was much easier that way since there were 2 pattern pieces that would be impacted by the forward should adjustment. My only other change was to deepen the pockets by an inch. I read on someone’s blog or Instagram post that the pockets were shallow and I was glad I’d made them deeper.
I love the style of this dress. It’s so perfectly flowy in this fabric. The rayon poplin is little bit heavier than a rayon challis and it’s great to sew with and to wear. The slight drop waist is different from most of the dresses in my closet. I am a sucker for anything with a button back and I love the princess seams on the bodice. Once I’d made the dress it became one of my favorite things to wear. We just got done with a week of record breaking heat and I made sure I wore this dress again before it will have to be layered with a cardigan and boots. I wish I would have made it earlier in the summer because I know I would have worn it over and over.
My friend Heather ended up having too many other sewing commitments to use her fabric but Shar and Amber both made really amazing dresses from their fabric. You can check them out here and here. Have you made anything with this popular fabric? If so, tag it with #sewshibori on Instagram so we can see!