I’m so proud of this dress. I think it’s the most fabulous thing I’ve sewn yet. And it fits like a glove! I finished it with just two days to spare before the deadline to enter the #SewingFrancoise contest over at Tilly and the Buttons!
I actually wasn’t sure if this dress was for me at first as it’s such a retro 60’s style, but after I saw Jane’s version in blue which looks quite modern I knew I could make this silhouette work for me. I went ahead and ordered the pdf immediately and am so glad I did! I love the waist and bust darts, they really make the shape so elegant. And the flare of the skirt and raglan sleeves are lovely. This is the first pattern I’ve made from Tilly and I can’t wait to try more. The instructions were fabulous and easy to follow. I especially like that I could follow along on the Francoise sewalong to see construction step by step.
I made a quick muslin out of an extra bedsheet and the fit was almost perfect. I cut my muslin in a size 4 and the only alterations need were lengthening the dress by 2″ and taken out a wedge out of the back. My first real version of the dress was in a scuba knit(I’ll be blogging about that make next week!) but I really wanted to show off this make first since I just adore it!
My main inspiration was the fabric. It’s a wool tweed in slate grey, navy, cream and white that I bought from Mood when it was the deal of the day at 50% off! What a steal. I think the lining, an infinity silk habotai was pricier then the wool. I instantly started searching Pinterest for ideas for a Chanel inspired dress. I wanted to use the shoulders to contrast the direction of the fabric on the body and use the stripes crosswise for the bodice. I decided I’d make the dress much like a Chanel jacket. I would quilt the silk lining to the body and after looking over my back issues of Threads I decided to use the selvedge for the piping in the shoulder pieces.
Francoise Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Walking foot, silk thread, 2 yards each of wool tweed + silk habotai lining
I gathered a ton of inspiration from these Threads issues as well:
Make it Couture, Designer Techniques Volume 2, Summer 2014: The best of Threads
Surprising Uses for Selvages, Aug/Sept. 2014 #174
And here is my Pinterest inspiration board:
I cut my dress in a size 4 and added 2″ in length as well as taking out a wedge in the back neck area. I first cut out my lining with my muslin and then cut larger pieces out of the tweed in case I had an raveling on the edges. I then thread traced my seam allowance with contrasting silk thread. Next I quilted each piece in the direction of the stripes using a walking foot (it made sewing the layers together a dream!) at about 1″ intervals making sure not to go past my seam allowances. I then thread traced all my darts and sewed them up. After that was all complete I serged all my pieces to help control raveling. I then inserted the selvedge face down in between all the shoulder pieces and then top stitched them down to keep the seams flat since they’re was a bit more bulk with the extra layers. I used a silk facing reinforced with the fabric from my muslin and inserted my invisible zipper. I think the most difficult part of the construction was keeping my lines straight and matching up from all angles. The wool itself is very lightweight and drapey so the silk quilting was essential.
I just LOVE this dress! I’m planning on wearing this for Christmas, and really as much as possible! I really want to make another one now as the construction was quite fun to work out. I do love to plan things out, I probably over think half my makes :) My favorite part is the selvedge inserts- they just add the extra touch of fabulousness!~ This Wool is so perfect for our Florida weather too. Anything heavier would be just too much.