Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nouveau Bouquet

I'm being SO brave, y'all! In an effort to make a dress like this, I'm altering the Geranium dress bodice and combining it with a Marissa dress skirt. Is it going to work?

I have no idea!

nouveaux in petal

Wait, back up.  My fabric arrived yesterday from Sew Love Fabric (where everything is 20% off!).  I was looking for a large scale girly print, and Ruth pointed me towards this Nouveau in petal by Anna Maria Horner (of course).

Oh my!  In person, I LOVE it.  For some reason I never gave this print more than a passing glance, but now... honestly, last night I drifted off to sleep imagining it as curtains...  The scale is large, the design elegant and the colors dreamy.  I'm a big fan of cream.  For my contrast print I settled on creamy Comma periods.  It blends beautifully and it has a vintage-modern feel that seems to suit this dress style.

working those French seams

First I decided how thick to make the contrast bands.  I'm going for about 3" of contrast fabric measuring down from the center neck band and 7" of contrast fabric at the hem.  I cut both contrast and main fabrics with 1/2" extra for seam allowances and then joined them with French seams.

In case I do this again, I cut:
  • (2) 7" x 15 for bodice contrasts 
  • 7.5" x 16" and 7.5" x 18" for bodice main
  • (2) 7" x 38" for skirt contrasts
  • (2) 18" x 38" for skirt main

a Geranium/Marissa dress hybrid

Next I cut bodice pieces using a size 8 Geranium dress bodice.  But, since my inspiration dress has a longer bodice (not an empire waist like the Geranium), I added 2.75" to the bodice length.  You can see I just extended the bodice on the bottom.  I hope this will work!

For the skirt, I want lots of fullness, so I consulted cutting directions for my Marissa dress pattern.  Basically, I cut (2) 38" wide skirt rectangles.  Now I'm trying to decide weather to narrow the skirt rectangles up towards the waist, as with the Geranium skirt pattern, or just leave them rectangle, a la Marissa dress.  Either way, I'm going to do a gathered skirt, to be sewn into a lined bodice, following Geranium instructions.

Totally confused?  Sorry about that.  Altering dress patterns is on the edge of my abilities, so I'm probably speaking nonsense. 

nouveaux + comma periods

Well for better or worse, I'm at this point now, pattern pieces pieced, cut and ready to sew!  Wish me luck!


  1. Looks completely gorgeous already!

  2. Looks good so far! For lengthening the bodice, the important thing is to make sure it will fit around the waist properly. And then that the overall dress length is what you want. Once you do something like this, it opens up huge possibilities for the styles you can create. It's fun!

  3. Love the combo - I can't wait to see what it looks like!

  4. The fabrics are beautiful. Good luck with your alterations, can't wait to see/hear how it turns out.

  5. Hah! I wouldn't even try with a pattern I wasn't altering. Good for you, brave woman. I'm sure it will be great. As always, your fabric choices are perfection.

  6. That will be beautiful. Just found a great pattern for a dress for my Grand Daughter for Easter. My daughter approves so will get needle to thread over the weekend hopefully!

  7. wow, rachel, i can't wait to see the final results! this looks great! way to go, rachel! you are a rock star! :)

  8. Oh I love it! Will be perfect once finished - it already is! I'm working on the geranium pattern again for a top for my 1 year old, I just love how easy it is to customise. Can't wait to see this dress finished - perfect fabric choices too!

  9. Love the fabric combination, the dress will look wonderful!

  10. Extending your bodice like that will work just fine for a girl... A woman with curves? Maybe not so much, lol. It's going to look really pretty and I like the idea of using French seams to attach the contrasting bands.

  11. Rachel - I got what you were talking about - I love the fabric combination too. I am excited to see how it turns out. I am wanting to do more garment sewing as I do a lot of quilting only these days.

  12. You ARE being very brave. I haven't sewn clothing in years. Must be around 40 or so. I love your fabric combination it is gorgeous malorgeous.

  13. Ooh, I can't wait to see it. I would never have thought of pairing the polka dots with it.

  14. The combination is so sweet it can't help but be lovely!
    Maybe one day I will be brave enough to try garment sewing, maybe ;)

  15. Looks beautiful and I love the large scale girly print! Can't wait to see the end result - Aria is lucky to have such a talented mommy! ;)

  16. ooh Rachel. I know it is going to work out for you. How about some adult top or skirt sew along or classes for us newbies? I don't have sweet baby to make clothes for :( but would love to start sewing clothes...

    1. Thanks! I am still such a novice at clothes that I'm not confident about teaching! I've had a few false starts with making myself a dress, for example. But maybe we could make a skirt this spring. I'll think on it!

  17. LOVE that fabric you chose, Rachael! Can't wait to see it all done : )


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