April Rhodes’ Party Dress

April Rhodes’ Party Dress

I’ve neglected this blog quite a bit lately. I’ve written posts without publishing them.  They sit waiting to be meticulously edited and then are forgotten.  So my goal this week is to post twice.  And I will give myself an imaginary gold star if that happens.  So here’s my first attempt.  It was written last week while I was babysitting my best friend’s little one:

I’m typing this post quietly as my best friend’s baby sleeps.  I have the pleasure of watching her this week while her mamma finishes up her school year.  This little one melted my heart from the minute I met her.  It’s amazing how quickly you can fall in love with something so bitty.

I’m trying to type gently as to not wake her from her sweet dreams.  I’m not a parent but it’s amazing how footsteps and keystrokes can sound like thunder when you are trying to stay silent. Even breathing seems too loud and laboring.  So I’m tiptoeing, typing, and carefully watching her while she sleeps.  One twitch and I freeze, so as to let those eyelids close again.  As Napoleon so wisely said, “Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains.”

On to the real reason for this post: April Rhodes Party Dress.  I’ve already posted about my two Riding Peplums and my plan for the Party Dress.  So here it is!NEF_7317
NEF_7321NEF_7318I’ve had this Party Dress in mind ever since I saw the Sailboat fabric at Sewn.  I don’t know anything about sailing other than the fact that it will make my husband turn green and want to die.  He gets a wee bit sea sick so If I ever want to go on a sailboat I will either a) have to drug him heavily and carry him on board or b) leave him behind and go with people that won’t lose their lunch.

Regardless of the fact that I may never step foot on this type of boat, I knew I had to have some of this fabric.  I saw it continue to dwindle as I worked so I grabbed the last bit of yardage before it was gone forever.  This fabric has technical terms about Sailboats all over it so I figure this dress is both educational and functional. SailboatNEF_7320Here are the fabrics I used:
Bodice: Windham Fabrics, Sail Away, White
Bodice Lining: Robert Kaufman, Cambridge Cotton Lawn, Solid in White
Skirt: Robert Kaufman, Cambridge Cotton Lawn, Solid in NavyNEF_7324NEF_7316I used Lawn for the skirt so it would drape nicely and twirl.  I also chose to line the bodice with Lawn so it wouldn’t be see-through.  It’s thin enough that it doesn’t change the fit and it makes it soft on the inside of the dress.  I’m pretty enamored with Lawn as a substrate and plan on using it for many more garments in the future. NEF_7328
This pattern, like the Riding Peplum, comes together super quick.  The only difference when making the dress was that I had to cut out 4 skirt pieces.  The Lawn I used wasn’t wide enough so I had to sew the pieces together at the center seams.  April includes instructions on how to do this and tells you how much extra fabric you’ll need, so it makes it incredibly easy.

The only “tricky” part is the hem, because it’s a lot of skirt to deal with.  One of my favorite solutions to this is to use Wash Away Wonder Tape.  I like the Dritz brand the best.  I’ve tried the Collins‘ brand but found that it was harder to peel off.

I stick the tape to the bottom of the entire hem and fold up.  This seals in the raw edges and creates a perfect 1/4″ hem.  I then fold the hem up again, edge-stitch, and voila…Hem done!  It obviously takes a lot longer than this but I enjoy it a lot more than ironing.  Wonder Under

I’m not sure if this is the “right” (or sewing legal) way to do a hem like this but it’s my favorite time saver.  This changes the hem that April has in her pattern but I found that it didn’t matter for this dress.  This tape can gunk up your pins and sewing machine needle so keep that in mind if you decide to use it.  The great thing is the tape washes away so it’s gone after it’s first dip in the washing machine.

Because of the flowy nature of this dress, I’ve had more than a few Marilyn Monroe (and now Kate Middleton) moments when I’ve worn it.  I may need to wear a slip or some granny panties from now on to avoid mooning unsuspecting passersby.  Apparently her Royal Highness adds weights to the bottom of her dresses to avoid this, so that might be my next solution.NEF_7327
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend April’s Riding Peplum and Party Dress Pattern.  It’s quickly become one of my favorites and I already have my next one in mind.NEF_7322
Photo Credit: JB Woodruff Design.  This patient husband got up super early to help me with these photos!  Major Husband Points.



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