When I bought this fabric, I was very, very torn. Dress, blouse, or skirt? It really begged to be made into a dress, but I knew that was I needed more at the moment was tops and skirts.
My solution? Make all three!
By making a 2-piece set, I could have something that looked like a dress, but I could just as easily wear the pieces separately. Plus, this fit in perfectly with the separates challenge for Indie Pattern Month!
It took me a while to decide on a pattern, since my initial idea was to use a blouse pattern and a skirt pattern, but I just didn’t think they would look like a dress when worn together.
I put the fabric aside for a while, and it wasn’t until I was browsing through some indie pattern collections that I wasn’t familiar with that I had this idea. I found the Miz Mozelle dress by Jamie Christina, and loved it! I immediately thought of this fabric, but then I remembered my 2-piece set idea. Then I thought – why not take a dress pattern, and modify it into a 2-piece set? That way, it’ll be sure to look like a dress when the pieces are worn together.
This fabric is a rayon twill with amazing drape that I bought in Montreal. The other notions I used were a black wood bead and some embroidery thread that I made a daisy chain with, to close the keyhole, since I couldn’t find a button and cord that I liked. I also used black bias tape to finish the keyhole and armholes, and the gathering comes from elastic thread for the blouse and 1″ wide elastic for the skirt. The pattern calls for interfacing for the collar, but since the black fabric I used for it was already stiffer than the rayon, I skipped it.
I bought the PDF and taped it together, and cut out a size 2. I thought the dress would be one piece, with an elastic casing at the waist, but it has a top and a skirt that are sewn together, and the elastic is sewn into the seam allowance. This made it really easy to make into two pieces! I lengthened the top by 6″ and narrowed it just slightly so that it wouldn’t be too bulky when tucked in, and I added 1 1/2″ onto the top of the skirt, for an elastic casing. I also raised the keyhole opening by 1/2″
I used French seams on all the seams, including the armholes, which I’m really proud of! I don’t have access to a serger since leaving home, so I’m experimenting with different seam finishes, and French seams are probably my favourite so far.
I wanted the blouse to be evenly gathered when tucked in, so that it would look more like a dress. Enter, elastic thread! I sewed five rows of stitching with a bobbin of elastic thread to shirr the waist, which worked really well! It was my first time shirring with elastic thread, but I’ll definitely use it again.
Onto the skirt – I added pockets (of course), but I wasn’t quite sure how to make them work with French seams. This tutorial helped a lot! I love how they turned out.
I used a modified version of the pockets from the Cambie dress, which I extended so that I could sew them into the seam that made the casing, for stability. I used the same black fabric as I did for the collar, because I thought pockets from the rayon might be too flimsy and delicate.
To make the casing, I just turned under 1/4″, then turned under 1 1/4″ and stitched it. I also tacked the elastic in place so it wouldn’t twist. As much as I was reluctant to make an elastic waist skirt, it really works with the blouse and it’s super comfortable!
I’m really, really happy with how these turned out! I love both the top and the skirt, and I think that they really do look like a dress when they’re worn together.
On their own, the top is great with jeans, or with a plain black skirt, and the skirt is great with pretty much any solid colour top. I think these pieces will get a lot of wear!
Thanks for reading! For some more photos and construction details, check out my blog!