Flounce, flutter, ruffle: whatever you call it, this flirty embellishment is everywhere these days. So naturally, we had to make it a theme! Very often, when we make our own clothes, we focus on simple lines, clean seams, and good fit. (All amazing things, if you ask me) But sometimes it's fun to play and mix it up.
Take the difference between a simple jewel-neck tank and a tank with a flutter sleeve. Both have important places in your wardrobe and even though they have basically the same construction, one element changes the entire look!
That's why this month, we're focusing on adding some variety to your handmade wardrobe. Let's get flirty and fun with flounce sleeves, necklines, and straps. Let's add a little flutter this summer and see where it takes us. I'm pretty sure it will be beautiful.
So, without further ado, let's dig in!
Sew Essential Box: Adèle Flutter Top from Jalie Patterns
Do you have those sewing patterns that always kind of lurk in the back of your mind? Not at all in a bad way, but just always there, waiting for you to decide one day that you'll make it. I feel like all sewists have a running "one-day" list of projects rolling around their brains, and the Adèle Flutter Sleeve Top has been mine for years.
What is it about this pattern that makes it stick in my mind? For one, the flutter sleeve is just perfect - not too big, not too poofy, just right. Plus the way the flutter elements shapes the bodice, pointing to the waist, adds some subtle waist definition that I always like in a woven top. And to put it simply, it's just so cute! And who doesn't want a cute top in their wardrobe?
Because it's summer and the flutter requires very lightweight fabrics, I wanted to use airy, floaty fabrics. This led me to challis, crepe, and gauze in colors that reflect the florals and sunshine of mid-summer. So here they are!
- Navy and Cream Floral Rayon Challis - Challis is an obvious choice for a flutter sleeve since it's super thin with a soft, flowing drape. And since it often comes in amazing prints, we had our pick of options. I went with this navy blue option that has large-scale bunches of crabapple blooms. The delicate cream of the flowers contrasts so beautifully with the blue and the uncluttered bunches allow the flutters to stand out without disappearing into the print. Sweet and classic, this print is simply stunning.
- Antique Pink Cotton Gauze - We always seem to gravitate towards pink, but as you know, there is so much variety in shade, from deep fuchsias to pale pastels. This antique pink color falls somewhere in the middle, on an ever so slightly peach side, which makes a soft yet saturated color for summer. The single gauze is ultra light and airy, almost like wearing a cloud, and the crinkled textured will add even more flutter to the sleeves. This is absolutely secret pajamas in a top, but you'll be the only one who knows!
- Brushstroke Floral Print Crepe de Chine - This crepe is all about the print. Painterly and delicate, it consists of a watercolor brushstroke floral ranging from deep, cobalt blue to bright lemon yellow, all on a white crepe de chine background. Silky soft and light, the fabric will sort of skim over your skin, and the flutters will have shape and movement. If you want to wear a top that is a work of art, this is the fabric for you!
Sew Select Box: Lena Horne Dress from Tabitha Sewer
We have a new pattern company to work with! Tabitha Sewer appeared on my radar for her fabulous buttons, but it was her Lena Horne Dress pattern that really caught my eye. For one, her pattern packaging is silver, so it's really hard to miss, and two, the vintage-inspired dress is just that stunning. I love a good fit-and-flare shape, and the addition of ruffled straps gives the dress so much more impact. It looks like it came straight out of a 50s movie!
Technically these ruffles are gathers, not flounce, but I'm hardly going to be a pedant when the dress looks this good. The ruffles shape the bodice on princess seams and criss-cross in the back for a look that is casual yet chic. A side zip makes the dress easy to get in and out of and a full gathered skirt is perfect for twirling. If you're looking for a dress above the ordinary, this is the one for you!
To keep with the vintage feel of the pattern, I decided to go with crisp cottons retro-inspired prints, and midcentury colors. All three options will show off the ruffles and make you feel like a movie star. So let's look at each one!
- Chestnut Granito Print Ecovero Twill - To reflect the 50s style of this dress, it seemed only natural to gravitate towards midcentury modern coloring, like this rich, chestnut red. Spotted with darker red and lighter pinks, the pattern is abstract and earthy, as its "granito" name reflects. The fabric itself is silky soft, with a very subtle twill weave, and its soft drape will show the shape of the ruffles without too much volume. A dress in this fabric will be perfect for garden parties, picnics, and just Saturday errands. A stunning choice!
- Azure Blue Cotton Voile - Before synthetic fibers were readily available, vintage dresses were often made from crisper fabrics, like poplin and lawn. So it was only natural to use a cotton voile for this pattern. The drape really lets the ruffles shine shows off the volume of the gathered skirt. Plus the bright azure blue is like a gorgeous sky in the summer. Be your own perfect day when you wear this fantastic dress!
- Buttercup Daisy Print Rayon Poplin - A retro-inspired print, this fabric combines a soft butter yellow with gray and white daisies for a look that is simply divine. The rayon poplin (one of our favorite fabrics), is lusciously light with a soft drape that will give the ruffles some gorgeous flutter. The tight weave of the fabric makes it easy to sew and wear, and the cool hand of the rayon will keep you comfy in the summer heat. All in a all, the perfect dress if you ask me!
Sew Curvy Box: Farrah Blouse & Dress from Chalk and Notch Patterns
A shift dress is a classic summer piece. Its loose fit and easy style are ideal for the summer heat. But it can also be a little boring if you want more flourish in yoru wardrobe. That's where the Farrah Dress comes in. With two variations - one with flounce sleeves, similar to the Adèle Flutter Sleeve Top, and one with a flutter yoke accent - this pattern can give you the flirty look you want.
We love how effortlessly this pattern dresses up any outfit. It's not overpowering, but definitely a step up from the ordinary simple shift. The dress can be styled up for a nice dinner out or dressed down for an everyday look. You could even add a belt for more waist definition or make it without the flutter for a simple yoked tank. With so many options, you'll want to make this dress again and again.
This pattern relies so much on the drape of the fabric, as any shift dress does, so we wanted to keep it light and flowing. That meant gauze, viscose, and crepe. With a bit of pattern thrown in, you have your new favorite summer dress. So here they are!
- Eggcream Petal Print Cotton Gauze - From Atelier Brunette, this double gauze doesn't have the crinkled texture you may be used to. The smoother hand matches the simple cut of the dress and really helps the flutter sleeve/front shine. Printed with a delicate pale yellow petal pattern, as if daisy petals were strewn across the face of the fabric, this option is subtle yet stunning. Summer weight and summer hues make this an undeniable option!
- Melon Pink Viscose Linen Crepe -The soft drape and cool hand of the fabric are perfect for this dress. And the color! The dusky, melony pink is soft and lush, like a cool glass of pink lemonade on a hot day. The fabric itself is sort of the lovechild of a rayon challis and a crepe, combining the silky hand of your favorite challis with a slightly nubbly texture you get with crepe. Perfect for the flounce! The combination will give you a dress that is both relaxed and elegant. A lovely choice!
- Sandstorm Night Ecovero Crepe - Deep midnight blue plays host to a line-drawn abstract pattern of pink, white, and ochre shapes. Artistic but not overpowering, the pattern is fun and distinct, just like you! The fabric itself is a cool crepe with the classic nubbly texture and fluid drape. The flutters will fall softly from your shoulders while you stay cool and fresh in the summer heat. And that's the dream, (or one of them) isn't it?
Sew Indulgent Box: Coquelicot Dress from Deer & Doe Patterns
When Deer & Doe announced that they were no longer producing paper patterns, my first thought was to grab as many of the existing ones as I could use in upcoming boxes. (So sorry/not sorry if you see them a bunch in upcoming months). Lucky for me, I had already set my sights on the Coquelicot Dress and its fantastic neckline.
Deer & Doe does dresses so well, and this pattern is no exception. The long, A-line skirt is so simple yet elegant, and the square neck adds such contrast to the swoop of the flounce. The flounce itself creates the illusion of a sleeve and frames the neck and face nicely. It's fun, feminine, and sophisticated, and I want it in my wardrobe right now!
Embracing the slight cottage-core quality of dress, we decided to turn towards florals and texture. And a lot of drape to really show off the maxi version. Lawn, twill and dobby are the name of the game here, and they are amazing. Let's dig in!
- Periwinkle Fleurs Vintage Floral Rayon Lawn - A print from Rifle Paper Co, this lawn is reminiscent of midcentury floral wallpaper, with stylized blooms and bold, saturated color. Pair that with a silky soft, rayon lawn, and it's a dream of a fabric. The tight weave and smooth hand will make you feel like you're wearing a gown, but the color and print will keep it casual and everyday. Luxe, bold, and bright, this fabric is a phenomenal option!
- River Blue Dobby Dot Viscose - The fabric is actually the one used in the yellow sample dress, and we couldn't get over how well the drape worked for the pattern. The dobby weave creates a tone-on-tone dotted look that is extremely subtle but makes the dress look shimmery and complex. Silky soft from the viscose content, it will feel amazing to wear, from a chic party to a Saturday morning stroll.
- Primrose Cottage Floral Tencel - The brilliance of this fabric is the contrast of the country pink print with the silky weave of the Tencel. On the one hand, the fabric feels rustic and simple, on the other, it is modern, with sheen and drape. This dichotomy reflects the style of the dress, with the gown-like shape juxtaposing against the more playful flounce and contemporary neckline. Put all together, and it transforms into a knockout of a dress - chic, striking, and oh so wearable!
Don't these cool, bright blues, subtle yellows, and pale pinks put you in a summer mood? The color combination was inspired by those summer nights when you stay out for a cookout or gathering and watch the sky change from bright, afternoon blue to deep evening dusk, with all the pink and yellow hues of the sunset. It puts me in the mood for summer, and I hope it does the same for you.
In our Tried and True series, we're keeping the warm weather theme going by reviving our Tea Dresses from last spring. These dresses are perfect for all the summer weddings, graduation parties, and, heck, Sunday brunches, that we have to look forward to in the months ahead. So check them out in the shop.
That's it for this month. I hope they put you in the mood for some summer dress sewing. I know I'm already planning my outfits in my head. Until next time. . .