03 August 2008

Summer Dress #4: Trifle Ruffle Denim Dress

ruffled collar denim dress frontI've taken a short break from refashioning to sew down my stash and a long-brewing idea from my head. About 6 months ago, I sewed the Motocross Minidress. That was the day before it got hot in Austin, so I wore the dress once on a trip to Canada, where it was still snowy, and then tucked it into the back of my closet where it remains until we get below 80 degrees again. I'd thought then about sewing a sleeveless version of this dress, but didn't get around to it until these past few days. And as I've shared before, I have A LOT of denim in my stash to use.

ruffled collar denim dress collar detailOf course I needed a ruffle. Who can't use a little ruffle in their day? The Motocross Minidress collar wasn't the right shape so I re-drafted that mandarin collar, and I bias cut a 1-inch-wide strip of denim almost twice as long as the collar to ruffle. It is just so hard to gather denim, even if it's lightweight like this stuff, and with the ruffle being cut on the true bias there should be minimum frayage. It might actually get that worn-but-not-destroyed look that I love about some of my older jeans!

Some lessons learned and preferences realized from the Motocross Minidress... The Motocross a-line has a nice sweep but with sturdier fabric like denim, sitting down gracefully ends up being a fussy affair. I changed the hemline of this pattern to a straight skirt shape to avoid that... I wanted in-seam pockets, which I would have sewn into the Motocross version except I was impatient and didn't want to mess with them. I actually used the rest of the sleeves from the Refashion 5 shirtdress for the pocket fabric in this dress. I should show a detail shot of that, too, come to think of it... The bottom of the placket still skews the dress a bit, and I know why but I am not sure how to avoid it. I'll have to try this on a light cotton and see if it's a simply a choice issue...

ruffled collar denim dress button detailDidn't know what to do about closure. The dress is so monochromatic that buttons with personality wouldn't put this over the top. I wasn't hip on buying more at the store, so Louis and I went through my button stash. My BFF Emily gave me a few sets of neat buttons as part of my Christmas present in 2006, and I didn't really have the right project for these until now. They're technically too big at .75" on a 1.25" placket, but who's standing next to me with a ruler measuring anyway?

Unfortunately, the heat here has been too much even for this dress -- 105 degrees yesterday and 106 today. I started out in the Rock Me Amadeus white shirt, grey slacks, and black heels. Now that business meetings are done for the day, I am in a tank top and knit shorts. Anything else is TOO HOT. And so the latest creation waits for at least an under-100 degree day.


  1. As always, another great dress by you! Maybe I will get back into making dresses again (though I'm really trying to make more shirts). And I have those same buttons (in red, and in black...they are also still on their cards waiting for the right project to come along...in the meantime, they are propped up on my desk, watching me as I sew!)

  2. HOW CUTE!!! What a great idea to add a ruffle to the collar! I might have to try that with a blouse I want to make!

  3. I love all the added touches. I can't say no to ruffles. And those buttons. LOVE them. Cute dress.

  4. The ruffled collar is a great touch, and those buttons are just too fun!

    Also, thanks for the vote of confidence. I'd actually had the thought of doing something like a thrifting for refashions 101 sort of deal...good to know there might be some interest in that. Will keep you posted.

  5. I thank you, ladies. All really nice to read coming from such esteemed sewists as you 4!

    Kyle, you must let me know when you use those buttons -- I would like to see where they end up!

    Adrienne, I checked out Breaking Dawn b/c a friend's wife was also on a marathon to read it, and I am waaaaay behind the times! Looks like I have 3 volumes to catch up on before I have clue about Bella and Edward. :)

    I JUST bought something like 15 yards of 4 differnt denim fabrics just this past Wednesday!! HA-HA!!... I’m actually in the process of making the 'exposed zipper' version of the black linen/D&G dress I did last week... But, since I am COMPLETELY caught up in the Olympics, I have only gotten so far as modifying the pattern and cutting the fabric out... Love the Buttons on that dress!

  7. Mica, who can deny the Olympics? I cannot wait to see your denim version of D&G dress with the exposed back zipper!!! And what plans have you for the other denim yardage? What fashion schemes are you cooking up? ;)

  8. Hi! I came across here just looking for how to sew the yoke of a men's shirt, and just ended up looking around. Anyway...your buttons caught my eye because I have those EXACT same buttons! And in the black variation too (same style, different face and color). I thought I was the only in the world to have them. hahaha.


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