I am having so much fun participating in the Sew Mama Sew, Super Online Sewing Match II. This week we were asked to make the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. I love the look of this dress, I will probably make the Marianne dress over and over again! Christine Haynes is a wonderful apparel designer and her instructions for this dress are extremely detailed. Since this dress is made from knit fabric each step was written for a conventional sewing machine, as well as a serger. I have noticed in all of Christine's patterns that she keeps things simple. Only using a few pieces of fabric to stitch together, this makes it easier for anyone to create her designs.
When I started looking for knit fabric for View B of the Marianne dress pattern. I looked for stripes. I assumed that I need a busy print or something with horizontal lines. It wasn't until I went fabric shopping, that I realized color blocking would give me a classic look. The fabrics I chose are solid red, white and black Ponte De Roma Fabrics. Ponte De Roma is a double knit fabric with tons of elasticity, it is a medium weight knit fabric, which helps hold this beautiful shift dress shape. Ponte De Roma medium weight fabrics can be worn all year long. I can wear my Marianne dress in the spring with flats, summer with sandals or in the fall and winter with boots and/or a scarf.
After buying the fabrics, I tested out the pattern to check fitting. When researching this pattern online, I noticed that Christine Haynes had a Sew Along and blogged about each step of the pattern. This was yet another great tool to use for constructing this dress. In the pattern I was a size 6 (bust size 34"), however when looking at the finished garment size, the bust measured 37.5". I knew this would be too large for me since I am also petite. Plus, knit garments need to have a little negative ease, so that the knit fabric can stretch to give you a better over all fit. Size 4 is the size I created and I love the fit!!
The color blocking was simple to figure out. I cut the front and back dress templates in half at the waist line and added a 3/8" seam allowance to both pieces.
- White fabric= front yoke, back yoke, collar and sleeves.
- Red fabric= cuffs and the top of the front and back dress templates.
- Black fabric= the bottom of the front and back dress templates.
I did notice that my serger stitching was with white thread and I could see the thread a little at the seams. To make sure the thread color matched the blocking, I used my sewing machine as well as the serger to interlock the stitches. At the end of the pattern instructions, when it was time to hem the dress, I serged the bottom with black thread, ironed the hem 1/2" and returned to my sewing machine to finish up.
You could color block the Marianne dress using any colors of your choice. I used three colors here, however you could use two or more. It is fun to try and test out different options when you are color blocking. The cuff detail was another wonderful element of this dress. I used little gold buttons to finish the classic look. Overall this project was a huge success, I recommend this pattern to anyone. It is a timeless classic and easy to make. I can't wait to see the other Marianne dresses! All of the seamstresses are extremely talented, I feel honored to be in the contest. Best wishes and tons of stitches!