Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Rachel Dress - Part 2 The Details

Besides the pockets, its the details that makes the dress for me.  Now these details weren't necessarily part of the PYT's dress that I'm copying.  However, they are features that I envisioned when I started to plan the making of this dress.

The Buttons & Buttonholes
I decided to add buttons and buttonholes to the pockets of the dress after wearing The Rachel Skirt.  Because of the way the pockets are inserted in the skirt, you can only see them when I stick my hands into them.  I wanted to feature them a little more in this dress.  I thought a button/buttonhole detail would bring them more into the limelight.

Choosing a button was a little involved because right from the beginning I knew I wanted black accents/embellishments on the dress to make it less of a blue blob.  I auditioned about a dozen buttons before I settled on this one.  I think the black/gold combination works well with the style of the dress as well as giving it a professional rather than just a pretty look.

It took some work to get the buttonholes on the dress.  Since I'm going my own way here without benefit of pattern instructions, I decided that I wanted to add the buttonholes after the pocket bags and the dress' bodice and skirt front were sewn together.  I thought that I would be able to determine where the buttons/buttonholes would go better on a fully constructed front...and this did work...however, making the buttonholes with a small window was a little more challenging than if I had sewn them before attaching the pocket bag and the dress bottom. 

They are on with a little help from my trusty seam ripper!  And they are where I want them to be and symmetrical on both sides of the dress front.

The seaming details
Even though I am not accentuating the seaming with any thought in my original is imperative that the seaming match.  Side seams...back seams...and center back seams are all lined up.  I'm not sure that anyone will even notice the matching of the seaming detail but it was important to me.

On the original PYT dress there were no embellishments except the belt.  I saw the dress a little differently in my mind's eye.  I thought the neckline and sleeve hems needed a little something, so I pulled out the black satin piping that I have yards of in my notions stash.  Here it is basted onto the neckline waiting to be machine stitched down before I add the lining.

Lining with lace hem
I have no idea whether or not the original dress is lined.  I'm much happier with a lined dress than fiddling with a half slip...which seems to be what I've been doing lately.  So this dress is lined with black lace added at the hemline.  This is my signature in a lining and I'm staying true to me!  *LOL* 

This is where I'm at now.  The dress shell is complete.  The lining is made.  And the piping needs to be machine stitched to the dress before the lining insertion.  I still have to make the sleeves, pipe the sleeve hems, insert them.  Stitch the lining down to the zipper tape and hem the dress.  I have several hours of work ahead of me and hopefully with no distractions, I will have a new dress to wear to work this week! always more later!


  1. I appreciate your attention to detail in matching the seams. It's one of those things that adds polish to a garment, even though most people tend not to notice specifically unless the seams are wonky. Looking forward to your finished dress, as always.

  2. Looking forward to your pyt dress and like the details you've incorporated into the dress.

  3. Oh my Gosh Carolyn. I just realized your TNT dress pattern is one I've made at least 10 times for either me or my DD prior to my blogging days.. I took it out last week and was tempted to make it again. (Small world).
    your Rachel dress sounds intriguing and I will anxiously wait to see the end product.

  4. Very chic! Love the peek a boo lace finish to the hem!

    Lynda in LV

  5. Hi Carolyn,
    After reading your blog and seeing the beautiful blue linen dress that you made I decided to buy some linen today from Fabric Mart.
    My question is this, did you wash your fabric prior to sewing the dress up or will it be drycleaned?
    I know that washing it changes the texture of it. Thanks for your help.


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