Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lemony Sheath Dress

Can't you just hear Pee-Wee Herman now? "Mmmm, Leee-mony!" I kept hearing his voice in my head as I was sewing this dress! I am crazy for both Pee-Wee and lemon prints, so I was super excited that this one was chosen to be in my spring fabric collection. It's a 100% cotton sateen, opaque with a soft drape.

Black Sateen Lemon Print
I decided this print needed a simple, classic dress silhouette, so I decided on a summer sheath dress. The pattern is from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book. I matched the strapless bodice with the pencil skirt, and made two simple straps to go with it.

The dress made its debut for Viva Las Vegas! I've never been before, and it was so cool to see everyone done up Rockabilly style. I tried to make my hair and makeup as '50s fabulous as possible, though the windy days made me wish I had invested in better hairspray.

Of course, flats are essential when doing a lot of walking!

Construction-wise, the only complicated thing about this dress is the bodice. It's both lined and underlined in black Kona cotton, and then boning channels are sewn to the lining layer. Steel boning is inserted throughout. I find boning to be essential for a dress like this, because it keeps a closely fitted bodice smooth throughout. Ten rows is my minimum for this bodice design, and that's what I used here. The most important placement points, in my opinion, are over the princess seams, side seams, diagonally on each side of the bust, and on either side of the zipper. 

Here's the inside of the dress. I didn't line the skirt, because I loved how the fabric drapes on its own and I didn't plan to wear hosiery with the dress. 

 I lightened this one a bit so you can see the boning channels.
I love how the boning keeps the back of the bodice smooth. I used a lapped zipper, my preferred method. 

This print is also available with a blue background on a cotton lawn. It has a lighter, almost gauzy feel to it, and I'm definitely going to make a full-skirted dress with it. 

This dress uses the same bodice and skirt pattern as two other dresses in the book! Can you see the basic similarity?
Faux Sarong Dress, Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book
Fringed Cocktail Dress, Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book
The latter two use the sweetheart option on the bodice, rather than the straight neckline. But see how much you can do with some different straps and trims, using the same bodice and skirt?


  1. Cute dresses, and love the lemon print fabric.

  2. I hope you had an awesome time here in Vegas! I've lived here for over 5 years, and you're absolutely correct--the wind can be brutal this time of the year. Hope your curls weren't too mussed!

  3. What a beautiful dress, perfect fabric!

  4. I ADORE this fabric. I had to have it when you posted it. I made a tee and skirt set with it and am just in love with it.

  5. Love this dress. I bought your ultimate dress book and have a few patterns of your new fabric, love! I drool over food print fabric, love the lemons, I have it in blue.

  6. could i use that fabric for a pair of soft pants? i've fallen in love with it and think it could become a nice pair of pull-ons.

    as always, love the dress!


  7. Lovely dress :)
    I've just received your 3 books (birthday gifts) and I'm so happy with them. You're the person who motivated me to start sewing ;)
    A question though : where can I find your fabrics in france ?

  8. I love the fabric. I've got some lemon print cotton on order from my local fabric shop for a skirt. Can't wait.

  9. This is beautiful. I'm thinking to use boning in more of my work garments to give them the structure. You've inspired me ! I think Patterned fabrics are challenging, what's your thought on pattern matching across seams? It takes up so much yardage and requires so much planning! I'm wondering if it's always necessary.

  10. Really love the fabric. Would love to be able to buy them here in the UK.

  11. Wow! What a dress! It looks terrific on you and I love the print because it's different. I never realized what a difference boning can make. I've only used it once, when I made my youngest daughter a strapless dress for her senior prom. I'd like to comment on Miss J's post about matching patterns. In a large scale pattern, I do plan so I won't have a section of print in an obviously unflattering place on my body. I tend not to worry about small prints.

  12. Great dress! I hope you had a good time at Viva! This was the first year I wasn't able to go... kindof a bummer!

  13. Very pretty... It reminds of the classic Dolce&Gabbana dresses, with the citrus print and thick straps. I wish I could buy the farbic here in Austria!

  14. So pretty! And I love how the bodice fits with boning, it makes a massive difference.

  15. I used your pale blue lemon print to make a full-skirted shirt dress for Easter - I used McCall's 6891.

  16. Hi Cynthia
    Thanks for your feedback it's appreciated.
    I am working with a fairly random large scale print, making a bodice with a circle skirt. Like you say, I tried to make sure the weight of the print was fairly equal across the bust, but figuring how to cut the pattern to match across the lapped zip in the back was challenging.
    I appreciate that matching is impossible on the circle skirt.
    Maybe I'm having headaches for no reason, Gertie hasn't matched the patten across her back zipper and her dress looks beautiful!

  17. Absolutely love the fabric and I think the style of the dress is perfect for it, a great silhouette. I love how you've accessorised it as well, looking gorgeous as usual! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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