I came of age in the 70's, and the Peasant Dress style made popular by Laura Ashley and Gunne Sax are near and dear to my heart! I knew that it would just be a matter of time until they came back, and recently McCalls patterns introduced a Laura Ashley design with 7242. They say that you shouldn't wear a trend if you wore it the first time round, but I thought I'd give it a try, and see how I felt in one before abiding by that rule!
I wanted to make it with a true 70's vibe which meant soft flowy fabric in earthy or muted colors.
Fabric Mart had a challis that was just perfect for it with a Muted Teal and Fiery Orange Rayon Challis.
I haven't worked with challis for a while, because it is one of those fabrics that has a mind of it's own. You know the kind- you can cut it absolutely on the pattern lines, and then you turn around, and it's completely shape shifted into a different piece! It is however, incredibly soft and has the most beautiful drape, so if you can be patient with it, you will be rewarded.
I actually had quite a time with this one because it ended up being way too big. Then when I went to check the pattern pieces to see where I went wrong, I found out that the pieces had really grown quite a bit- for example the yoke piece was a full 1" wider than the pattern piece on each shoulder. I had to take up the collar, shoulders, sleeves and the sides- I almost felt like I was resewing a second dress. Lesson learned- when working with challis, make sure to check pieces against the pattern before you sew, as they might have relaxed and grown larger since you cut them.
I could tell that the dress was going to slip easily over my head, so I skipped the buttonholes, and just sewed the buttons through all layers.
I'm accenting it with cognac leather boots, belt and purse that I was quite lucky and found all of them at a consignment shop in town. If I sew something myself, I don't feel guilty about finding the perfect accessories for it, especially when I can find them second hand!
Do you remember Peasant Dresses from their first incarnation? And if yes, would you wear one today?