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. The pattern has several different views, and I originally thought that I would make the short dress, but when I actually tried it on, it was screaming for the ruffle, so I added it at the last minute.
I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the full width of the ruffle, so mine is about 8", instead of 12" wide as the pattern is. I also serge finished the ruffle hem instead of narrow hemming to save time and keep the ruffle as long as possible.
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.
When working with challis, make sure that you preshrink it, as it does have a tendency to shrink quite a bit. It also has a tendency to grow, so pieces like collars and facings especially need to be checked 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 and gold accessories which help lend that 70's vibe.
I"m so happy with this dress and can't wait for the weather to cool down so that I can wear it!