I’ve never purchased so much yardage of one fabric at once as I did with this Art Gallery cotton voile! A couple of years ago, when By Hand London first released the Alix Dress pattern, I fell in love with the idea of the Alix Dress in this dreamy, dark floral, and purchased the SIX YARDS of this fabric needed to sew it up. I had dreams of the boho vibes a maxi version of the dress would give, but other projects continued to take priority and it kept getting put off, as I had nowhere in particular to wear it.
When 2020 began, my family was all looking forward to September when we would have the opportunity to celebrate the wedding of my younger brother-in-law and his fiance. I finally had a reason to make some of the fancier dresses I’d been planning in my head for so long! When I began to make my sewing plans for 2020, which I titled the “Monthly Make My Stash” project, I chose 1 fabric from my stash to sew for each month of the year – the goal was to finally use some of the fabrics I’d been holding onto, with a semi-systematic plan for which to get it done! I started planning some of my wedding festivities outfits, and wanted to be sure I’d have things ready in time without needing to panic sew too close to their date, so I set this fabric as my July project, excited to finally make that big sleeved, glamorous boho dream of a dress.
As you might have guessed, 2020 had plans of its own, and the big wedding they’d planned in September is on hold for now… As are my fancy dresses. But I strongly wanted to stay true to my plans for my Monthly Make My Stash project, so I decided to move forward with finally sewing up this fabric. While I still love the idea of this as an Alix Dress, I wanted something that I could get a little more wear out of right away. Wissew Patterns had reached out to me with an opportunity to try out one of their patterns, and I found the perfect fit – the Camelia Dress.
Wissew Patterns first released their patterns in French, and has begun this year to translate the .pdf versions of their patterns into English. I found the instructions to be a bit sparse, which required me to use my own knowledge of sewing techniques to fill in some of the blanks as I constructed my dress. I am unsure if this is related to the translation, or if they take a more simplified approach to pattern instructions overall. With a little critical thinking, I was able to make the dress with a few of my own personal modifications. I lengthened the skirt to a floor-sweeping maxi length rather than the over-the-knee length. Even though I wasn’t going full drama with this dress as I planned, I couldn’t shake the moody vibes of this dark floral – a little drama was needed.
For even a little extra oomph, I wanted to add a thigh-high slit. It seemed easiest to do this along the side seam line, as there was already a natural separation in the pattern pieces and this kept me from having to do much pattern tweaking. I measured out where I wanted the slit to end, and went to town.
I fell somewhere between a small and a medium in this pattern, and since having a baby, I’m always very fearful of making something too small… Which often results in me making many things too large. That was the case here… The pattern in its original form offers some wiggle room for sizing, thanks to the ties in the back bodice and the inserted elastic at the waist. If it weren’t for the long slit in the side seam, the fact that I used a shorter length of elastic than recommended in order to tighten the waist, which means in turn that the skirt is gathered further towards the back rather than evenly for a perfectly side seam, would be hardly noticeable! However, despite my attempts to size my slightly-too-large dress down to fit my body better, the side slit gives it away – it lays a little to the back of my body rather than the front! I’ve since decided to close the slit a little bit, to minimize my risk of unwanted wardrobe malfunctions from behind!
While this isn’t quite the dress I’d imagined when I purchased this fabric, it turned out to be a lovely dress! I wore it to celebrate my 30th birthday back in August, which I rang in at home with my husband and daughter, eating curbside pick-up fajitas – food I didn’t prepare at home, for the first time since March! I’ve got a little catch up to do here on the blog to show off the rest of my Monthly Make my Stash projects, but I am excited to say that I am on track with only my November and December fabrics left to sew (though patterns are still undecided for both!)
Top: handmade by me
Pattern: Wissew – Camelia Dress
Fabric: Bari J. for Art Gallery Fabrics – Emmy Grace – Budquette Nightfall Cotton Voile
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this pattern! The Camelia Dress pattern was provided to me by Wissew Sewing Patterns in exchange for my thoughts compiled in a blog post. All words and opinions expressed throughout this post are my own, as always. Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!
- XX Elizabeth