I loved the silhouette of the Chalk & Notch Marcel Dress as soon as I laid eyes on it, and I purchased the adult and youth size bundle right away! It didn’t take me long at all to make a VERY cute version for my baby girl, but can you believe I’ve held onto the pattern for over a year now before finally making a version for myself? I’ll be honest – I think I found the sheer size of the pdf pattern a little bit daunting, which is why it was so much easier to jump in with the smaller youth size pattern first. I kept looking at the number of pages I would need to print out to put my pattern together, and deciding that maybe I’d just sew something else first instead! I finally realized that I’d be a lot happier if I just sent that bad boy off to the print shop, and I don’t regret it one teeny little bit! After the pattern arrived on my doorstep (thanks pdf plotting!), it didn’t take me long to finally get going!
I chose this beautiful Merchant & Mills Laundered Linen from Minerva with a maxi length Marcel dress in mind. I love the subtle hints of pink woven into the fabric (which is appropriately named “Hidden Pink”), and this is absolutely some of the softest linen that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. The closest I’ve felt is a linen / viscose mix, but this is 100% linen and 100% lovely. I know I shied away from linen for quite some time because I believed it was always a scratchy substrate, but you won’t find any of that here. The color is beautiful – a subtle, neutral color that offers hints of pink only to those near enough. The drape is beautiful, and it is a breezy fabric option that makes a maxi-length dress bearable and comfortable even on a 100F hot summer day!
I will admit that as I began this project, I was still a little daunted by the size of the pattern pieces. I am always more impressed with and proud of the projects that take me a little bit of time and extra attention, but I still find that I lean towards a quick make more often, probably as a result of the fast fashion culture that my brain is still working hard to separate from. As I laid this pattern out on my fabric, I remember thinking “OOF. That’s going to be a doozy.” The cutting phase is never my favorite part of a project, but it is even less fun with a giant baby belly impeding my mobility! Once I got the pieces cut out, though, this dress came together so much quicker than I anticipated. Aside from the time and effort dedicated to gathering the side panels, the dress is fairly simple in construction – sleeveless, no closures, etc. I can certainly see myself putting together a few more of these, especially now that I don’t have to cut it out again!
I probably do not need to point out that my shape is somewhat different than usual in these photos. At the time that these photographs were taken, I was almost 36 weeks pregnant! Due to the ease of the dress and lack of fitted waist, I decided to risk it and try the pattern out without any modifications for this version. This was a little risky, as I think back on it, as I totally intended for this to be the dress I’d wear for both my Baby Shower and Birthday in August… So thank goodness it worked out! I normally wear a 6 or 8 in Chalk & Notch Patterns, depending on the garment and where it is most fitted.
For something like this Marcel Dress, where the most fitted area is the bust, I would probably choose a size 6 based on my pre-pregnancy measurements (which typically involve a smaller bust relative to waist measurement). However, since everything, bust included, is a bit exaggerated right now, I decided to go ahead and sew a size 10 in this dress. It is ever so slightly big in the bust, but overall it is floaty, breezy, and lovely. Aside from this size decision, I did not make any modifications to the pattern. If you are thinking about sewing one for yourself during pregnancy, I absolutely recommend it! I do recognize that as it stands, this one won’t be the easiest for nursing access once baby gets here… With that in mind, I’ve been thinking of trying out a version with contrast tie straps (Alexis of @myysweetsunshine made a version that inspired that thought!) for that period. I also think that this pattern is well-suited to an invisible zipper nursing adaptation along the top band “bodice” piece along the front.
Some additional details about this dress are up on the Minerva website, as well, if you’re interested in reading more. I’m thrilled with this floaty dress and am so happy to have something that makes me feel pretty and summery for the fun celebrations I get to enjoy all through the beginning of this month – like my Baby Shower this past weekend and my birthday today! Thanks for checking out this latest make!
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this pattern! The fabric used for this post was provided to me by Minerva in exchange for photos of my finished garments and a review of my experience with the fabric posted on their website. The Marcel Dress Pattern by Chalk & Notch was purchased by me. 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