PART 1: INSPIRATION
Hello everyone! Welcome to part one of our Emery Dress Sew-Along! This is my first ever sew-along and I hope you all enjoy it! Okay, let's get started!
For part one, we're going to talk about inspiration. If you remember from a previous post, the Emery Dress was originally inspired by the young Catherine Deneuve as Geneviève Emery in the 1964 film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I think we can all conjure up images in our heads of ladies like Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn wearing similar silhouettes, so instead of digging up a whole mess of vintage photos as inspiration, I thought it might be more interesting to see what is out there today, and how this dress style relates to contemporary fashion.
Since the dress is a bit mix-and-match – short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, bow, collar – there are many combinations you could consider. In addition, I will be showing you how to finish the arm holes for a sleeveless option, how to make the skirt pleated, and how to turn the pointed collar into a rounded Peter Pan collar. So toss all of these choices into a hat, and you can have any number of dresses. Not all the dresses below fit the exact design, but they are all "fit and flare" dresses, so you can get some idea of how the dress would look in different situations and combinations.
ALL OVER PRINT
First let's talk about fabric. Most of my sewing students fall in love with a print, and make the whole dress from that one fabric. I do this too, as do many people, so odds are good you are thinking of this too. Here are some choices that fall under this option.
These range from sleeveless, 3/4 sleeve, elbow, and short sleeve, and involve both large scale and small prints. All feel classic and relatively timeless and the basic all over print is never a bad choice. If you love a print, this is the best way to show it off. No bow, no collar, just the dress in your favorite fabric.
Sometimes one bold print all over my whole dress is just too much and too loud, so I might pair it with another print to break things up. Other times I use a different fabric on the top and on the bottom simply because I don't have enough of the fabric to make the whole dress in it! Either way, I think it's really fun to make matches within your stash and see what kinds of relationships you can form.
In these examples, some are made of one fabric on the top with another choice on the bottom, one mixes up and uses a third fabric on the sleeves, and one utilizes a border print for huge impact on the hem. The Emery Dress can be made with a border print and the fabric of the skirt cut on the cross-grain, so look for that post coming up when we get into construction!
Of course, there's nothing more timeless then making the whole dress from a solid color. I've made it up in all kinds of prints, but my solid colored versions are by far and away the most versatile and can easily be dressed up or dressed down.
One nice thing about choosing a solid is that you can have fun with accessories, as you can see in the photos above. A basic dress gets transformed by the belt, shoes, or clutch you pair with it. A solid is never a bad choice.
After you've picked your fabric, it's now time to think about the details. Are you considering the bow? How about the collar? Or of course, you could choose to do both! You can also consider making your skirt pleated instead of gathered. There are endless options!
I like that these bow, collar, and pleated options all have various sleeves too, as you can start to see how each one changes when different elements are added or subtracted.
For those of you heading into summer, this might be an option to consider. Though, I also know that a lot of ladies in mild winter climates also have been known to wear sleeveless dresses with cardigans during the cooler months, so this might apply to many of you. Or, you could just be really early in your spring sewing, which is fine too!
For those of you considering sleeve options, there are pattern pieces for short sleeve and 3/4 sleeve, but of course, you can also do anything in-between, so think about that too!
We'll meet back here on Thursday when we talk about fabric selection, just in time to pick up all your fabric and notions over the weekend! And tell me, what combination are you thinking of making? Let's hear about it! Or do you need help choosing? Let everyone know!
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All images lined to the Emery Dress Inspiration Pinterest board with links to sources