While writing this, I am currently en route to Martha’s Vineyard for a weeklong family vacation. I really wanted to make something for this trip, but as the days leading up the trip passed by, I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted to make. I went to Joann fabrics for 3 days in a row looking for inspiration for something to make, and finally on day 3, I landed on this Tiered Floral Dress.
I have a few rules when I want to make something new. They are difficult to follow, but imperative. The first is to always find the fabric first. The bottom line for this is that it will never come out right if you don’t like your fabric, or if you sacrifice fabric in any way. Find a print/texture that you love and think is beautiful, and you are almost guaranteed to love your finished garment. For this project, I knew I wanted to make something for warm weather, but I didn’t know if it was going to be a dress, a caftan or a top/skirt set. I am particular about the fabrics I choose, and I love texture. This floral embroidered linen has a sophisticated hand feel and substantial drape, which I knew would make the whatever garment I chose feel more luxurious.
The second tip when trying to make something, especially quickly, is to find a simple pattern and adjust from there. Not all patterns are simple! Many store bought patterns have silly additional seams and unnecessary darts in order to fit a 45” fabric layout. If you disregard the layout recommendations, many pieces can actually be taped together to avoid more seams and extra work. For instance, this tiered floral dress pattern is made with tons of rectangle pieces that are gathered for volume. But they are just rectangles! What I should have done (yes, some tips come from making mistakes first) was tape the pieces together and fold the fabric differently to avoid seams. This saves time cutting and sewing, and would have given a more streamlined look to the garment.
That said, I was worried when I was making this tiered floral dress that the overall look would be too heavy, something like curtains. However, after trying it on my opinion completely changed. I think at first I had a hard time with the overt femininity of the look. Floral and embroidery AND gathered volume?? Thats a lot for me. But the muted color palette kept the look from being too loud, too bold, too girly. And the heavier weight of the fabric kept the dress from blowing up in the wind, which is a definite concern with a shape like this.
I’m really happy with how it came out. If you are looking to recreate it- the fabric is from Joann fabrics and the pattern is McCall 7563. I added pockets to the pattern because… well duh! What do you think of my tiered floral dress? Would you wear it?