Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Plaid Taffeta Summer Dress

Plaid Taffeta Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside

Because I may be posting this to a Sundress Sew-Along, I should start off by saying this may not exactly be a traditional sundress, but it is definitely a summer dress.  It might look more summery if I wasn't wearing tights in the picture, but hey, I live in Canada and I took this picture in April.

However, the fabric is a very light and airy taffeta-esque, and there is a strand of teal colour running through the plaid, making it more summery to me than traditional fall plaids. That’s what appealed to me in the first place, since it struck me as unusual to see a summer plaid.  Since then, I have been waiting for summer to wear it.

(If you’re curious about the Sew-Along, check out Project Sewn here.)

Plaid Taffeta Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside
See?  Can you kind of see the shiny-ness of the material here?

So, in past posts I have shared my love of eyelet lace, and another one of my fabric loves is plaid. One day this winter I looked down and realised I was wearing a red plaid coat, with a red plaid scarf, and carrying a red plaid purse. Okay, it wasn't as crazy as it sounds. They were all different patterns but with the same tone.  I decided I was going to go for it and wear it anyway.

Then one day I was at my local fabric store, and had already paid for my purchases and was on my way out when I saw this plaid fabric. I was sucked right in – I had to buy some to make myself something. Like I said, it is very light and taffeta-y, and has a nice sheen in the light.

I always love me a full skirt, even though it is not the most flattering for me when it sits right on my waist. That tends to make me look much huger than necessary.  So, I found this pattern - Vogue V8020 - which was appealing due to the fact that the skirt flare starts lower than the waist. I also loved the Kate Spade-esque bow belt.

Vogue pattern V8020

Since I’m on the tall side, and I often have trouble with waist lines sitting too high on me – like up on my rib-cage (which, amazingly, is also not flattering) -  I thought I’d try adding an inch to the waist length.  I also ended up making the dress one or two sizes too big. So, I took in the side seams and the front and back darts, but I decided to leave the waist loose, instead of making it more fitted. Having the waist longer and looser gives it a bit of a Twenties feel – and I had just finished watching the 3rd season of Downton Abbey when I made this, which is set in the Twenties and features amazingly gorgeous drop-waist dresses. So I think this influenced me a teensy bit.  (Lots of the Downton dresses were in velvet, so it also made me decide to make something with silk velvet. The silk velvet fabric is now sitting in my stash while I work up the nerve to try cutting into it.)

Plaid Taffeta Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside

I lined the dress with lightweight black cotton silk (ooh la la!).  That sounds more extravagant than it really was, because I got it on a big sale, so that it was not much more costly than polyester lining. The cotton silk was the only thing that to me felt light enough not to weigh down the plaid.

So, I’m very happy with this dress, and I can start wearing it now that the weather around here is starting to get warm. Yay!


  1. very pretty!! looks really great on you : )

  2. This is so cute! It would be awesome if you linked this up over at our blog. http://shaffer-sisters.blogspot.com/2013/05/make-for-mom-link-up.html
    Hope to see you there!
    with love,

    1. I did, and I grabbed a button! You've got a lovely series going on there.

  3. I love this dress! It's totally Kate Spade but with cooler fabric!
    (I have some silk velvet that I've been saving to! We should totally use it!!!)

    1. Thank you! Re: the silk velvet - I even have a pattern downloaded, but I get intimidated when I read stuff about sewing with velvet and naps and only use cotton thread and don't use cotton thread, etc.... aack!

  4. That color looks great on you. Good luck with the sew along.


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