The idea for the Amalfi dress originated from the pictures of these Vera Wang dresses that I saw advertised in a fashion magazine. I particularly like the navy one.
Navy is my personal substitute for black and I adore maxi dresses so the colour and style were both perfect. I do like the shape of the cut out in the navy dress, but my dress had to be wearable!
There was this beautiful navy cotton voile in my stash with a matt satin look on the right side that I wanted to use for this dress. It is very light but not see-through and that allowed me to leave out any lining. The aim was to keep the dress as light and airy as possible for sightseeing on our travels in the summer heat.
When I get an idea for a garment from a picture I have seen somewhere, I usually go on a hunt amongst my patterns to see which part of which pattern I can use to make the garment. I usually have a similar pattern to what I want to make and just adjust the rest. That was the same procedure for this make. I used McCall’s 7418 for the bodice of the dress and just made up the skirt as I went along. The skirt part is made using one width of the fabric for each piece of the front and the back. So the middle section has more gathering than the bottom, because I wanted it to be a-line in shape. I just gathered and then sewed the skirt parts together after deciding on the finished width I was after. But I am thinking of redoing it and sewing the gathered seams together with elastic because they are quite fragile and could tear if the gathering got stretched.
To be honest, I don’t even know where I got this pattern from. I’ve had it for ages and never used it. I think I got it from a friend and was going to resell it on Ebay but now it was put to good use and I may use it again! I used version C down to the hip and did the rest pretty much free-style by trying on, fixing, trying on, fixing – you get the idea…. I only altered the pattern by making the back a little higher so that I could wear a strapless bra underneath without anything showing.
The bodice has an invisible zip sewn in on the left side. I was going to try and make it zipless, but due to the shaping in the bodice, I couldn’t squeeze into the dress without a zip somewhere.
The top of the bodice is interfaced front and back but otherwise the dress is unlined and beautifully light to wear. It does crease a bit being 100% cotton, but I wasn’t going to drag an iron around in my suitcase! I found that packing wisely helped to keep creasing to a minimum and if I took the clothes that creased easily out of my suitcase and hung them up as soon as we got to where we were staying, I could get some of the wrinkling out. I have also heard that hanging clothes in a steamy bathroom helps to “iron” them out somewhat. Haven’t tried that yet.
The pattern has quite a few variations for the straps and back. But I decided a simple cross would go well with what I had in mind. I was going to make simple straps but then decided that plaited ones would look more interesting. So I cut strips of dacron a little shorter than the fabric straps to fill them with. The idea was to pull the dacron through the tunnel of each strap, but that didn’t work. In the end, I placed the dacron in the middle of each strip of fabric and hand-sewed the strap in the most invisible stitch I could manage by wrapping it in the fabric strip. Yes, this was very time-consuming but well worth it and I was able to plait the strap strips with the hand-sewn side on the inside.
I wore this dress on a few occassions and was very happy with the way it turned out. It’s just as light and airy as I imagined it to be. Cotton voile is perfect for summer wear.
I’m thinking about the same dress in a short version somewhere down the track. But my wish list is ever growing and who knows when I will get around to that….
STYLING: shoes – midas, gold chocker – David Lawrence, sunglasses – Carlina square by Chloe, watch – Gucci, bracelet – gift, gold rings – Lovisa.
LOCATION: Amalfi, Italy