Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blue Beatrice: Another Vogue 8876 Dress by Marcy Tilton

You may remember my rhapsodic post about my first take on this excellent and deservedly popular Marcy Tilton design.  I'm still wearing and loving my first make of this dress, and have been on the lookout for fabric to make into more 'Beatrice' dresses since i finished it.

In early spring, i spotted this gorgeous denim-blue printed linen at Marcy's store and did not hesitate to snap it up. The dress went together quickly, as second go-rounds generally do and as far as i'm concerned linen is just about the easiest fabric to sew. I finished it for my birthday in May, hooray!

That date also gives you an idea of how far behind i am on my blogging - (abashed face emoticon).

I got compliments right off the bat with this dress - one lady at the local grocery store was especially nice and thought it looked so perfect in our first heat wave of the summer.

Obviously this dress is just the best for hot days - sleeveless or with a little cap to protect your shoulders from the sun, the abundant, bell-shaped skirts of the dress catch every breeze and baffle it around a bit before letting it go on it's way, squeezing out every bit of cooling action possible. Who doesn't love practicality along with their edgy femininity!

It's a great piece for fall and winter around here too. Plenty of room for layering tees and leggings underneath, and any waist length or cropped jacket, shrug or sweater works wonderfully. The pattern even has sleeves!  Here in the SF Bay Area this will be a year-round dress.

In case you haven't noticed, i've been adding blue to my well-loved neutrals. It started a couple of years ago when i realized how much i liked denim against black, ivory, and lighter khakis and stones. It's been a smooth process, which really shouldn't be surprising considering how the whole point of neutrals is that they go with everything!

I combined two different buttons on this dress. Tony bought the flat, blue-black ones at Stone Mountain and Daughter a couple of years ago for a shirt fabric he decided not to purchase, and i liberated the grey shell ones from a hand me down Eileen Fisher blouse. I used them first fora  little black jersey blouse in an OOP Butterick design a couple of years ago, but when that blouse died i cut them off and saved them again.  They work beautifully with this fabric.

I love the look of lots of smaller buttons close together, it's one of my favorite trademark closures for blouses and dresses. Using two types of buttons gives a bit of movement to the front of the dress which i like, especially combined with the swirls and motion of the print. I've said it before and i'll say it again - never let a nice button leave your stash!

I usually anchor neck drawstrings with a stitch at center back so they don't fall out or move around during washing or wearing. In this case i thought i'd put a button there in order to disguise the stitching - i picked this one as it's a sleeveless dress.

I hope you all are enjoying your clothing-related activities as much as i am! It's really nice for me, having started this whole 'wardrobe improvement' project back in 2009, all those days later i actually have a closet with a decent amount of new to newish clothing that i enjoy, speaks to my style, and is completely physically comfortable. I even have enough stock to avoid emergency laundry and panic dressing, which happened fairly frequently through most of my life. Trying to avoid these type of events was one of my main motivations in my wardrobe project.

On Father's Day i had an incident which showed me how far i'd come. I'd picked out a nice look for the day (BBQ in the backyard, yum!). It had enough dressy elements so i'd feel stylistically comfortable, good shoes for the look as well as for being outdoors and up and down stairs, just a little skirt and top and coordinating chapeau. At literally three minutes until we would be out the door, as i got ready to wash my hands the liquid soap dispenser went rogue and squirted a line of goo right down the front of my top.

In past years, my wardrobe was so disorganized and skimpy that this would have required a total rethink of my outfit. Panic dressing, as i said.  But thanks to all my clothing obsessed plotting and scheming i simply walked upstairs, chose another top, set the soiled one to soak, and left to enjoy the day in another perfect look.

If you've started your wardrobe journey, but you know you've still got a ways to go and you're getting discouraged, take heart! You can do it! Take a break if you need to, but be sure to get back up and put that nose back to the grindstone because the effort is worth it and you will get where you want to be. And it will be even more fun than you thought it would be!

Have any of you had any 'closet breakthroughs' recently? Let us know if you have!


  1. What a lovely dress and fabric. I really like the idea of different buttons.

  2. Very nice !!!
    (& thanks for the encouragement on the wardrobe journey - I needed that... I have a ways to go)

  3. Very nice! I like the mix of buttons.

    Rose in SV

  4. Thank you Patti! and the even nicer think with buttons is they're so easy to change up for even a non-sempstress - a very easy DIY for anyone!

    Thank you and welcome Sew! Hang in there - i checked out your recent stash-busting and i think you're making very good progress :)

    Hullo Rose! Thank you for coming by!

    Happy Day! stpeh

  5. The fabric is one I would love to use as well. I love the details of the buttons. I too like to save buttons for other outfits. Sometimes I buy store bought clothing and change the buttons to something better.
    I really like the stockings with the print. They are a chic pattern mixing trick... you always have a bag of tricks.
    I have been trying to improve my wardrobe choices by sewing for myself but I am way off on my quest. I am still learning to sew better and realizing that my former choices were not at all compatible with my figure shape. Having a 3D dress form has really made me realize this. I also have begun to realize that making a muslin trial piece can save a lot of time and disasters on the main fabric.
    I am curious as to what head size you wear. I might have a few hats wanting to come live with you in San Fransisco... let me know

  6. Hello Adrienne! " always have a bag of tricks." haha! well, as i lean towards such low contrast, neutral-themed outfits i find pattern mixing can add much-appreciated interest....and the same factors make pattern mixing easier to pull off :) I'm happy to learn about your button replacing, seriously it is so simple yet stunningly effective in sprucing up and personalizing garments. You'd think it would be more common - we'll have to keep proselytizing.

    I am very glad also that you're getting such good use of your dress form! i've never had one, and not felt the need for one. But over the last couple of years i've really seen the benefit and ease of fitting, etc. I'm not yet to the point of really pursuing one at this point, though. Finding out which clothing shapes work best with your figure and how to develop them to reflect your own style is a big big part of sewing success and happiness. And very complicated and requiring of deep, creative thinking! So rewarding when it starts to come together, and exciting too! Yay for you keeping at it! and yep, muslins. Love em.

    You are a very generous person, and far be it from me to stand in your way ;) How would i measure my head, or a hat that fits well? As it happens, i do have some of this linen fabric left over, not huge gobs but if i recall correctly should be enough for some nice applique, make fabric flowers or bow, etc.

    my e-mail is pygmyowl AT sbcglobal DOT net - let's plot and scheme!!!! have a great day, steph

    1. When you do decide to make a dress form may I suggest one out of duct tape. Then you can place that over any dress form and don't necessarily have to buy a brand new dress form. I know people who get them second hand and it is way more cost effective. The good news if you lose or gain weight you just have to duct tape yourself again and you have a newly sized dress form. Here is an example of what I did.