This is my second make of this Marcy Tilton for Vogue Patterns design. I had two lengths of fabric i'd been waiting on sewing up, not having seen the perfect design. This linen digital print i'd been holding for two years. As soon as i saw the Cirque dress i hauled those lengths out as fast as i could!
I will blog about the first dress in future, i made it up with no alterations save adding three inches at the hemline (i'm 5'5 1/2" and active so i prefer a bit more coverage). However, while making up the first dress i became utterly enamored of the 'cirques' (the curved, gathered inset pieces along the hem). I also love the hem of my Hot Patterns Lantern Skirt, with it's upside down grin. Why not duplicate the big cirque on the opposite side of the dress, instead of the original droopy point (which is also fabulous), and curve the hem like the HP Lantern?
I had to see how this idea would turn out. First i sketched out my envisioned design. I used tracing paper, so i could lay my version over the original to discern the differences. Then, i traced out all the pattern pieces (from the instructions sheet) and worked thru which needed no alteration, which did, and sketch out the look of the alterations.
With a map in place, i set to drafting. Fortunately i was able to 'hinge' the alterations onto the original pattern pieces, which was less work and fewer pieces to go back in the envelope.
I also wanted to emphasize the look of the piecing in this dress through contrasting light and dark. This required a bit of fiddling with the layout, fortunately i managed to pull it off. In the picture above you can see the shape of one cirque clearly - though usually my arms are in the way, didn't think of that beforehand!
I don't have a lot more to say about this dress, except this.I finished it last Saturday, today is Thursday, and i've already worn it three days. It also mixes quite well. The way the colors work with this little jacket of overdyed linen kind of shocked me, in a "happy shocky" way. It also looks very cool with your basic denim jean jacket.
This dress is a slam dunk if you are a fan of Marcy Tilton's V8876, with a few added bonuses (bonii?). With no closures, this dress is faster and easier to make. And it requires about a yard less fabric; combined with the lack of closure you can make it for less money as well.
I bought he fabric from Marcy Tilton's online shop, though as i bought it two years ago it is long gone. It is the same fabric used in one of the dresses on the envelope picture for V8876. I fell so hard for that fabric, but at around $50 a yard it was way out of my price range.
Happily for me, Ms. Tilton had a little online contest which i won. The prize was a gift certificate to her fabric store - there was never any doubt about what i would buy with that prize!
In these closer photos you can see the way that the print falls apart as you approach the fabric, as well as some of the incredibly flattering and unusual colors: deep blackberry, burnt raspberry, paled-out frosted blueberry, toasted juice of lemon. Using fabrics like this one is a big reason why i love love love to sew - and why i love love love to wear what i sew.
This dress design, while it had its detractors in the beginning, is getting Big Love in the sewing community. Maresea of Biblioblog was first across the line with her soignee take (check out her perfect hair!) and Marcy showcased her neighbor Carol's bubbly LBD, elastic neckline version on her blog. Liana Hanson sketched out her plans prior to sewing up an on-trend color blocked version, and Terri makes beetles elegant in the way no one else can. Karen Kline's white eyelet version has me seriously eyeing eyelet fabrics for my own. Edited to add: Dragonthreads made this flabbergastingly glorious Cirque dress of various asian fabrics. Draw-jopping! (hmm, think i'll leave that typo). Scroll down to the bottom of the post to view. And check out another take on how elegant and beautiful this dress makes up in a solid color at Thanks! I Made Them! Sew Can You (best sewing blog name ever).
Edited Once Again: Eagle-eyed reader Kate set me straight on a fact - glorious Bianca has the first make here at two days prior to Mary. (Who knew this post would turn into a 'breaking news - this just in' style story?) However the two of them are tied in my book for letting the classy and dare-I-say ladylike side of this design shine. Thank you Kate! Readers may want to take a look at a wardrobe of classic Tilton Sister dresses Kate made for her 2013 summer - from stash, yet!
Yes, of course i want to make at least two more Cirque dresses. Pronto! Don't let all the volume scare you off - choose a fabric with some drape (lightweight linen and cotton lawn or voile are both easy choices), fit through the bust and go for it! We'll all be so admiring as you exude cool chic whilst we wilt in the heat.