I had the opportunity to test another pattern from Pattern Emporium so of course I jumped at the chance since their patterns are always so high quality. This one is their new Field of Dreams Strappy Tiered Dress and Top which was just release last week. I would have posted this sooner, but I was traveling. Obviously, this is the dress version, or at least a variant of it. I also did a top which I’ll post tomorrow.
I love how it turned out. It’s easy and comfortable and the wide straps mean I can wear a normal bra with it. Although I prefer it with a belt (this one is from Malco Modes), it looks fine without one as well.
I measure at a size 8 (and that’s actually the size I made the top which is out of a cotton poly gingham), but for this one I made a size 6 since the fabric is draped and I wanted a more fitted look. It fits great in my opinion so I’m glad I sized down.
In fact, I don’t actually need to unbutton the buttons. It just fits over my head. Which is exactly why I didn’t bother to do real buttons! The buttons are sewn through both the front and back layers to hold it together, but I didn’t bother making buttonholes. I could have, but a) this is arguably more secure and b) I didn’t feel like it.
The top is fully lined with shaping darts so very comfortable and with a clean finish.
The dress itself was inspired by the Justina Maxi Dress from Gingham & Heels below. Someone posted it in the testing group and I loved it and immediately knew I could recreate it with this pattern. I think I did a pretty good job! I’m sure I didn’t save any money by making my own, but that’s not why I sew. Given the model is more than half a foot taller than me, an off the rack one would probably be at my ankles and not have the flirty, summer look that I love about it. By sewing my own version I could make sure it fit me and my (shorter) body type.
In order to get the tiers, I used a standard length short skirt tier for the first one and then I did top length tiers for the other ones (if you purchase the pattern, these lengths will make sense). The first 3 tiers are in line with the pattern for how wide they are, but the pattern stops at 3 tiers so I had to do some math for the bottom 2 tiers. I ended up having to cut along the cross-grain in order to get enough width for each tier. To gather the tiers I used the gathering foot on my serger because it gathers and finishes at the same time. I love how clean it looks. This took a little trial and error to get right and I did end up having to do the tiers twice to get the gathering look I wanted. Did I save time? Eh, debatable. But I’m really happy with how they turned out so I’m not mad.
As you can see, I also put pockets in the dress because why wouldn’t you pockets in a dress? Or pants or anything for that matter. Pockets are so amazingly useful. The pattern comes with pocket pattern pieces, but because of the way I was doing my tiers, they wouldn’t fit into the side properly so I hacked together my own.
I cut panels that were the width I wanted, but twice the length I wanted. This length was determined by the size of my cell phone. I stitched these to the front sides at the top for the length I wanted the opening which for me was about 6 inches.
Then I understitched that seam.
Then I folded up the panel and shifted it slightly. So here’s where I would do it differently next time. Because it was rayon, I could shift it. But if I had been using cotton or something less slinky, this wouldn’t have worked. What I should have done was extend the panel on the front side a bit. The reason I was shifting at all was because I wanted to give a bit more length to the top edge of this top tier so it would look more gathered. In hindsight, shifting didn’t do anything to add length to that edge since I had to cut off the other side of the pocket that hung over leaving it the same width. Live and learn. The pockets till turned out nice. The top edge was caught in the gathered seam and the side edge caught in the side seam so it doesn’t flop around.
After folding up the panel I serged the raw edges on the inside (the outer side would get caught in the dress side seam). In the photo above, you can see the pocket from the front on the left and from the back on the right. A side benefit of this style of pocket was that it made serging the side seams really easy. When I do inseam pockets I have to serge around the pocket shape which I find much more challenging.
The hem is a simple serged and folded hem. Obviously, I highly recommend the pattern. There are lots of combinations of top styles, strap widths and styles, ties, pockets, different tier lengths and more. I think there’s over 50 different dresses you could make given all the options. Needless to say, I won’t get bored with this one any time soon!