‘Marilyn’ – a new hack

I recently purchased 3 metres of this very bold ‘in your face’ Viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics, Kilburn. To be honest I am not sure what I was thinking when I ordered the fabric so was a little surprised when I opened the parcel and saw how dramatic the colour and print was. However, the fabric was laundered, has a lovely drape and feels great against the skin.

Having made 6 versions of the Montana dress by Style Arc and 4 of the Myosotis dress, I thought it would be a good idea to combine the two designs, make a new style that I have named ‘Marilyn’ and use the bold Orange viscose for a wearable toile.

Line drawing for Marilyn design

Drafting the pattern: I first copied the bodice front and back of the Myosotis before laying over the Montana so that I could extend the shoulders for the cap sleeves. These days my ‘go to’ method for sleeveless and cap sleeved dresses is to line the bodice so that the armhole can be clean finished. However, this time I drafted an all-in-one facing. You will see that originally I planned to make the skirt with a hem ruffle but then I decided to make the skirt in three tiers.


Cutting out: I was careful with motif placement as I really did not want that large White bloom on the apex of my bust! I cut the back bodice in two with a centre back seam so that I could then cut 6 panels 12 inches deep x width of fabric (WOF) to make a three-tiered skirt.

Construction: The Bodice – My usual MO is to make up the bodice first so that can sit on the mannequin (to be admired!) whilst I stitch the skirt panels, pockets and frills. After a night’s sleep when it came down to it, I decided to ignore the all-in-one facing and instead use self bias binding. I still have the pattern for the facing in the envelope so maybe next time. For the self bias I cut strips 2 inches wide and pressed them wrong sides together before sewing to the right side of the bodice and flipping to the inside. I understitched the bias and seam allowances before top stitching the free edge of the bias binding in place. I was unable to find the exact colour of Orange for the buttons (not really surprising) so reverted to more of the Mother of Pearl ones that I bought in bulk and have now become my favourites.

The skirt: Again, I procrastinated before sitting down and getting on with the skirt. All those lengths of fabric had to be stitched together and have double rows of gathering. Then it was sitting quietly, marking the quarters, matching and gathering evenly for each of the three tiers. Each tier was sewn before attaching the final skirt to the bodice.

Final fitting: The overall length was a little too long (possibly dragged down by the weight of all the fabric in the skirt). I revisited the seams between the second and third tier and re-stitched taking a further ½ inch seam allowance from the original seam and overlocking (once again!). This brought the overall length up by 2 inches which was ‘just right’.

‘Marilyn’ version #1

Conclusion: I am very pleased with how this ‘wearable toile’ has turned out and delighted with the colour and design of the print. I think it is a dramatic dress and may well end up being my ‘birthday’ dress for 2022. I may be ageing but will certainly not be invisible. I am sure I will make the ‘Marilyn’ again in Viscose crepe but next time will either cut as a skirt plus a hem ruffle, or cut the skirt tiers at 11 inches rather than 12 inches so that the length is less ‘maxi’ and more ‘midi’. I have an idea for another ‘hack’ for the Myosotis to remove the collar stand and clean finish a round neckline instead. Watch this space…..

Project #31 completed 23rd June 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.