(Please be sure to click on the picture, for a more detailed view of the dress!)
Edmund Blair Leighton admired the chivalry of the past, and his art shows details of mothers and their children, and floral gardens of country homes. He also illustrated the stories of dashing heroes of the past. His paintings were shown for over 40 years in the Royal Academy.
This dress is sewn from Simplicity "It's So Easy" number 2901. It works well with wovens, and requires no zipper. There is a tie from the side at the front to the back. There was no adjustment at the neckline necessary, which was nice, since most patterns are simply too low at the neckline and do not cover the shoulders well. Simplicity Its So Easy 2901 seems to be out of print, but if you go to your fabric store where patterns are sold, you might find some on the special Its So Easy Pattern rack that usually sits on the cabinet.It features a sleeveless dress and a tote bag.
It was quite easy to add a collar to this dress, using a piece of curtain panel that someone gave me. I attached a length of pre-gathered, metallic looking lace to the edges, and finished it off with two buttons that matched the flowers.
The long sleeves came from another pattern. When you have a 99c pattern sale, don't pass up patterns because you just do not like the entire garment. Take a look at it and see if you could use sleeves, collars, and other parts of it. This pattern was absolutely no trouble to attache "foreign" sleeves, which is not always the case when you mix patterns.
If you cut out a garment the night before, you should be able to sew it up the next day, unless, like us, you are in the middle of harvest time.
Close up of the 100 percent cotton fabric, purchased at JoAnn fabric store. This seemed to be a very good quality fabric, which was sold as a quilters favorite, but borders in strength between lightweight cotton and decorator fabric. It feels cool on hot days and does not cling. No matter how hot the weather, this dress is cool and comfortable.
Dressing Hint: This garment plays up the face and plays down the bustline and hips, partly because the fabric is more crisp, and partly because there are no trims on the hems or sleeves. If you are a large lady, and your face is very round, do not wear a broad collar like this, but keep the v-shape at the neck, perhaps outlined in a sew-in trim in a coordinating color. Elongate the figure with the flat panel in the front. In the back, the gathers that come from tying it, will give slimness also.
If you are interested in dressing more femininely, as opposed to masculinely, then look at the collars. The woman's collar has a softer look. The skirt area is drapey , and the shoulders fit well. The key to good fit is the shoulders.
Here is a reenactment of the Leighton painting. To make dresses for yourself, using a modern pattern, just choose a pattern you like, and add details.The hair bow is from the same fabric.
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