Styling the Marianne Dress

November 21, 2014

I love stripes. Always have, always will. So when I made the samples for the Marianne Dress I wanted to keep the homage to my Parisian landlord true to itself and use stripes. I hunted far and wide for the best stripes and when I saw the organic wool knit at The Fabric Store in Los Angeles, I knew it was the right choice. It is almost like a sweater knit, but not heavy and retained the flow that I was looking for. Perfect. You however might not want stripes, and just because I have had a life-long obsession with stripes, I would never want to imply that this is the only way to style your Marianne Dress.

Choosing sample fabrics is a really tricky business. Consider my Derby Dress and Chelsea Dress patterns. Originally I picked all Liberty of London prints (except for one striped fabric) because I love Liberty and I felt it was a lovely, feminine, and timeless choice. But I quickly realized that if you're not into flowers, you had a hard time envisioning yourself in the dress. So when I redid all my images this year, I went out of my way to pick basics, only using solids, stripes, polka dots, and simple geometric prints that would have a more universal appeal. But of course, these are only samples and the joy of sewing for yourself is customizing it over and over for yourself and for loads of styles and situations.

So, other than organic wool knit stripes, what can you use for your Marianne Dress? TONS! Let's look at some awesome internet samples, which are all found on the Marianne Dress inspiration board on Pinterest. And yes, some of these are stripes, because this dress looks great with stripe variations.

- - - - - Metallics - - - - -

Need an easy to sew holiday dress? Make it out of a stretch metallic knit! I picked up some fabric yesterday to do exactly this! 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Florals - - - - - 

How fun are these floral knit and solid sleeve & binding combos? LOVE! The dress becomes sporty and feminine all at once. Super fun and modern. 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3

- - - - - Colorblocking - - - - - 

Use a different fabric for each piece! For #2, you can use the front of View A and the back pieces from View B! For #1 and #3, simply chop the dress piece for View B at the hip, add seam allowances, and cut an alternate fabric for the hem!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Fancy - - - - - 

It can be hard to find these kind of stretch fabrics, but if you do, this dress can easily be made up into something fancy for a special occasion! 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Solids - - - - - 

There's nothing wrong with just choosing a lovely solid! And as in #1, you could make it a maxi!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Sources 1- 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Stripes - - - - -

Omit the cuff, and just use the 3/4 sleeve by itself!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3

Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Solid & Stripes - - - - -

Use a solid color at the top and on the sleeves, or combine a solid with a stripe sleeve!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Shirt Length - - - - - 

And of course, you can always shorten it to a shirt length if you want!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

I hope this gets your ideas flowing! There are loads of ways to style and rework the pattern to your personal tastes. I can't wait to see what you all do with it! The possibilities are endless!

Marianne Dress Inspiration

November 20, 2014

Many of you know that my post-college career started in the world of ready-to-wear, and if you knew me back then, the Marianne Dress will look very familiar to you. This was one of the first designs I made to sell, as they were quick and easy to make, especially with industrial sergers and coverstitch machines, and they were easy to fit on a wide range of bodies. The only real style choice was if you wanted to wear it tight (sausage casing style) or loose (jammies style). That was up to the buyer, though there were more than a few shows that I vended at where I was a wee bit mortified watching girls squeeze themselves into the smallest version possible. Not exactly what I had in mind, but hey, the customer's always right, right?

The year was 2006 and the dress back then was called the Niagara Dress, don't ask me why, I honestly cannot remember for the life of me why I called it that, and it looked like the photos above and below. Shot by my old Chicago friend Stu, I flew to Portland from Los Angeles to do photoshoots with him and the beautiful Annabelle, my regular model at the time.

Fast forward to this year, and when it came time to release a new pattern, I knew one thing for certain: I needed a break from the formality of the Emery Dress. I mean, not everything I make do I want to sew 16 darts for goodness sake! I found myself longing for a lounge-friendly, but elegant knit dress and remembered that pattern I had hanging in my stash.

The original had a more boatneck neckline without binding, coverstitched hems, and a slightly more hourglass shape with a sash belt. As with all my patterns, I wanted to maintain a simple shape, while providing as many customization options as possible. So from the original, I made the shape more body-friendly, added details like the optional collar, cuff, and seams above the bust, and voila! The Marianne was born.

Though I designed the Niagara Dress nine years ago, I was also very aware of not being redundant in the indie pattern scene. I made sure to keep to what I wanted to do, while checking that it wasn't too close to my friend's patterns, the Coco Dress by Tilly & the Buttons, and the Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studios. As with any pattern, it's a fine line of being aware of those that are close to your idea, while still maintaining your vision. It's tricky and thankfully all three of these designs are different enough to coexist. I will continue to make both of those, as they are only similar to those that aren't looking at the details. And who knows, perhaps there are others too that are close that I'm not aware of. Eventually you need to make your idea and go with it or you'll be paralyzed with the fear of overlapping too much.

So why the name Marianne? Originally I called the pattern the Marie Dress, named for my Parisian landlord, Marie. She wears this style of top all the time, so it is a bit of an homage to her, as well as drawing on my love of French style. But while the names Marie and Emery look nothing alike, they sound nearly identical. Seriously, stop reading for a second and say them both out loud. See what I mean? I had been writing Marie and saying it alone, until one day when I said Marie and Emery side by side in a sentence and well, I knew I had to change it! So Marianne is a take on her name, and keeping with the French history of the shape, so that stuck.

Check back tomorrow for loads of ideas on the kinds of fabric options you can use (not just for stripes!) and customization ideas. I was going to include that today, but I think this is enough for now :)

PDF Update Announcement!

Just a quick note to tell all of you that purchased the Marianne Dress as a PDF that a lovely customer noticed that I had listed only three buttons for the notions, but that should really be six buttons, as there are three buttons per sleeve, and of course you have two arms!

If you purchased the PDF, the updated file information would have been emailed to you, but note that this typo is the only correction, so there's no need to re-download it for any other reason.

Anyone that purchases it from this point forward will have the updated text under the notions on the last page.

Thank you!!!

Introducing the Marianne Dress!

November 19, 2014

I am so happy to announce the release of my newest pattern, the Marianne Dress! I love a cozy knit dress, and the Marianne Dress is exactly that. Designed with ease, the Marianne is a casual knit dress with a figure skimming silhouette.

The PDF version of the Marianne Dress is now available for instant download and the print version is available for pre-ordering, scheduled to ship early next week! Both versions are on sale for 15% off through end of day Monday, November 24.

Inspired by the classic Breton top of the French sailor, the Marianne is a modern take on that shape with a kimono sleeve and several custom options. The dress hits above the knee, has a comfortable round neckline, and easy to sew seaming.

Though I have been designing and working in knits for decades, this is my first pattern for stretch knits. The booklet includes instructions for both serger/overlock machines as well as conventional machines. You can absolutely sew this dress on a basic machine and with basic knit sewing knowledge!

View A is a simple front and back, with the kimono sleeves gently folding over the shoulder, and an optional Peter Pan collar sewn to the front of the neckline. The sleeve and skirt hems are finished with a simple fold and top stitch, and the neckline is finished with self-binding.

View B has the same shape and kimono sleeves, but this version features a 3/4-length sleeve sewn to the hem of the kimono sleeve, which ends in a cuff and 3-button decorative detail. There is an additional seam at the bust and across the back, which lands in line with the hem of the kimono sleeve, making color blocking options fun and endless. As with View A, the hem of the skirt is simply folded and top stitched and the neckline is finished with self-binding.

The Marianne Dress is meant to be loose and flowing through the body, not fitted and confining. The garment has loads of ease through the waist and hip, with only a few inches of ease through the bust, making it flattering and forgiving where it counts.

Because the Marianne Dress is not meant to be fitted, this garment is best suited for a knit that has some flow and drape to it. Best choices are cotton jersey knit, ponte knit, rayon knit, silk knit, double knit, french terry, wool knit, and ITY. But think beyond the basics!

There's no need to only stick to stripes, despite the sample photos, this can easily translate to a holiday party dress when made in a metallic stretch knit, or a fun floral print for a summery take on the shape, for all of you down under! Check out my Marianne Dress inspiration board on Pinterest for more ideas!

Want to scoop up some fabrics and the pattern at the same time? I am happy to announce that for the first time ever, I am offering kits for sale in conjunction with the pattern release! These are extremely limited so if you are interested in them, I urge you not to wait. This is a one-time deal and I will not be doing this again for this pattern.

On my site is a small collection of gorgeous rayon knits that have a heavy and opaque drape, making them perfect for the Marianne Dress. Colors range from stripes to rich jewel tones in blue, red, brown, black, and aqua. Each kit comes with 3 yards of 60" wide fabric, plus 3 yards of clear elastic for the shoulder seams and 1 yard of knit tricot fusible interfacing for the collar on View A. The kits retail for only $24.50, making them a pretty sweet deal.

In addition to the fabric kits, I am offering a kit of just the notions, so if you have your own fabric but need help finding the elastic and interfacing, you can get just that part for only $6.50. Again, these are limited, so jump on it quickly if you're in need of these items.

I hope you love the new dress and I cannot wait to see all your versions! Join me tomorrow where I talk about the inspiration for the dress and all the versatile options for you to customize your own Marianne Dress.

New Pattern Coming Tomorrow!

November 18, 2014

Join me here and on my shop site tomorrow at 9am Pacific Time for the announcement of the new Marianne Dress pattern! The PDF will be available for instant downloading, and the kits and printed patterns will be open for pre-ordering. The pattern will be 15% off and all pre-orders will ship early next week!

I hope you all love it! Off to wrap up the final details... :)