Like so many garment sewists in this community, I instantly fell in love with Lady McElroy's Tropical Stems print when Colette released their Penny Dress last year. I got some yardage in the ultimate impulse purchase moment. Even though I LOVED the design, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of regret, worrying that I might not be able to pull off such a loud print. Wow, was I wrong! I recently used it to make a Brome dress - and it is definitely a new favorite in my wardrobe!
I finally got up the courage to sew up my yardage after seeing so many lovely garments out of this fabric on Instagram! I figured a simple silhouette would be a good way to use it, to let the fabric shine. Amber's Brome pattern fit the bill perfectly.
Pattern: Brome by Amber Platzer Corcoran, View B
Fabric: 3 yards Tropical Stems, 3 yards Freespirit Lawn for lining
Size Made: 18
Modifications: Added 5/8" to center of pattern piece for dress front and dress back, Lined dress front and back, omitted band collar, smaller hem
I lined the dress front and dress back pieces with a solid lawn because the fabric is a tad bit transparent on its own. To do this, I treated the main fabric and the lining as one piece when I gathered and attached the yokes. Then I sewed and finished the side seams separately so the lining would hang unattached at the sides. Everything looks tidy from the inside because the "wrong" sides of the main fabric and lining face each other. After all that, I quickly basted the two layers at the underarm so I could attach the armhole bias with ease.
It really wasn't as complicated as it sounds, and made for a really nice finished garment. I even hid an extra button in the lining, just in case I ever lose one!
I really enjoyed Amber's method of sewing the partial button placket. Everything lined up as it should and I didn't have any puckering! I used Antique Gold Metal Buttons, which really pop against the busy fabric.
I decided to finish the neckline with a simple bias facing, just like the armholes. I love a good band collar but thought this busy print would benefit from simple lines. My final modification was to do a smaller hem - just a 1/4" + 3/8" for the exterior and 3/8" + 1/2" to keep the lining slightly shorter.
Tropical vacation, anyone?