Fabric and style considerations. For sure, B5986 requires a fabric with stretch in both directions. The test garment is really comfortable to wear, as others who have made this pattern have noted. My original hope was to make this in a substantial sweater knit and have a cozy sweater dress for cold weather (snow still on the ground in these parts). But……. there is a large amount of fabric in the garment with no supportive seams. Even with the substantial amount of fabric removed after the test garment, there is still too much for a fabric with body that would weigh down the garment. This means that the best fabric for this garment would be a thin lightweight fabric with excellent recovery. A fabric with a significant amount of lycra. A drapy fabric will also be good for creating the neck folds that form the graceful neckline of the garment. Thin drapy fabric with this shape of garment really says warm weather to me. A thin rayon-lycra knit or a rayon-lycra blended with linen or cotton would be wonderful for summer giving nice body coverage without being hot. So for the time being I’m ignoring the sleeves and concentrating on a sleeveless version. The next consideration is color and pattern. Again the issue is the vast amount of fabric in the dress. In an overall color or pattern this can be overwhelming. A lighter color will show off the folds and drape more but it is tricky to carry off such a look with out giving the appearance of a paint blob (if monochromatic), or a sofa (if patterned). A dark color looks more sedate and also enhances the largen-look, Rick Owens-esque vibe of the pattern, but also risks looking frumpy and weird. If made in a darker fabric, the dress would certainly need shortening to knee length instead of the mid-calf where it currently sits. See what I mean with a montage of a few images from Rick Owens’ Fall 2014 RTW show:
There’s a picture of B5986 in the Vogue fashion show at Pullayup styled with matching color shoes and black leggings which is a nice way to style the garment. Leather/pleather leggings would kick it up a notch and give it the high fashion look.
Talking of styling, this hat on the model in the Rick Owens show featuring a dress with a similar vibe is pretty cool and would not be hard to make. I couldn’t pull it off the hat but I adore the look and am getting to the stage where comfortable neck coverage is a big plus. The pattern photograph has a version of the garment using an uneven striped fabric and there is another version of the dress with this fabric and different pattern placement from the 2014 Puyallup Expo report at http://marcytiltonblog.blogspot.com/.
This looks terrific, regular stripes might look too much like prison garb dressing gown but this bordered striped fabric is very classy. Another version of the dress with a bordered patterned fabric can be seen at this link. Two other bloggers have made this dress with patterned fabric, Stitch Me Up and Communing with Fabric. These versions are gorgeous with fabulous fabric choice, the pattern has has both small elements together with larger areas of variation. The patterned fabric used for these versions is very sophisticated with different elements strewn out over a large area. This type of sophisticated kaleidoscopic patterned fabric, often created with digital printing, is great for garments, and works really well for a dress like this with so much fabric.
Digitally printed fabric is becoming more available to home sewers but still is only really obtainable in a retailer that caters to garment sewers. This type of fabric with its scattered small and large design elements and borders is the very opposite of a neat, tessellated repeat fabric like is so often seen in fabric stores that cater to quilters. If you don’t have such a store locally, especially for those of us that live far away from cities, online is the way to go.
One source that I adore and highly recommend is Elliott Berman Textiles, fabulous fabrics of very high quality with impeccable service and minimal shipping charges.
OK, off to decide on fabric! My ideal would be to find a viscose lycra blend with a faux animal skin pattern (preferable something reptilian like snakeskin). Please let me know if you are aware of the availability of such a fabric!