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A Fabulous Fabric & A Fantastic Pattern: The Perfect Pairing

When this new exclusive fabric arrived from Minerva I fell in love and knew that it needed to become a maxi dress.

The timing was perfect because Fibre Mood had just released their latest issue of their magazine and this Josephine dress pattern was right there waiting for me.

Josephine is a dress that has chic styling and a dramatic sleeve. It features classic details with a modern twist that only add to its appeal. This is an ultra-feminine dress with a jewel neck featuring V-shaped keyhole design finished with bias binding. Josephine has a beautifully tailored bishop sleeve that is showcased by four buttons at the cuff.

This dress is a pattern hacker’s dream! There are two styles to choose from; a dress with a gathered top and long flared skirt or a relaxed tunic that can be worn with or without a tie belt. The pattern is easily adapted into a top and the dress will look wonderful skimming the knee, or styled at either medi or maxi length.

This is the Herbal Halo print, one of Minerva's new exclusive viscose prints. I feel in love with the muted colours that offer a refined palette and interesting abstract designs. I knew that the larger print would need a larger canvas in order for it to be truly featured so a maxi dress was definitely my first choice. The drape and soft silky feel of the fabric makes it a joy to sew with and to wear.

The new Minerva exclusive fabrics are printed on a high quality viscose challis. The fabric itself is actually made from a wood pulp which makes it a natural fiber fabric. This means it is breathable like cotton, often more so. So not only is it a wonderful design, it is a joy to wear. It is a plain weave so it has no stretch. I made sure to prewash my fabric as well as to iron it before cutting out any pattern pieces for a more exact cut. This is a versatile fabric making it a great choice for a huge variety of makes including dresses, blouses and tops. It is light weight fabric so it will serve you well for summer and as layering pieces in the fall and winter. I plan to use smaller left over pieces to make a camisole for travelling.

For my Josephine I chose to make Version 2. This version is not gathered at the waist, it is a tunic style. For definition at the waist you have the option of making a matching tie belt or you can wear it lose. I also like that this version allows for coordinating leather belts to add flare and function to the dress. I purposely created an extra long maxi length so that I could wear it full length or bloused over a tie belt as a maxi dress. As full length version it feels reminiscent of a vintage caftan and I can picture it worn with my hair up worn with a gold slip on fancy shoe.. Perfect for hosting a party at home or for an elegant look for dinner out when travelling somewhere warmer.

The overall styling of the dress is definitely a loser fit so I sized down one size which still left lots of room through the bust line and shoulders. I am pleased with the fit and appreciate the more fitted styling through the neckline and bust. I added my prerequisite 6 inches to the sleeve length, then added the cuff without any adaptations. This gives me an extra long sleeve that balloons beautifully. I was able to add vintage abalone and brass buttons to echo the colours in the dress. I used these on the cuff and for the closure on the back neckline creating a hand stitched button loop to secure the back closure. The cuff fits quite large so I overlapped the closure quite a bit preferring to have a tighter cuff, just lose enough to slip on without having to undo all the buttons.

As version 2 is not gathered at the waist, you simply need to extend the front and back bodice to the length that you need. For my dress I added an additional 35 inches from the waistline so that I had a maxi length for my 6 foot frame! This allowed for a 2 inch hem and some excess length to blouse over the tie belt. The total length of the dress from the top of the shoulder is 55 inches. What a joy it is to be able to create a shin length dress with ample sleeves! If I were to make the dress with a short sleeve it could easily be worn as a full length maxi dress with higher slits at the side seam, which would give it a caftan feel for warm evenings and time by the pool.. The pattern hacking options really are endless.

I left a small section of the side seam open to allow for movement. I wanted the side slit to to be quite small so that it would just brush the top of a knee high boot and not show too much leg.

I am so pleased with this dress and it will fast become a favourite to wear at a variety of occasions. Depending on the footwear that you pair it with, it can be a modern take on a maxi dress like I have featured in this post, or it can be a timeless classic paired with a riding boot or a classic pump.

This is my first Josephine dress but it will not be my last. I love the fit and feel of this dress; made even better with this incredible exclusive print from Minerva. It truly is the perfect pairing of fabric and pattern that may become my signature dress. After all.... there is Sew Much To Design.

Happy Maxi Dress Sewing,

Lou Sheffer


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