Hello Cali Fabrics readers!
I am happy to be back with another guest blog post. I introduced myself in my first post featuring a denim Morris Blazer. If you you missed that post you can find it HERE. Today I am sharing a dress I made that I originally intended to be paired with that blazer. However, after getting a swatch of my first choice fabric, I decided to go with a different print that I LOVE, but doesn’t pair very well with that blazer. It is just too dark blue when paired with denim. (My original choice was light and lovely, but would have required a lining and I wasn’t interested in drafting one.)
Madrid Tunic and Dress by Coffee and Thread
Midi Length, Straight Short Sleeves
This was my first time sewing this dress and my first time using a Coffee and Thread pattern. Overall, I was quite pleased. I chose this dress primarily because I really loved the tiers on the skirt and the faux wrap dress look. I am NOT a maxi dress lover so I chose to do just 2 tiers. If you look at the example photos on the pattern listing it has a very flowy boho kind of feel to it. Ultimately I chose a fabric that added more structure but I think in the midi length it works. And while I really like the flutter sleeve option, I felt the straight short sleeves better fit this fabric. The structure and plaid of my chosen fabric gives more of a preppy feel… thus my “Boho and Preppy Meet” description.
The fabric I ended up picking is a lovely blue plaid shirting from Brooks Brothers. It is sold out now, but Cali has a lot of other Brooks Brothers overstock in their shop. THIS oxford would probably give you a similar look. (link: https://califabrics.com/navy-emerald-and-white-plaid-cotton-oxford-cloth-from-brooks-brothers )
Another fabric that could also give a preppy look would be THIS (link: https://califabrics.com/navy-and-white-lightweight-cotton-shirting ) It is definitely more lightweight than what I used, which might actually be better depending on your desired look.
I think the interplay of a classic preppy looking fabric with a more boho silhouette is a fun and unexpected look. My personal style leans heavily into preppy. Boho? Not so much. But with this combo the dress still feels very me.
Since this was my first time making the pattern I did start with a muslin of just the bodice. Overall the fit “straight out of the envelope” was quite good (not always the case for me) and I only had to make a few slight fit tweaks the rest of the changes were more style preferences. Here are a few basic details:
- Size: 8
- Moved in the shoulder seams 1/4”
- Shortened the sleeves by a few inches
- Made the bottom back darts smaller (to add a bit more width to the waist)
- Custom width skirt (I reduced the width to have less fullness overall)
- Deeper hem
- Top stitched along the front facings and stitched together the faux wrap
- Switched from invisible side zipper to partial exposed back zipper
The zipper switch was the biggest change and based solely on personal preference. After trying on the muslin and struggling a little bit with it I decided that a standard zipper on the back would just be simpler. Even with the open cross over front I knew it would be a struggle to get on and off. I really wanted a zip that went all the way up to the top. It wasn’t too big of a drafting change. All I needed to do was to cut the back in two pieces and add in seam allowances. I also did this for the first tier of the skirt. I am sure that when I cut the pieces the plaid was lined up perfectly but as you can see from this photo, somewhere along the way things must have shifted. Ooops!
Overall I am happy with the end result. It is definitely out of my comfort zone and I have to resist the urge to modify it and make it more fitted in the bodice/waist. I think there are many styling options that would work for this versatile piece. If I wore it with heeled espadrilles (which I do not own) paired with a fitted jacket and a basket handbag (which I also do not own) it would feel very “coastal vacation”. For the fall, I see it paired with tall, brown leather boots, leggings, and a drapey cardigan. Pair it with a crocheted shawl and photograph it will standing among wildflowers… Boho all the way! Maybe… I won’t be testing out that look. 🙂
Instead I’ll rock this “classic Brenda” look: High bun and cute flats!
Thanks for reading!