Last week, I got tagged in an Instagram Story chain to show off my favorite make right now… And guys, this is the one. I made this dress in collaboration with Stylish Fabric, and I am absolutely crazy about it.
When Amy first started teasing the Chelsea Party Dress, I couldn’t wait to add it to my pattern collection… If I remember correctly, Amy had already made a version for herself that she’d shown off for awhile before announcing it would become a pattern. I’d fallen in love with that first dress of hers, and I think I may actually hold the claim to fame as the very first person to purchase the Chelsea Party Dress pattern! The fact that it took me a year to sew it is a completely different story… Whoops!
Anyways, the Chelsea has so many details I love, like the open back, the angled details where the front bodice comes around to meet the straps in the back, and of course, the gorgeous neckline. I have a small chest, and have always loved that this has given me the opportunity to rock a plunging neckline without too much fear of showing off the goods by accident. This might be my very favorite detail of the Chelsea Party Dress, and I love the way it looks and feels for me.
A construction detail that I love is the elastic contained between the lining and outer of the deep V neckline; it is a great detail that helps maintain the shape (and the decency!) of the plunging neck, so that there are no wardrobe malfunctions! The pattern recommended a 12.5” length of elastic for either side for the size 8 in this pattern, but I accidentally cut an 11.5” length instead. This was a happy accident for me – as I’ve mentioned, I’m very small in the chest! – and I would actually keep this as a purposeful modification in the future. I am cutting out my second Chelsea dress tonight, and I’ve actually chosen to size down by one size for this one. While the size 8 I’m wearing here is comfortable and fits well enough for good coverage, the bodice overall is just a tad bit large on me. I fell right between the 6 and 8 in measurements, so I sized up originally to be on the safe side. To size down, I decided to only reprint the bodice pieces in the smaller size and will just plan to keep the skirt as is, so it will end up slightly more gathered on my next version.
For the skirt, I chose to do my own thing… Kind of. I used the pattern pieces as a base for the two skirt pieces, then measured out a length of each color. I wanted to do a layered skirt so that both fabrics were featured, so I chose to do the deeper coral color as the underskirt and a shorter length of the light nude color over. I love the look of the overlapping skirts, and that I got to play with the use of both fabrics thanks to this little modification, but I also realized afterwards that if I’d just sewn up View B and used one fabric as the top skirt panel and one as the bottom, I’d essentially have gotten an overall very similar look. Instead, I now have 2 floaty layers and an invisible zipper that was slightly more finicky to install. But hey, it’s still beautiful!
I didn’t originally choose these fabrics to use together. I had considered making a crop top of some sort out of the peach linen look poly, and a dress or top from the rayon crepe. However, when they arrived and I pulled them out of the package together, the color pairing was reminiscent of a dress that I’d had pinned to my Pinterest board for years, so I decided to recreate the idea – in my own way. To be honest, now that I look back on that dress, I don’t love it half as much as I remember but I’m so happy with the dress that it inspired me to make!!
The rayon crepe fabric is not “stretchy,” per se, but it does certainly have some pull to it if you give it a tug. If left to its own devices, I suspect it would be likely to grow on me a little bit! However, this made the pairing of the linen look poly even more ideal. The linen look poly is stable, and not entirely opaque. For this reason, I decided to use the coral rayon crepe as the outer of the top and under layer of the skirt, and the peach linen look as the lining of the bodice and over layer of the skirt. The coral helps to ensure that the peach skirt won’t be translucent, and the lining of the bodice helped the rayon crepe to keep its shape. Both of these fabrics come in a range of colors (I LOVE the “pink deep” colorway of the rayon crepe!) and would be great on their own, but I’m so happy with how they paired here – I’d fully recommend that you go ahead and make a complete replica of this dress. We’ll be twins ?
Thank you to Stylish Fabric for sponsoring this post! Though the fabric used in this post was generously provided to me by the awesome team at Stylish Fabric, all words and opinions expressed are my own, as always! Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!