The Melba Dress was in production and I’d already made my pink linen Melba in a 200gsm linen. It was a total success and I loved it so that I made a fatal error. I forgot that fabric weight is much less important than fabric drape and I cut into this golden jacquard that was also 200gsm.
The result was way too structured- my mitred hems were beautiful but the whole thing was sitting weirdly. ‘This would have made a great Torrens Box Top‘ I thought to myself while trying to think about how to rescue the project, which was entirely finished at this stage.
The solution was not immediately clear, nor was it especially ‘Jess-esque’ but I cropped the hem and added a flounce, for a golden fish tail hem! My flounce could use some more pressing and probably wanted me to fuss with its tiny hem a little more, but it was out of luck.
I’ve never made a circle skirt so I used a circle skirt calculator, pretending the hem circumference was my waist and then it gave me some measurements and I had no idea what to do with those. I got there in the end (I even had to pause the TV while I nutted out whether I should be cutting it on the fold and cutting it twice, etc).
I folded my fabric in half and then used my quilting ruler to measure the radius along the top of the fabric (from the fold towards the selvedge) and then down then I used that quilting ruler to mark a curve between the two point (see- it felt very complicated at the time). That was the stitching line at the top of the flounce. Then I added a 1/2″ seam allowance above that and then I measured another curve 12″ below that (I ended up cutting maybe 2 or 3 inches off the final flounce).
Then I did the same thing again, which gave me a front and back flounce.
I quite like the finished dress, even though I would not have gone into the project thinking ‘I’m going to hack this to have a circle skirt attached on the bottom’. I do have enough of the fabric left to make a Torrens, which will probably be a much better fit for the fabric (or maybe I’ll just make a shirt-length version of the Melba)!
Next time it’s flounce time, I’ll be making a lined flounce that I understitch very well so that I can skip trying to hem that jerk bottom.
In the background you can see my improv quilting experiments that I’m doing with linen scraps as part of the 30 Days of Improv Quilting during August. The neapolitan colours are the ones that I’m working on right now and although I’ve never patchworked or quilted before, I’m really enjoying the process and I feel like I’m putting those precious linen scraps to good use!
Thanks so much! I decided to resume sewing my wardrobe after a 40 year vacay and decided to start with linen. stop laughing. ahem. There are two drunics made of expensive linen of the SAME WEIGHT but way different drape in my closet that looked like your final dress here. Hoping that very soon, my wife will hear me shout at 3 am, “and THAT my friends is how you make a flouce!”