As soon as I heard about the Rifle Paper Co. collaboration with Cotton and Steel fabrics I knew I had to make a DIY Rifle Paper Co. dress with them. And after stumbling upon this gorgeous red floral rayon fabric in a local fabric shop, that’s exactly what I did!
A few weeks ago I finally had a chance to stop into Sew Modern, an amazing little boutique fabric shop in West Los Angeles. I went in for only half a yard of fabric to make some cocktail napkins and I left with nearly 4 yards of this red floral fabric and a new dress pattern to try.
My apparel sewing skills are very much still at the beginner phase and I’ve only successfully made a couple dresses to date. I used the Victory Patterns Hazel dress pattern, which is a beginner pattern. It’s a simple shift dress that has a really fun retro inspired neck tie.
I followed the pattern with a few minor exceptions to fit my petite, very pear-shaped (#halfcuban) figure. First, I opted to to not add the lower panel on both sleeves. I liked the sleeve length as is and since I wasn’t doing a color-blocking look I skipped this step. Second, before cutting the lower dress fabrics, I shortened the pattern about 3 inches, which is what I typically do since I’m 5′ 3″.
I made the back upper and lower pieces tapper down at the waist to a size 8 and the front pieces a size 6 (I’m typically a size 4 in most brands). This allows for a little more room in the back and made it fit so much better.
The second to last step when making this dress is to attach the lower skirt part to the top part. I did this according to the directions and tried on the dress and felt it wasn’t flattering at all. For someone with a straight figure it would have been perfect but I typically prefer dresses that have some definition in the waist. So I got out the seam ripper and removed the stitches and decided to easily “gather” the waist by adding two kinda make-shift pleats in the front and two in the back. This gave it the shape I preferred while not having to alter it much.
Since the pattern is a shift style it doesn’t have any zippers or elastic so it’s now pretty difficult to put on and take off. If I had more advanced sewing skills, I probably would have tried to work in a zipper but in effort to finish it in one day so I could wear it to an event last week, I opted to forgo all logic and just take the simple route. And I’m absolutely in love with how it turned out. Now, I think I want to try one of cotton prints and make something else to wear.
If you make this dress or have any extra fabric laying around, you can make a no-sew wire headband. Check out my video tutorial to put those scraps to good use!