In Sewing

Not All Who Wander-er Are Lost

I’m honored to be today’s stop on the Wanderer Fabric Tour to promote April Rhodes’ new fabric collection! I know, I’ve been doing a lot of fabric tours lately but I can’t help it. I love them!! For about two weeks I had been pondering what to sew, knowing I wanted to make some kind of shirt dress, but I couldn’t decide on a pattern. I thought I had narrowed it down to the perfect one, Simplicity 2365, but after I messed up a narrow shoulder adjustment on my muslin I got frustrated and scrapped the whole project. Flash forward to Monday night when I had the genius idea (sarcasm) to design my own dress pattern and attempt to fit it/finalize it in roughly three days (hence the blog silence this week). WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I went back and forth in my own head about how terrible of an idea this was, but how proud I’d be if I could pull it off, until the Vulcan half of my brain was drowned out with sounds of “La la la lalalalalalala can’t heeaarrrrr yooouuuu!!” and I just went for it.


Before I dive into the logistics of this dress, let me first talk about the fabric. If you’re a garment sewer who loves cotton, and you’ve never tried Art Gallery Fabrics, I dare say you’re doing yourself a disservice (in my humble opinion). I’ve bought Art Gallery Fabrics before, so when April asked if I’d like to participate in her Wanderer Tour I already knew the kind of amazingness that was about to be gifted to me. Don’t get me wrong, I live for those heirloom weight quilting cottons (i.e. Cotton & Steel quality) but it’s also nice to switch it up and sew with a cotton that feels entirely different. Art Gallery Fabrics are finely spun with a high thread count which results in a “quilting” cotton that feels like a crisp mens dress shirt, more on par with a lighter cotton poplin. They’re not kidding when they say Feel The Difference!


I picked the Sacred Seeds print in Brittle, which is a really beautiful honey mustard color with a simple scatter print. As soon as I saw the color in person I knew I had to pair it with this amazing lace from Organic Cotton Plus. I had planned to use the lace as part of my next OCP review project, but it was just too perfect not to use with April’s print. It compliments the little V designs so well! I actually planned to add some lace across the shoulder area too, but I had already started binding the neck and arms by the time I remembered I wanted to do that. Oh well, I’ll try that next time!


Now, let’s talk about this dress. It’s not perfect. I have a few kinks to work out for my next version, but for conjuring it up out of thin air (in three days time!) I’m so ridiculously proud of it. I’m trying to ignore the fact that I cut the front bodice print upside down (I know, you probably wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t tell you), my bust darts are too high, and my neckline looks a little “wing it and hope for the best” (yeah that’s not the same shape it was when I started sewing) BUT! The FIT!!


After struggling to fit my back, neck, and shoulders for practically an eternity, I’m very happy with how this dress feels on. It might be slightly over-fit across the shoulder blades actually, but it’s nothing I can’t adjust for next time. What I’m most thrilled about is the fact that this is a really excellent first attempt at a true TNT pattern, (No, seriously this time!!) not to mention it’s a perfectly wearable/lovable dress as is.


The driving force of this dress, aside from the gorgeous fabric, was addressing my personal comfort. I wanted to keep the front loose (to avoid aggravating my acid reflux, which often happens when garments sit right on my natural waist) but also include some kind of shaping at the back. Elastic shirring was my solution for that which, if I do choose to wear a tight belt, will keep the extra fabric nice and tidy at the back. Though I will admit, without a belt the overall effect is a bit “business in the front and party in the back” but I’m okay with that, haha!


I will most likely wear this dress with leggings which is why I kept the length pretty short (I’m wearing stockings today so I can show off the lace!). I skipped the sleeves so I can just layer, or not layer, as seasonally appropriate. And pockets! I need pockets but I’m not really a huge fan of the side seam variety so I went with front pockets instead. I’m boycotting zippers, for no reason, but wanted some buttons, simply because I like them. That’s the beauty of pretending you’re a fabric wizard! You can literally just make stuff up as the mood strikes and POOF! Dream dress in the making…


I didn’t draft this pattern from scratch (I’m kind of horrible at that), but instead borrowed parts from three or four of my favorite past makes and re-drew the pieces so they all fit together like they were meant to. This whole process was no easy feat, even though the dress looks simple enough. I lost track of the hours I spent standing at my kitchen island trying to work it all out like a jigsaw puzzle.


As I said, I went back and forth several times trying to decide which pattern to pair with this fabric, even starting to trace/cut out the tissue only to change my mind and pack it all back up. I don’t recommend trying to invent your own pattern just days before a deadline, but sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind when it feels like the right thing to do. In the end I think I found the right answer and I have a really awesome (though slightly haphazard) dress as a result. That just goes to show that not all who wander-er are lost. Har har πŸ˜‰


Well that’s enough rambling from me, check out the other awesome makers on the Wanderer Tour! (This is the reason I say yes to fabric tours. It’s so neat to see how everyone uses the same fabrics so differently!)

2/15: Nicole –
2/16: Holly –
2/17: Shannon –Β
2/18: Becca – Β
2/19: Rochelle –Β
2/20: Kate –
2/21: Amber –Β
2/22: Caroline –Β
2/23: John –Β
2/24: Maureen –Β maureencracknellhandmade
2/25: Delia –Β
2/26: Kelly –Β
2/27: Christopher –Β
2/28: Jen –

And, if you’d like to win 20 HALF YARD CUTS of April’s new collection, be sure to check out the giveaway details on her blog post, here!

Have you ever sewn with Art Gallery Fabrics before (or attempted something slightly crazy on a deadline!)?


  • Have you made up any sort of pattern for this?! I LOVE IT! How can I learn to make it! This version is my favorite!

  • Doreen Zwemer

    It is amazing how hard we can be on ourselves. Rochelle, even after you mention the issues with your creation I still cannot see the “flaws”. We are our best and worst critics. I think it is adorable and suits you well. Great color. I love the lace. I add touches of lace to so many things I create. Your dress is so versatile and feminine. Nicely done πŸ™‚

  • evilincarKnit

    Hey, I’ve been following your blog (and stalking your glasses) for years and wanted to come out from Introvertland to give you a whopping thumbs up on creating a pattern like this! I sew to a deadline all the time, and I think it really helps spur the creative process along. This dress is adorable, with a distinct and unique silhouette and is totally flattering. Well done!

    • Thank you so much! And thanks for venturing out of Introvertland, I know from experience that’s not the easiest thing to do lol πŸ˜‰ Your comment is certainly appreciated πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • I ADORE the fabric you used and the lace trim detail on the bottom. This piece is so charming!

  • jannapyj

    Even after you pointed out the upside-down print on the bodice, I looked and looked and it still looks like it was done intentionally! Call it a design element and call it good! :o) And ohmygosh that lace is beyond perfect!!!


    • A design element! Yes let’s go with that πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ Love it.

  • diane beavers

    What a cutie you are in your Wanderer “lacey” edged dress. I love the smocking (elastic thread I assume) in the back. I love that you combined 3-4 patterns …I find myself doing that too as I have so many favorites from all these “Fabric blog hops”. Thanks for inspiring me to sew more dresses:)

    • Thank you, and you’re welcome πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ and yes, I used elastic thread for the back. Wonderful stuff!

  • karen

    I, too,am new to the comments; have been reading your blog for awhile and I just had to shout out how adorable you and that dress are and love your kitty, too. The color, lace, fit- everything is perfection and I love how you’ve made it for all the seasons! Also, love how you are wearing it, here- don’t do the leggings, but I won’t take you out if you do. Ha! Now, if you created a pattern of that dress for your larger sisters, I’d be grateful for life. (I don’t do my own patterns, yet- just chicken.)

    • Oh boy, two people against leggings! Okay, okay, I guess I better not pair them with this dress then πŸ˜‰ Thank you for taking the time to stop by and say hello, I appreciate your kind words. I wish I was better at grading patterns, but alas, I have a hard enough time trying to make things fit myself! I’m not sure anyone wants me *trying* to make things fit them, too haha! πŸ˜‰

  • Sara @ Sew Sweetness

    Gorgeous! That hem is the icing on the cake and fits perfectly with the fabric…also think the buttons/belt work perfectly with the fabric too!

  • This looks beautiful and I love the colour! Well done on drafting a dress yourself – and I never would have noticed the print being upside down on the front bodice. Such a practical and fun all-season dress! You so having me want to try Art Gallery cottons now -thanks for your review!

    • Thank you so much! I think you’d absolutely love AGF. They’re perfect for people who love all the fun prints that are characteristic of quilting cotton, but want something that feels more like a garment specific fabric πŸ™‚

  • teeny

    Hi I’m sort of new here, I’ve been reading along for a little while, and just wanted to tell you that you did a great job. Love the colour choice too. I’m also a fan of dresses that I can wear in both the hot and cold months. Layering is essential to my wardrobe. Teeny.

    • Aww thanks for stopping by to say hi! I agree, layering is essential πŸ™‚

  • you friggin cutie! i love the way you’re wearing this, those boots set off the lace… if i see you in this avec leggings i might make you take them off (i am surprisingly strong).

    • Bahah! Don’t threaten me with a good time πŸ˜‰ …actually I think I’d be rather traumatized if you strong-armed me into doing anything. You’re clearly a force to be reckoned with! I’ll play it safe and just not wear leggings πŸ˜›

  • Lisette

    For a three day rush job you did fabulous! It looks marvelously comfortable and also put together. And yum to shades of mustard with lace. I need some of that lace.

    • Thank you! And yeah, the Organic Cotton Plus lace selection is straight dreamy! I will definitely be buying some more for future projects.

  • Victoria Anderson

    That turned out great! Good job! It looks real comfortable but stylish as well. I love that trim! I was looking at the fabric company’s website, that have some great prints! I’ll have to try some this summer. They have a lot of nice knits as well, I’m planning on making some knit dresses so that is good.

    • Thanks, Victoria! I’ve been browsing their knits for future projects, too! I want to make some comfy bat-wing tees for summer πŸ™‚

  • AHHHH WHAT AN ADORABLE DRESSSSSS!!!!! And damn girl you look super super cute in that color!

  • Beta

    The fabric has a gorgeous color and print. And the design of the dress is so adorable! I love the gathering at the back, it just looks so nice and pretty, with the final touch of the cute trim it’s just perfect! πŸ™‚

    Miss Beta xx

    • Thank you ever so! This is the second project I’ve used elastic shirring on, and now I kinda want to add it to everything. Soooooo comfy!

  • Color, print and lace – perfect match!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you agree! I want to sew a similar combo again soon πŸ™‚

  • Just finished a dress a few weeks ago with an Art Gallery print! Loved the feel of it in the store, didn’t really know what it was at the time, now I think I’m an addict. And to be totally honest, when I saw it in the store I immediately thought of some of your tunic/dresses and that convinced me to get it!

    • Isn’t it fantastic stuff?! It’s such a perfect Spring/Summer weight. …not that I can even remember what summer feels like under all the snow we have in NY right now lol. I’m happy to hear I could inspire you πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • Juliana Bibas

    That is an amazing garment, and the color is perfect! I really love the button front and lace detail. Add sleeves and you basically have the Factory Girl dress!!

    I’ve sewn a few things with Art Gallery (prints and solids) and I have to say, the solids are not that great, but the prints are wonderful! I made a blouse out of the Apricot Femme last summer and have another planned from a coral colored print for spring. I did try to make something from the Arizona print that you used on a blouse one time, but I kind of fell out of love with the pattern after I cut it out, so it went into the scrap heap. Oh well.

    • Aww thanks, Juliana! Excellent point about the factory dress. I think I will attempt a version with sleeves at some point. I could see how the AGF solids might seem a little underwhelming next to all their fantastic prints. …but then again, I sort of feel like ALL solid fabrics are a little underwhelming lol. Fun prints for life!

      • Juliana Bibas

        It’s not really that I dislike solids in general, but mostly that the hand of the solids is different than the prints somehow. They wrinkle terribly and unlike the prints, don’t seem to press cleanly. I’ve noticed this quality in a LOT of cotton solids I’ve worked with and it makes me crazy. I’d like to sew some solid basics, but have a hard time finding the equivalent of my beloved quilting novelty prints in solid form (although Cotton + Steel’s solids are in the running at the moment).

  • The trim, oh my word, the trim is the absolutely perfect finishing touch on this charming buttercup yellow frock. Lovely creation, sweet gal – it has spring (and summer) written all over it.

    β™₯ Jessica

    • Thank you, Sweet Jessica! xo Now if only Spring/Summer would arrive πŸ˜‰

  • Great job on another TNT! It is so stinkin cute! I too love putting shirring or elastic in the back of a dress to give shape. I usually hate yellow and I still won’t sew for myself with it but you really make it look good. I LOVE the lace at the hem too! Gorgeous!

    • Thank you! I used to think shirring was so complicated, but now that I’ve done it, it’s really pretty easy to do! Winding the bobbin by hand is the hardest part lol. I’m still trying to figure out what colors look best on me so I’m happy to hear you like the yellow πŸ™‚

  • My sister and I decided A WEEK before a baby shower that we were going to make a quilt for it. Yeah, so…. That was interesting to say the least. I haven’t sewn with AG Fabrics yet, but I have a beautiful three metres of some sitting up in my stash that I want to make into a circle skirt. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little frightened to cut into it.

    But.. Enough about me. Your dress! It looks so good! And totally didn’t notice the pattern placement on the bodice until you mentioned it. It looks fabulous with that belt too, the shirring was a great idea, and those pockets! What pattern did they come from? I’ve been wanting to explore my pocket options and those ones are super sweet!

    • Whoa, I bet a quilt in a week was brutal!! Don’t be scared to cut into the AGF. It would be so perfect for a circle skirt!

      I pulled both the Carolyn Pajama Shorts and the Sewaholic Cambie Dress patterns to look at their pocket construction for this dress. They’re a really fun type of pocket to make!!

      • Yeah, a week before wasn’t the best idea, but clearly we did a very simple design. And you’d be surprised what two sewing machines going at once can accomplish! I think I may go ahead and cut into the AGF in the spring once it is not horrible to expose any skin anymore hahaha. Also: good to know about Carolyn, I’ve just picked it up. Huzzah!

  • This seems like such a great “Rochelle right now” pattern! I love that you can do it with a belt or even more comfy without. I’ve had my eye on some AGF fabrics for awhile and now I’m thinking it might be perfect for a little vintage top. πŸ™‚

    • Bahaha “Rochelle right now” …damn you, you know me so well!!! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
      I really think you’ll love Art Gallery Fabrics, they’d be perfect for all the vintage blouses that need a finer cotton but also a bit of structure!

  • Debora McFearin

    You pull this look off beautifully, love the dress, trim everything!

  • portia lawrie

    Totally well done you. Love it. I scrapped a project I’d spent a week working on the night before a deadline and got into a bit if a panic. The following morning I got up all weirdly zen like and whipped something up in about 3 hours and met the deadline. Life is weird like that sometimes huh? Px

    • Thanks πŸ™‚ I love when those zen moments happen! It’s like your brain says “Nope, don’t do this now, I’m not in the mood. Try tomorrow and I’ll be in the zone” haha!

  • Debra Ward

    Good job doesn’t really cover how great this is! I love how the detail of the lace along the bottom mimics the detail in the fabric. I like the fabric itself and the overall design of the dress. I like how you don’t have to wear a belt if you don’t want to. I guess I’m in like!

  • Yippee! Yahoo! What a fun and pretty dress! Elastic shirring is a genius solution (I have been boycotting zippers, too) and that golden mustard colour is so pretty on you! The lace adds such a pretty touch – love it!

    • Thanks, Pretty Lady! I kind of want to use elastic shirring on EVERYTHING now. So comfy.

      • OMG, I know!! One of the reasons I made so many Washi dresses this summer was the elastic shirring. Love it!

  • April

    It was delightful to read through your process and the adventure you had making this dress!! It really looks gorgeous Rochelle!!! Thanks for being part of the tour! xo April

    • Thank YOU for making such gorgeous fabrics, and inviting me to use them! xoxo

  • You are good! There is no way that I could design a pattern, let alone draft one in a few days!

    Love the combo of lace with this fabric!

    • Thanks, Erin! And yes you totally could πŸ˜‰ You have so many more TNT patterns to pull pieces from than I do! You should try making your own modified leggings or t shirt pattern.

  • I love how comfy and functional this looks. Girly coveralls! Speaking of which, a cargo pocket or hammer loop flanking the side seam would be super cute. Since it’s a skirt, it could be a scissor loop!

    • Thank you, and YES! I love the idea of girly coveralls! A scissor loop is a genius suggestion πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • Samantha Nagtegaal

    Oh wow, your dress is stunning! I absolutely love the colour too; it’s one of my favourites. The lace and buttons finish it off perfectly, and I love your accessorising with the boots πŸ™‚ I’m really enjoying your blog and glad I found it as I’m in desperate need of motivation!

    X Sam

    • Thank you0+*/ (<—– Lucille added that part with her foot lol) I'm so happy to hear you enjoy my blog and find it motivational. That's what makes sharing my projects worth it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚