A Chartreuse Ramie Dress for Summer

As we have been enjoying a bout of fantastically sunny weather here in the UK lately, my most recent make is actually quite perfectly timed. Here I introduce a full length ramie dress I made using a vintage Bestway sewing pattern.

Yellow has always been my favourite colour. Whilst engaged in the activity of painting as a young child, I remember declaring that one of my sister’s paintings was simply not complete – as it didn’t contain any yellow. This love of yellow has only grown over time, so of course it is only natural that I have incorporated this sunny hue into my me-made wardrobe.

I have always found the shade uplifting, however over the past few months it is as if my brain were literally craving it. A glance at my sewing stash and recent fabric purchases confirmed this – from canary to mustard, patterned to plain, nearly every fabric purchase of late has been on the yellow scale.

This chartreuse ramie was of course no exception. The shade can change depending on which colours it is teamed with. In these pictures the fabric takes on a more yellow tone, whereas teamed with greens and blues the lime tones of the material prevail.

The sewing pattern I used.

As I have felt I just cannot get enough of yellow at the moment, I decided to make a full length dress – thereby enveloping my entire body in the tone! I found this fantastic pattern on Etsy, and even though it is intended to be a housecoat (or hostess gown/indoor gown), I thought it would be perfect for a summer dress. I particularly loved the rows of gathering at the centre back skirt, and the skirt itself is very full – giving a lovely swishy effect when worn.

I intended to alter the sleeves, but I decided to make them up as per the pattern, and I really like them. I thought they may be an odd length, but on reflection I like that my arms are covered as it will provide protection from the sun.

The pattern instructions were a bit on the minimal side, so I added a few details/construction techniques that were not included or mentioned, such as:

  • Interfacing the front facing pieces and the CF skirt pieces (I was quite surprised the pattern didn’t mention this, as it is a fundamental part of the construction process. But perhaps because it is such a common step in garment construction, maybe that is why it wasn’t mentioned. Often vintage patterns rely on the assumption of prior sewing knowledge)
  • Re-enforcing the rows of gathering stitches on the inside of the skirt by stitching rayon tape in rows over the stitching
  • Adding self made tread loops at the waistline for the belt
  • Making aforementioned belt (which I had to piece together at the centre back as I didn’t have enough fabric to cut it in one)
  • Only making one pocket – I did cut two, but I thought the dress looked better with just one
  • Inserting shoulder pads, which I covered with the ramie fabric.

I am really pleased with how this dress turned out. I feel like it will be so versatile – I can wear it with all the buttons fastened, or slightly open, or even over the top of another dress either fully open or just fastened to the waist. The ramie fabric was great to work with, and behaved much the same way as linen.

I think the most time-consuming part of making this dress, was of course the button and buttonholes. I had the buttons covered by Harlequin, and I took a bit of a guess at the size. Ideally, I would perhaps have liked them to be a smidgen bigger, but overall I think they work well.

Details

As most of my sewing has been and will be in yellow tones, I changed all four of my overlocking spools to – you guessed it – yellow! It is so satisfying to see matching overlocking thread on the inside of my dress, it really gives a professional touch. I’m not sure that I would go out and buy four spools of overlocking thread to match every sewing project, but certainly for some makes the joy of tonal overlocking tread outweighs the headache of changing the thread.

A note on the photos – I know these pictures look totally planned or staged. But in fact, Kieren and I were just driving over to meet a friend, and we passed this field, which happened to be in a safe place to stop and take a few quick snaps. I’m sure that if we had been actively searching for this kind of setting, we wouldn’t have been able to find it!

Until next time dears – and hopefully I won’t leave it as long until the next time we chat!

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18 thoughts on “A Chartreuse Ramie Dress for Summer

  1. PsychicSewerKathleen says:

    Beautiful dress in such a perfect setting! A feast for the eyes ๐Ÿ™‚ Really I do love this dress – you would probably enjoy perusing the patterns at Decades of Style – they have a modern version of a dress much like this one.

  2. Marilyn says:

    That dress is gorgeous. The color is perfect for the season. You did such a great job.
    Marilyn

  3. Helen Aldred says:

    Lovely dress. I love the back waist detail and the way it falls from the gathers. Really nice work.

  4. Jessica says:

    This is so beautiful! The color of this dress is really stunning, and I love all the gorgeous details that it has – the squared off collar, the gathering in the back. Although sometimes in the summer all I want to do is be as naked as possible, it can be really nice to wear something light and loose and long sleeved and not have to worry about the sun! I love the styling choices as well, and, of course, the beautiful field of flowers. Simply dreamy.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Just lovely, Jenny! On first look I thought you’d found a lovely vintage dress in great shape. Congratulations on this very successful project.

  6. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you! I love Decades of Style patterns, I have made their 1920s Kimono jacket, and also intend to make their 1930s matinee blouse (at some point in the future!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Helen, the back gathers and the length of the gown make me feel like I am a duchess or a historical woman of note! It is a really great dress to glide around in, and I love how the fabric falls as I am walking down steps or stairs, so elegant. xx

  8. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Jessica, thank you so much! I burn so easily and quickly in the sun, that I usually try to keep at least my upper arms covered. Also, even though I apply plenty of sunscreen and will ALWAYS use it, it does feel rather sticky on my skin. Given the choice, I would much rather wear a layer of clothing than sunscreen! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  9. Jenny Frances says:

    I couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled across this field! It does make me chuckle, as I know these pictures look as if I spent ages looking for locations, planning etc – when in reality I was just driving along and ta-da! Perfect backdrop. That happens so rarely, that I feel I have to celebrate it for a little while longer, ha ha! xx

  10. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Emily, thank you so much! Yellow is a colour that seems to divide many people, in fact, most people I know really don’t like it. But I just ADORE it! I am fully embracing my yellow phase at the moment! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  11. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Kathleen, oh thank you so much! And to hear that you thought the dress was original is a complement of the highest order! Thank you so much again xxx

  12. Emily Kitsch says:

    It’s odd that so many people don’t like it, it’s a really nice colour – maybe they hate sunshine. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lol.

    I used to think I couldn’t wear yellow because of my skin tone (which can sometimes tend to look a little on the yellow side itself) but since wearing yellow on my wedding day years back and loving it, I’ve been to give it a try again! Thank you for giving me so much lovely yellow outfit inspiration! ๐Ÿ™‚

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