Swaying palms: Vogue 9021 dress and a bonus Style Arc Skye top

Sunday, 15 April 2018
Here we are mid April and Sydney is still having very hot days in the mid 30s. The upside of this very prolonged summer is that I got another wear out of this dress very tropical palm print dress that I made over a month ago. It has been extremely windy the past few days though, hence the inside shots for this blog post.

palm print dress

This is Vogue 9021, a very easy Vogue pattern that is still for sale even though it was released a few years ago now. And true to its label it is indeed a very easy dress to sew since it has very simple lines and there's not much to it really except for those sleeves! I bought this on sale at one of Spotlight's fantastic $5 Vogue pattern sales late last year.
If you google this pattern you'll see that many ladies have made a version of this but I was particularly inspired to make this pattern by this very elegant navy version over at He Cooks She Sews! and this very pretty floral version by Gabrielle at Up Sew Late. I had been searching for some navy blue crepe to make this dress, but I ended up using a very colourful palm print cotton sateen I purchased from Gardams Fabrics in Brisbane at the beginning of this year so in a way I was very influenced by both versions.

As I said, those sleeves are the stand out feature of this pattern and the extreme batwing / fluttery shape really caught my eye.

batwing palm print dress

I usually treat patterns that only have illustrations on the envelope and not photos of the actual garment with extreme suspicion and this one proves my cynicism correct - those sleeves may look lovely but as loads of people have pointed out they pretty much give a direct view to your entire torso if you lift your arms even slighlty:

This is pretty obvious though when you look at the technical drawing of the pattern - those sleeves are open to just a few centimetres above the waistline:

I tried to think of a clever solution, such as making a gusset from the dress fabric that would be sewn from the front darts around the side to the back darts, or perhaps a camisole style top to be an under layer and also attached to the waistline. But it's been too hot to think in these parts and certainly too hot to wear more layers of fabric than necessary so I just did what everyone else had done and sewed up the side seam a little higher until it was decent.

Sewing the side seams up higher does change the look and the way the sleeves fall though. In the photo below, you can see how the sleeve on my left side where I've pinned the side seam up to my bra strap looks more like a traditional sleeve than my right shoulder where it seems the fabric is just draped around my shoulders.

But it was a change I had to live with if I didn't want every one to see not just my bra but my blindingly white midriff as well, and really the change is probably subtle anyway.

batwing dress

Once the sleeves were resolved, the rest of the pattern is very simple and easy to sew. The back skirt has a split along the centre back seam which isn't my favoured treatment because it has the tendency to tear open but when I was cutting out the pattern I forgot to add extra width there to make a vent so I was stuck with it. The dress is not too tight though, so it should be ok.

palm print batwing dress

palm print batwing dress

Even though this dress used a lot of fabric because of those extremely wide sleeves, I had some leftover fabric that I managed to eke out a Style Arc Skye top. This is my go to pattern for a simple top because it doesn't use much fabric and is very quick to sew. I think this might be my fourth or fifth version.

palm print top

palm print top

Whilst it's still very striking in this fabric, it's a bit more versatile than the dress because it looks great when worn with pants or jeans.

palm print top

I'm pretty happy that I finally found the right fabric to make this dress, and that I made the most of the beautiful fabric. Gotta love it when things just work out just the way you want them to!

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