For years, one of my favorite fall dresses has been a vintage plaid flannel sheath dress I picked up at a flea market. It has that cozy, vintage twin peaks vibe that I love.
This fall, I wanted to make another plaid dress, but this one with that classic full skirt 50s shape. When we started working on Rue, I was pretty excited. Those waist panels are just screaming for a fabric that lets you play with direction.
Finding the fabric
At first, I thought I might go for a brighter plaid, maybe something in red! I was really inspired by this dress worn by Nora on Instagram (doesn’t she look amazing?).
When it came time to actually buy fabric, all I could think when I looked at all the red plaid fabrics was “christmas.” I looked at some other brightly colored plaids, but in the end I went with something more versatile and closer to my original inspiration: A blue/green black watch plaid.
The fabric is just a basic flannel shirting. Flannel works pretty well for this dress because it’s fully lined, so you don’t have to worry about the static and clinging so much.
The only thing to watch out for is that flannel tends to be pretty loosely woven, and you can get a LOT of stretching. Be sure to staystitch meticulously as the pattern instructs, and try on your dress as you go to see if you need any adjustments.
My changes and details
Here are the details and personalizations I made:
- Matching plaids: I bought extra fabric (4 yards for a size 4) so that I could match stripes. Cutting is a bit of a pain with flannel because it does tend to shift. I cut the pieces on a single layer so I could make sure everything would line up.
- Bias panels: I cut the waist panels on the bias, which I definitely recommend if you’re sewing with a plaid! To give them more stability so they don’t stretch and sag, I interfaced both panels with lightweight knit interfacing.
- Piping: I made my own piping to emphasize the pretty seamlines and applied it at the bodice seams, waist seam, and sleeve edges.
- Bust adjustment: I’m currently somewhere between a size 2 and size 4, but my cup size is 32D, so I decided to do a slight FBA on this one. If you want to see how this is done, you should definitely join the upcoming sewalong! Katie’s going to walk through bust adjustments with you.
- Other small adjustments. Because this fabric stretched out SO much, I did have to take the dress in a little as I was assembling it, making some adjustments here and there to make it a little smaller where needed.
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