Sunday, April 21, 2019

Tencel Linen Maynard Dress

Just in time for Earth Day, I've made my first zero-waste dress: the Elbe Textiles Maynard dress!

The Maynard is described as "a contemporary wrap dress, with asymmetrical front panels and tie closures at the waist. The V neck has a folded collar at the front and extended shoulders. The back features an inverted box pleat running from neck to waist and a godet inserted within the skirt. Two patch pockets finish off the design. The fit is somewhat relaxed around the waist."

I was delighted to see that this pattern came with larger size options (up to 47" bust and 50.5" hip), as many of the zero waste clothing instructions I've seen in the past assume it's for a smaller body. I opted for a size G, which corresponded with my body measurements.

For fabric, it's important to get something with the right width for the pattern- it calls for a fabric that is 140 cm wide, which I calculated is 55" wide. If you're not super concerned about the zero-waste aspect, you can use a wider fabric, you'll just have some small strips of fabric to cut off of the edges when you're through.

Hart's Fabric hunted down some options for me and sent me this beautiful tencel and linen blend in a "butternut" colorway. This fabric is silky feeling, with great drape, a beautiful sheen, and lovely, earthy color, made from golden threads in one direction and brown-ish in the other. Hart's has other options that would likely work for the Maynard, too, including this other linen/rayon blend.

The cutting and construction of the Maynard dress is so unlike anything I've made before! It had me guessing and scratching the whole time, so it was a fun challenge.

When cutting, you don't fold the fabric selvage to selvage, but rather the other way, with the fold on the cross grain. Then you lay the pattern piece (it's one giant pattern piece), mark all of the markings, draw the lines in between pieces, and cut. For me this part took a while, because it was out of my normal comfort zone and I wanted to make sure I had all the markings visible.

The sewing is unusual, too, in that each piece is essentially fully hemmed all the way around, and then the pieces are overlapped at the edges sewn together, with ties and patch pockets added at the end. If you don't like hemming, this is not the dress for you!

The back view: turns out I am extremely bad at sewing godets. The tip is a bit of a mess; I ultimately kinda mashed it down with the iron in a rounded shape and topstitched it. You can also see I am going to have to play around with the pleat at the back neck, because I have a lot of excess fabric back there. I may have to add some darts in to pull in those extra flaps along the neckline.

Also: I don't know how I managed it, but when I first tried on the dress I had one of the ties sewn into the armpit. Let's call it user error and move on! On the subject of armpits, I found that the armholes ended a little bit low on me (this is a common problem I have), so I stitched them up another inch.

I'll be honest with you: I'm not sure I'm enamored with either the style or color of this dress on me. In theory I like both, but in practice, they're just not quite right on me. The butternut color is washing me out a bit and the dress not sitting quite right on my body, with the waist being a bit low, the pleats pulling strangely and the collar drooping a bit. I'm not upset, though, that it's not my favorite dress. I had fun making it and it was definitely a fun challenge since the construction methods are so unique!