Finished Object: Leaflace Dress

We took some photos of Leaflace today.  I made the pattern myself, strove to cut artfully, and learned a few things.

I do apologize for posting the images without the numbers.

This one is McCall’s 3220.  I like to leaf through google images for inspiration, but the drafts are my own.  This one has the superficial elements I used, but not the same cut.  This is a gored skirt with a dropped waist and pointed basque.  I prefer dropped waists on me only over a girdle, but I try not to make too many clothes I can only wear with certain underwear.

I don’t know the number for this dress.  I think it’s a 50’s Simplicity, maybe someone else would know?  It’s also on this flickr stream.  Colorkitten!  Where are you?

I made the facings out of black linen scraps from a previous project.  I sewed the facings on “inside out” after carefully turning under and pressing the outer edge, like the shorts in my last post.  I like back interest, so made a notch at the center back neck.

I wanted to emulate the basic shape of a 4-leaf clover skirt like Charles James.  Vastly simplified for day wear.  I had a skirt in the past with a squared-off waistline and circle skirt that hung in a similar way, so I thought I’d play with the idea.

I always take pinking shears to enclosed seams, taking off at least half of the seam allowance.  It blends well and reduces bulk.

I used black bias tape around the hem after trimming the skirt to the right length.  My binding foot makes it a quick and clean process.

The cut of the skirt isn’t quite right, but I can see where to improve and this one doesn’t bother me much.  I could unpick, trim and remake the waist seam, but until I do it’s wearable.

I like it, too.

The construction was reasonably straight forward to someone who sews vintage-type dresses.  I wonder if any accomplished sewists out there would like to try a little drafting experiment with me?  Drop me an email if you’re curious and would want to make a dress for yourself (with a fine-tuned skirt) like this.


  1. Beautiful! The black trim makes the style look more contemporary I think. And I especially like the triangle on the back of the neck.

  2. In the name of science? Hmmm, I'm intrigued. Not sure I fit in to the accomplished category, though. Definitely don't know much about vintage dresses.I do love the print on this dress.

  3. This looks lovely!Now you've got me cogitating on clover-shaped skirts… I'm thinking a straighter waistband, so the shortest bit is at the seam… The bias stretch would actually be your friend… I would want it somewhat exaggerated, though, so it didn't look just like I couldn't be bothered to even out my hem. And finished with something substantial like horsehair braid… Hmmm…Also, I love that little back notch. And the drop-waist of the inspiration photo…

  4. I doubt this was your intention, but the skirt part almost looks like…very wide-legged shorts or something in some of those photos. I think there's an actual name for them, but I can't think of it. I actually really like the effect. I don't know, it just looks neat. The dress itself is gorgeous, as usual. I really like the black trim on a light fabric, which I usually shy away from. The back notch is an interesting detail, too. :)

  5. Thanks everyone for the lovely words. :)Heather– Culottes… Or guachos or whatever. I think it's kind of cool, which is why I probably won't "fix" this dress, but learn from it.Taran– Have we started another game of drafting ping-pong? That's always good fun, I like seeing what you do with different ideas.

  6. I like this dress on you. But then, I am a sucker for leaf prints — my town is named Pleasant Garden. I tend to decorate with leaf shapes, as well as wear them.

  7. You've been busy lately! Lots of nice new things :) I keep going to comment but get sidetracked.To me the CJ skirt looks like it has the flare concentrated where a princess seam normally would lie. So the waistline would appear U-shaped rather than V-shaped. Try it out on a scrap – or Lila!

  8. Beautiful dress, love the contrast of black with the print of the fabric, it's a dramatic touch to break the continuity. You are so talented

  9. Beautiful dress! Nice work on the drafting and the interesting details.I've often thought of making my own patterns to knock off some vintage styles – to avoid having to mess with old pattern sheets and unpredictable fit. (But I often think about doing too many things!)I'm intrigued by your drafting experiment. What are you thinking of?

  10. Love the dress Steph! Such a shame the detail in the fabric doesn't show up that much in the photos. I really love how you finished the hem with your binding foot and the contrast 'collar' and armhole finishes. It is such a delightful dress!

  11. Joy, I'll send you an email tonight about the project… :) I think it would be really cool to work with you.DiDee May– Thanks. It's hard to capture a garment in photos the same as it shows in person, sometimes it's quite a different garment. I didn't know you had a blog, you sly thing! I know the latest addition to my blogroll… :)

  12. I am a huge fan of black and white, so you won me over from first glance. Love the contrast neckband and the drape of the skirt is sensational.

  13. Ooooh…I love it! I want one! Now I'm regretting de-stashing the black and white floral voile I had. Maybe I should find something else to de-stash instead. You are a bad influence!

  14. What a lovely dress! Now I understand the inside-out facings, and I think they're an ingenious detail. The skirt with the square waistseam is very intriguing. You mention you might tweak it a little bit; How would you alter it? I could see maybe rounding the corner a little bit to make sewing easier, but that would not affect drape, right? I'm not sure how the original clovershape was realised, apart from lots of supporting structure. Perhaps a trapeziod shape with a rounded bottom would work as well for a petal? Interesting puzzle.

  15. I think the shape could be translated into a lighter daywear version… For this skirt, I would round out the waist edge of the skirt to make it more of a regular circle shape, which would get rid of the funny "culotte drape"- though I don't think I'm going to bother.. :)

  16. Gorgeous dress! I'm currently researching & dreaming about making my own vintage inspired clothing, and love finding new blogs where people are doing just that. Very inspiring :)

  17. In case you haven't already discovered it, the second pattern pictured is Simplicity 3561. I've always called the "Nancy Drew" Dress due to the posture of the girl in orange.

  18. Pingback: Design Inspiration: Fine Batik Cotton and 50′s Halter Dresses « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  19. Pingback: Pictutorial: Making a Cummerbund Belt « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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