The Orchid Midi Dress by Chalk and Notch

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I was having a hard time getting around to sewing for a few weeks and I wanted to change that because I really did have several thing I wanted to make. I realized that I was having a hard time finding the time to prep my projects-buying and printing the pattern, taping the pattern together, and cutting out my fabric. That was my big hang up. So I decided that I’d spend an entire week using all my extra time doing those things.

And that’s exactly what I did. I printed. I taped. I cut. And then I had a beautiful stack of projects just waiting to be sewn.

And it was glorious. I was able to sew up 4 different garments in under 2 weeks. I know for some people, that’s nothing. But for me that’s a high output! Even nicer is that everything has turned out great and I’ve been enjoying wearing them all.

My most recently made of the stack is this Orchid Midi dress.

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I bought the fabric from LA Finch Fabrics several months ago without having a plan for it. They were having a sale (they seriously have THE BEST sales) and this fabric was only $5 a yard. I ordered 2 yards and luckily they sent me a very generous 2 yards because otherwise I don’t think I could have made this dress happen.

After the fabric sat in my stash for awhile, I felt like it was destined to become an Orchid Midi. The dress is just so classic and elegant and effortless. It has really beautiful details. Then, in the midst of my prep week, Chalk and Notch announced a sale on the Orchid dress. The stars aligned, I bought the pattern and here we are 😉

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Like I said, it was a huge stretch cutting out all my pieces for this dress with the amount of fabric I had. I barely fit it all. But, I did cut out the pockets using this fabric so if things had been tighter I could have sacrificed those. There were quite a lot of pattern pieces too (I think about 20?), which is something to note. I currently print all my patterns on our home computer and on regular printer paper…but I’ve been tempted to switch to printed patterns or to using an online pattern printing source. I don’t mind taping patterns together but some patterns use so. much. paper. And things get a little ridiculous.

Anyhow…

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For one of the first times in my life (sorrrry), I was very careful about measuring myself against the actual pattern before I cut into my fabric. So I measured the bodice against mine to make sure it would be hitting right at my natural waist. My shortness can apparently be attributed to my legs because I almost never have to remove length from the bodice of things (and this was no different: no adjustments made to the bodice). I also measured dress length and sleeve length. I took off some length from the skirt, as well as adjusted the height of the slit (I didn’t want my slit to go above the knee). The dress has 2 views, which is, essentially, 2 different sleeve options. As much as I love the ruffle sleeve, I wanted this one to be long sleeve. Since the fabric is so lightweight, I’m hoping it’ll serve me even through the summer (yes, we’re in Arizona, but it doesn’t get quite so hot here up in the mountains). For sizing, I went with a size 6 though the bust and graded to a 10 in the waist. I don’t think that was totally necessary, since there’s quite a bit of ease in the waist that you can adjust with the waist ties. Next time, if I chose to grade, I think I would just grade to an 8 since I think there’s a tiny bit of gaping where the bodice meets the waist (there’s no flashing involved in the gaping, just the fabric from the other side of the bodice).

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Sewing this dress was so fun. Sometimes my sewing projects are so quick and easy. They take hardly any time at all and I barely have to glance at the instructions. This dress was different. I took my time and was careful and I read (and followed) all the instructions. I’ve talked about Chalk and Notch patterns before and the more patterns I sew from them, the more impressed I am with them! Everything is explained so thoroughly and finished so professionally. The patterns always include details that are seamlessly incorporated and much appreciated. Some of them aren’t noticeable to others but huge hits for me! Some of my faves are the roomy pockets and the fact that the waist tie has elastic at the back for more comfort and easier movement.

For me, the trickiest part in sewing was sewing the yoke at the shoulder to encase the seam. I had to read the instructions a few time and then fiddle with it to finally figure how it was going to work (and then to actually sew it), but it did result in a beautiful hidden seam. Other than that, I didn’t come across anything too tricky. But, like I mentioned above, it had more steps and took a bit more time because it’s a more detailed look.

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Luckily, my new Tieks matched the fabric perfectly. A few weeks ago, I was about to cut out some masks when I happened across the Tieks #sewtogether challenge on Pinterest, and I thought, “Sure, why not?” Basically, you sew masks, submit photos and get a gift card. Tieks are incredibly expensive in my book, but I’ve always wanted to try them so I thought that getting $100 off would be a good way to give them a try. I’ll try to remember to update you guys later as to whether I love them or not. So far the packaging was super cute, they seem very high quality, and they’re pretty comfortable. I’m hoping they can stand up to some serious walking for a cute travel shoe…time will tell…As of the time of me writing this, the challenge is still going on and you can find out more about it here.

Anyway, the dress was a great project for me and I think it’s going to be something I wear often. I love the fabric-both the print and the feel of it-and the dress is incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. I might add a snap to the bodice so that I don’t have to wear an undershirt, but for now I’m just appreciating it as is.

Pattern: Chalk and Notch Orchid Midi dress, view B
Size: 6 in bodice, graded to 10 in waist
Adjustments: Removing some length from the skirt and adjusting the slit
Fabric: Famous Maker Rayon Voile from La Finch Fabrics
Cost: Pattern is normally $14, I got it on sale for $11. Fabric was $10 for 2 yards. Elastic, thread and interfacing in stash. Total: $21
Would I make this pattern again: Yes! I’d love it in a solid color to appreciate all the details (they’re a little hard to pick up on with the print). I’ve also seen some really cute hacks and the pattern was specifically drafted to fit with the Parasol trousers to make a great jumpsuit.

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