Peacock Dress

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I really like long jersey dresses. They’re so comfortable, especially when they’re made from soft bamboo-lycra like this one. They’re my favorite clothes to travel with – they don’t wrinkle and can be dressy or casual depending on your shoes and jewelry. So when I found this wonderful soft fabric, I knew exactly what to do with it.

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I found the black first, and began imagining this dress, with the braided back and a long skirt. But there was only a yard a half of the fabric, not nearly enough for a floor length dress. Fortunately, the same fabric came in peacock blue, so I got the extra yardage in that. I made a fitted knee length dress in the black, cut the skirt on the diagonal, and added a half circle of the blue at the bottom. There’s a pocket at the top of the long side seam of the blue section of the skirt. It’s in a sort of awkward place, down by my knee, but it’s important for a dress to have a pocket, and it would look weird and lumpy higher up in the fitted black skirt. It takes a bit of leaning over and a bit of lifting the dress up to get to (see top photo, where I have my fingers in the pocket), but it works pretty well as a place to keep my phone.

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The most fun part of making this dress was figuring out the braided back. It starts as a six strand braid, which splits into two ordinary braids. You could do this by doubling the six pieces at the bottom into a thick ordinary three stranded braid, but I wove each piece separately, like in a braided friendship bracelet. I cut long, inch wide strips of the black fabric, and pulled them so the edges curled in. I sewed the base together and taped it to the table so I could braid, braided up 4″ (it stretched later…), then split for the straps.

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One problem with a long jersey dress is that the weight of the skirt stretches out the top part of the dress, especially the straps. This has made for a much lower neckline than I’d intended. If you’re making a dress like this, I recommend just tacking down the straps to begin with, and then adjusting them when the whole dress is assembled. I’ll probably go back and shorten the straps before I wear this out.

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