Tropical birds wrap dress and Paris fabrics finds!

Vacation! Vacation! I always seem to need a holiday after each vacation. It was really tough getting myself back to my sewing projects and though my first project involved a pattern I have used not only once but twice (here and here), I was sewing with SILK crepe de chine for the first time. Yikes!

Designer Marc Jacob used this tropical bird print for a wrap dress and I liked the idea. However, I wanted a wrap dress with more design elements such as cute drape sleeves, perhaps some pleats for shaping and the oh so current asymmetrical hem. Oh wait! That sounds almost identical to my favorite wrap dress pattern from the 12/2010 issue of burdastyle magazine! All I had to do was to create my own asymmetrical hem. I am horrible at photographing hemlines I realized. The skirt has a longer back and a front with an inverted V hem.

The fabric was surprisingly tough to iron, it creases more than I had expected and I had to press it time and again before cutting. The silky component also made it harder to cut than regular woven fabrics. Sewing it was easier than expected especially for the skirt section which was lined. The lining played a role in stabilizing the main fabric, making it easier to stitch.

The sleeves again take center stage with the drapes I love.

The entire dress is finished with french seams, bias binding, facings and hem. And I added top stitching details to the back yoke to make it more interesting.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this silk version (finally). It’s a dream to wear! With versions 1 and 2 of this wrap dress being worn regularly, I am quite certain this tropical birds dress will be put to good use:) And though silk is really tougher to manipulate, I am eager to sew more with it as the buttery feel of the fabric is enough of an incentive! I will be sewing at a slower pace though since it takes more out of me. It took me less than a day to finish the cotton versions and a week to complete the silk version but I think the time spent was totally worth it.

A Short note on fabric shopping in Paris! 

My dear hubby snapped thousands of photos in Paris so please give me some time to shrink the selected ones to share my post on one of my favorite cities in the world. However, I can’t wait to share photos of my fabric buys with you!

I am so blessed to have found some absolutely lovely fabric in Paris during my family vacation and have to thank Elise for her fabric shop recommendations!  The market had many shops selling home decor  and other fabrics I wasn’t really interested in so it was important to plan which shops to visit. I only visited three with kids in tow and managed to find fabrics I love in each one of them.

My favorite find has to be this wonderful silk fabric with an irregular and vibrant splatter print from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre. I dug it out from under a huge pile of silk and couldn’t believe my luck. The soft viscose knit below is actually blue with silver stripes (which I failed to photograph accurately).

I couldn’t resist making these chiffon/ georgette fabrics mine, mine, mine either:) And I love that all these shops I visited accept credit cards unlike shops in Shanghai or some in Hong Kong. It was just so much more convenient!

Last but not least, two floral Liberty Art fabrics that called out to me at Tissus Reine which had a really good selection of Liberty tana lawn.

But, best thing about fabric shopping in Paris is that the Saint Pierre fabric market is just a few steps away from Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur.  How more convenient can it get? I wish I lived in Paris.


31 thoughts on “Tropical birds wrap dress and Paris fabrics finds!

  1. Wonderful fabrics – I love the Montmatre area for fabric and trim shopping. I just wished I had a bigger suitcase last time!! I am looking forward to seeing your creations with these fabrics.

  2. You have made good use of that pattern in three pretty and very different variations. I was just thinking today how much I miss seeing your garments! We just spent a couple days recovering from our vacation (with three little ones), and a friend reminded me today regarding trips with young children, “you aren’t on vacation, you’re making memories.” So true.

  3. Absolutely beautiful (the dress and you)! Your version in a lot prettier than the Marc Jacobs one. I would never be brave enough to sew with SILK crepe de chine perhaps I will be one day….

  4. I purchased 3 yards of this exact same fabric and I was looking for the perfect pattern for it. I really like your version! And I do own this pattern. It’s a perfect match!
    What did you used for lining and do you have any special recommendation when sewing with this fabric?

  5. Love the tropical print dress, looks fabulous, I have ordered this fabric and am awaiting delivery, I can’t wait I think its fab. Also love the Paris purchases, fabric shopping on holiday – a great pastime.

  6. Another question: It looks like you have both sleeve pleats gathering around the same area, as opposed to the pattern which has them one lower than the other. Did you modify the sleeve a lot or is this just the result of not adding the seam allowances?

  7. @Petite Josette: Thanks so much:) I used a poly/ silk blend lining fabric. The fabric really isn’t that difficult to sew but the iron is definitely a friend. Having said that, In comparison with the cottons used previously, I find this version gapping at the neckline slightly (never happened before with the other versions) when I finished the bodice so I had to make adjustments there before sewing on the skirt portion. Also, I am not sure if the instructions included interfacing the facings cos I lost the magazine and only have my traced pattern left but I find it important to interface that and the top of the skirt section (between main fabric and lining) as the snap buttons would be attached at these areas.

    On the sleeves, I didn’t make any modification to the pleats but I did lengthen the sleeves slightly so I’m guessing it’s the result of not adding the seam allowances:) Hope that’s useful info for you. Have a lovely day.

  8. Adey, that’s such a stunning dress! I love the fabric, and the subtle V of the hem. Looks lovely on you. 🙂

  9. Lovely print and great dress! Your post has got me so excited: I’m also visiting Paris in a couple of weeks and am staying in Montmartre just so I can wonder down to the fabric shops whenever I want!

  10. It’s a really beautiful dress, very “tropical chic”. You didn’t see all of the fabrics seller in Paris. I live inthis great city and it’s a perpetual tentation.

  11. Thanks for your answers and details! I just thought of one more thing: Did you pre-wash or pre-treat your fabric at all before sewing it? With the silk content I’m not sure how to treat it and I’m hoping I don’t have to rely on dry-cleaner for this one…

  12. Your dress is lovely! I wish I had known about the fabric market when I lived in Sg. Funnily enough I ordered ths exact fabric off eBay last month and guess where it was posted from???!!! Did smile when I saw a Singapore stamp – didn’t realise it was slippery stuff, though. Perhaps I’ll wait till I have got a few projects under my belt first!
    Ang x

  13. Missing you, Adey, and your most inspiring creations. It feels a little weird to admit I miss someone I don’t really know! I hope you and your family are all doing well, and that you are sewing lovely things that you are just not blogging about right now.

  14. Dear Adey, I hope all is well. Missing you as well. I came to catch up but I see you haven’t posted since July. I hope you and your family are well and you are just taking a break.

  15. Hi Adey, I just found your blog and you are such an inspiration. I’ve just started sewing for myself and have been thinking about getting a serger already – but it seems like you have been sewing for 3 years without one? How do you manage??

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