Monday, May 18, 2015

Pattern Tutorial: Fantasia Dress Variation

Fantasia Variation - how to go from the Opera to the Office

I love the Fantasia dress pattern with a fitted bodice and flared high-low skirt- words like formal, feminine, cultured, clean, classic and bridal come to mind. All my designs are fairly girly- but recently I had to rethink that concept when I approached a wholesale fabric vendor from the International Textiles Expo who was interested in collaboration. She was to send me fabrics for a blouse and skirt from my pattern collection and we would represent each other at the fashion show and market. I love teaming up!

Then the fabrics came -- a pinstriped navy and blue/gray suiting. The tweed, as our vendor called it (it's not an obvious tweed weave) was soft and thick with the right amount of body and the shirting was crisp and tightly woven. They washed up beautifully and high quality fabrics are always a dream to work with, was a little on the "manly" side. Hmmm. Would this work for a girly twirly skirt? I looked at my patterns and nothing seemed quite right until finally the thought came to me: combine these two fabrics with the Fantasia dress, then complete the look with the Victory Jacket and voila! I've got the suit style that this fabric needs. This outfit has a definite 1940s vibe, and made for fall, this combination will definitely be one of my season favorites.

I chose the low-calf length, view B, but for a formal event, the longer length (view A) would look fabulous too. For this blouse and skirt look-a-like, I used the tweed for the skirt and jacket and the contrasting navy fabric for the dress bodice. It looks like a skirt and blouse, and because it won't come un-tucked, it wears even better!
The fabric completely changed the look of Fantasia and is an easy way to move into the look of a suit without all the typical tailoring. When cutting out the pattern, I simply used the navy pinstripe for the bodice and sleeve pieces and tweed for everything else.

I decided to switch out the cap sleeve for a longer length. I used the sleeve from Beatrice and shortened it to just above the elbow, which is about 6-6 1/2" from the underarm, finished. Rather than using the sleeve facing, I turned up the bottom 1" and did a blind hem on the sleeve (the alteration means the facing wouldn't fit anymore anyway!). Other than that, the dress has no other variation.

The gray tweed was used for the skirt section, and to transition the two fabrics, I added in a 2" wide covered belt.

To make the belt, follow the tutorial I did for the Sew Mama Sew blog called "Made to Match." Find that tutorial here:

To further separate the identities of the top and bottom, I finished the skirt seams  by pressing open, turning under 1/4", and top stitching through all layers about 3/8" to the right and left of every vertical seam. The bodice seams were serged. See the next photos for a view of the skirt seam.
These pictures shows the "V" detail in the skirt "train" where it attaches at center back.

This photo shows the inside finish of the skirt seams turned under and stitched. To emphasize the lovely flares and help  it keep structure under the weight of this suiting fabric, I tucked a 1/2" wide horsehair braid down into that hem allowance and topstitched everything into place in one step.

The Victory Jacket was made as is outlined in the instruction booklet with only one variation...

I turned back the front from the side of the neck, parallel to center front and tacked it with a flat 5/8" covered button.
This dress is soft and comfortable to wear and oh so pretty. What do you think of the new Fantasia suit look?
Buy the Fantasia pattern here:
Buy the Victory Jacket pattern here:

Have a great sewing day!


  1. This is amazing and stunning!

  2. What a fabulous outfit - and so cleverly/ creatively adapted! I *love* the detailing of the jacket lapel, too. I am sure that the fabric representatives must be delighted to have their textiles so beautifully showcased. Congratulations - it's a really wonderful collaboration!

    1. Your kindness is heartwarming! Thank you. If my challenge has inspired you then I've met my goal.

  3. It looks fantastic! Both of those patterns are on my wish list. It is amazing what can be done with just a few modifications. I enjoy see your creativity, it is so inspiring!


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