New dress: Chalk & Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle September

I think just about everyone doing #sewmystyle 2018 was looking forward to this one a lot, or at least I’ve been getting that impression. I’ve had this dress on my radar for ages and it was certainly one of the patterns I was most excited about from the start. And with good cause! Let me completely spoil the story here by saying that I really like both the pattern and fabric and can recommend it! Also, in comparison to my last few makes, I feel like I got the fitting on this one spot on!

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This is the Fringe dress from Chalk and Notch – a dress that’s been very popular around the blogosphere. There are two illustrated views, but lots of options: there’s both a dress and blouse for a start. View A has a button up front, elbow sleeve and sleeve tab. View B has a pull over, notched front with a cuff. There are optional pockets, waist ties, a shaped hem and a gathered skirt. Now, normally I would be View A all the way. The V-shaped neck, the tabs – I’d probably have straightened off the hem too. And I may well do in another version, but something unexplained swayed me over to View B on this occasion. I’m not sure why, but I decided to take on the curvy neckline and hem – and I rather enjoyed it!

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After my sizing dilemma with the Vogue dress I made a couple of weeks ago, I studied the sizing chart closely to figure out what to do. The idea is that the bodice is more fitted and the waist and hips of the Fringe dress more loose and flowing – which is fine by me! So I decided to use my high bust measurement (39″) and make the 14, with a FBA. The finished garment bust measurement is 43″ and I appear to have gone down to 42″ in full bust recently, so I swithered as to whether I still needed to make an adjustment. This is where it can get confusing for me sometimes. But I figured 43″ would only give me one inch of ease and I suppose I should have at least two, so I decided on a 1″ FBA in the end.

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The second issue occurred when I looked at the pattern piece and realized there were no bust darts – only waist darts. Hmm. What to do? I found a tutorial on the Helen’s Closet website about performing an FBA on a dartless bodice and decided to give that a shottie. I got about halfway through – doing the slash and spread part, and then sort of lost impetus and decided just to go with what I had at that point. Obviously not the best idea in the world, but it seemed to work! I did also lower the bust point apex as you can see with my redrawn pink dart (the blue being the original).

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After making the fitting decision I got into cutting the fabric and reminded myself, once again, how well-behaved and high-quality Cotton and Steel fabric is. This rayon challis from the Wonderland collection from Rifle Paper Co. is so easy to work with, it was an absolute joy. It feels wonderful and cool on – and is light as a feather. Such a pleasure.

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Anyway, the construction was really very straightforward and the instructions from Chalk and Notch are concise, but very complete, with good illustrations. The neckline is finished with a complete facing and this was the place where I took it rather slow and with extra care, to make sure I got a neat finish. It was worth some additional time, and particularly since this is a pretty fast sew overall. If you omitted pockets, it would be a really fast sew I would guess – but I need pockets where I can get them. Oh yes. I am Team Pockets, so I am.

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I did realise I forgot to lengthen the facing to match the resultant effect of the FBA, which lengthens the body slightly. Unfortunately, I realised rather too late, so simply finished the end with the serger and sewed it down at the same time as the rest of the facing. It really didn’t make much difference to the finished product, but there you are.

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One other thing I will mention is that if you’re in my boat and plan on a smaller size with an FBA, you may wish to add a closure of some sort. This is a pull-on style of dress, but with a slightly more padded bra the day I took pics, I just barely squeezed the waist of the dress over me boobs. Any more of a differential and it would have been a potentially seam-popping moment.

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All in all – I really like it and there’s not a whole lot else to say. It’s quick to make, easy to wear and I really like the drafting. It’s semi-casual and can be dressed up or down, depending on fabric and styling. I’m very interested in making the other version and I can see it being quite a staple in my wardrobe. Well played, Chalk and Notch, well played!

PS. I know some of these photos are ridiculous, but I hate posing, so I had to post some of them! Enjoy.

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19 thoughts on “New dress: Chalk & Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle September

  1. I really love your version. I have the pattern and tried a toile earlier in the year but I used cheap very slippery fabric and things did not go according to plan and I put it to one side. I took it out again recently with intention of making a toile in Calico.

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    1. Thank you Lisa! You know, I have done exactly the same thing! The first thing I ever made with rayon challis was a fabric that had a really cool pattern but was a bit cheaper and it was so HARD to work with. It really put me off and then I happened to use some Cotton and Steel rayon for something and wow, what a world of difference. Good luck with your toile – I’m sure your dress will work out great!!

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  2. Claire, what a gorgeous dress! We are similar measurements up top and I LOVE seeing this pattern on you! I have adored this neckline view from afar, but didn’t know if it would work. How much length did you end up adding to the bodice? I have recently made the Catalina dress from Blank slate (which I think is a similar bodice) and even with the slash and spread fba, I added another inch, which is more comfortable. Does this pattern have elastic in the waist? I will be making the Fringe dress ASAP!!!!

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    1. Linda – I totally apologise for not replying to you sooner. I am all crazy with Seattle Frocktails and other stuff and totally meant to already. Firstly, thanks so much! I’m glad you like it! I was in the same boat as you with the neckline, but I’m pleasantly surprised. I saw your Catalina dress on IG and it is sooooo nice. It’s on my list now too! 😀 To answer your questions on the Fringe, the FBA added about 3/4 of an inch and it was enough actually! I didn’t add anything other than that. There is no elastic in the waist, but the FBA also adds a little there of course and it’s nice and comfy. It skims, but is not too clingy. Hope that helps!

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      1. Not a problem at all Claire! I have printed it the Fringe out, i will hopefully get to work on it this weekend, but my teenager `desperately’ needs some Hudsons’! I have made 3 Catalina’s already, its a style that is so easy to wear to work and great for the warm Autumn, I am hoping they will be good for layering. Thanks for your response 🙂

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