This is my new favorite dress.
Like... I really love it. Well, most things about it. This was a learning piece!
I created this dress from scratch without using a pattern. I draped some test fabric onto my dress form to get the skirt portion sized correctly, then I just went for it and used the real fabric to do the bodice and sleeve details. I took my skirt muslin, cut it out of fashion fabric a bit shorter, then added the flounce.
All the sleeve/strap things are is bias tape with a ruffle on it. I was inspired by a real 1930s gown sewing pattern that had bigger ruffles, but wanted to make it possible to tuck the ruffles into a sweater sleeve for office wear.
Everything is cut on the bias in typical 30s style. I've been loving the 30s garden party dresses, and the large floral print of this fabric seemed to coordinate nicely with that idea.
Speaking of the fabric, it's from Zanzibar in Tanzania! I got two panels of kanga cloth, and the proverb on this one (that I managed to place on the front of the skirt flounce) is, according to Google translate, something along the lines of, "If you disrespect your mother you'll be cursed." (Anyone with better Swahili skills can correct me if need be!)
My mother, being the buyer of the fabric for me, was obviously in agreement with the proverb.
I used about a panel and a half of the kanga to make this dress. Next, I lined it in some thrifted fabric. Admittedly, the lining is strange since it needed to mimic the shape of the dress but still remain unseen with the unusual neckline and sleeve arrangement. I'm not totally happy with how it turned out... but it's on the inside, and honey badger don't care.
I also wore it again to a recent church event, but this time with a giant bow headwrap that works for both African AND vintage styles!
shoes: Kmart, several years ago
hat: hand-me-down from my sister
bracelet and earrings: Kenya