Ditsy Floral Summer Dress - Chalk & Notch Pattern Review - Orchid Midi Dress Hack

I have another review of the Chalk and Notch Orchid Midi sewing pattern. I tend to keep making patterns again and again when I find a pattern that I love the fit of and that will be functional to my wardrobe. I also often use it as a jumping off point to create my own look. 

This dress pattern has so many elements that I love, so I used it as my starting point. The "hacks" that I did on this make were as follows:
- created a regular short sleeve 
-shortened the bodice
-added a tiered gathered skirt in maxi length
-added in-seam pockets 

I am ecstatic at how this dress turned out! I love how it fits and it is a dream to wear. The fabric is 100% cotton. I love the bright red. It's a bit daring for me, as I usually wear muted earth tones, but I am branching out a bit. I am working towards a wardrobe that is all natural fibers, but also durable. I am also currently on a weightloss journey, so I am being mindful to choose silhouettes that can be forgiving size wise. This particular dress, with the functional drawstring, will continue to fit (albeit with a slightly different look) longer than a more fitted dress. 

Let's take a look at the process of making this dress:

The first step (after preparing your pattern if you haven't already put it together), is figuring out the pattern piece placement for cutting. I always make sure to wash and dry my fabric in the same way I plan to launder my garment- especially with cotton as I don't want it to shrink. I wasn't sure how much fabric I would need for this hack as I was drastically changing the skirt. I had purchased 4 yards and that was just barely enough. In fact, it wasn't quite enough because I needed to cut the sleeves cross grain, but I was ok with that. Next time I make this version I will be sure to purchase 4.5 yards. This is for a size 14 by the way. 

Once you've decided on placement, it is time to cut out your pieces! Pay attention and make sure you get everything cut properly. 

This pattern calls for a lot of gathers. On the bodice pieces, but also on the tiered skirt hack that I added. To achieve even gathers, I do two lines of basting stitches. I make sure that I am within my seam allowance, so I don't have to pick these out later. 

For this version, I decided to make the skirt first. I prepped all of the tiers by gathering and then made the front panel and back panel of the skirt. I used the skirt from the orchid pattern as a guide when creating my top tier to ensure that the waist of the skirt would line up with the bodice.

Next, I added the pockets. I used a simple pocket shape and made sure my phone fit in it. I get so frustrated not being able to fit my phone in my pockets! I attached the 4 pocket pieces to the side of each panel with right sides together. 

Next, you just sew the side seams, making sure to go around the pockets. This is a super easy way to make a pocket and I love that they are not noticeable while wearing the garment. 

On to the bodice. I made this exactly as written in the pattern. I love the construction of this bodice. The gathered yokes are a lovely detail and I love how the neckline is enclosed along the back yoke, with a bias edge along the faux wrap. The bias is sandwiched together at the shoulder, and the back yoke is understitched - it just comes out looking very polished! 

Then it is time to add the sleeves. I did a simple sleeve with a little gather at the shoulder. Once you've attached those, you can sew from the sleeve cuff all the way down the side seam of the bodice in a continuous seam. I like to take the time to hem the sleeves at this point, so that I don't have to come back to it later. 

Line up the markers along the bodice fronts and stay stitch. 

The bodice is now complete and ready to attach to the skirt! 

This pattern has an exterior casing for the drawstring, that is first attached to the skirt. Then the skirt and bodice are sewn together. I like to use a crochet hook as a turning tool. 

I also like that the drawstring is actually two fabric ties attached to elastic. It makes for a very comfortable drawstring! 

Once the bodice is attached to the skirt, and the drawstring is ready - I use a safety pin to pull it through. 

Then I trimmed all the threads, and hemmed the skirt. A lot of times, I like to hem the skirt before attaching it to the bodice. In this case though, I waited because I wasn't sure how much I would need to hem. Now that I've made this and noted I liked a 1/2" hem, I will just do that when I am making the skirt. I don't know why, but hemming is really one of my least favorite parts of garment construction. If I leave it to the very end - often times pieces will sit for days while I avoid actually finishing them. So doing it before attaching the skirt makes it easier for me to actually complete the garment! 

Check out my Etsy Store. I recently reopened my shop. If you love these dresses but don't sew, you can purchase a custom one in my shop.