• Nicole Chen

Floral Linen Dress with Flounces

I'm back with my third and final make as a Mood Sewing Network Blogger! I was inspired by Zimmermann's Resort 2021 Collection with its fun and flirty colors and silhouettes and wanted to put my own spin on them. I decided on a sleeveless mini dress with flounces that frame the round neckline, finished with a full circle skirt.

What You Need:

  1. Outer Fabric: Mood Fabrics Tilted Pink Orchid and White Alyssum Printed Linen Woven (SKU: 327309)

  2. Lining Fabric: White Cotton Voile

  3. Horsehair Braid (Soft 1-inch version)

  4. Invisible Zipper

For this project, I wanted to challenge myself to work with Horsehair Braid. Horsehair Braid is a type of netting usually made from polyester that acts like a stiffener; it is usually on the hemlines of skirts and dresses for additional volume and structure. I used the horsehair braid at the hem of the neckline flounce and hem of the full circle skirt. The great thing is that the braid also acts as a facing, so there's no need to hem.

Pattern Pieces:

1. Front Bodice

I added bust and waist darts for shaping.

2. Back Bodice

Waist darts are added for shaping. These are cut separately, taking into account the extra zipper seam allowance.

3. Flounce

I added a flounce that frames the round neckline, front and back.

4. Skirt

A full circle skirt is added with additional zipper seam allowance at the back.

My favorite part of this dress is definitely the flounce at the neckline. Despite common belief, ruffles and flounces are NOT the same, even though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

The pattern pieces for ruffles and flounces look different and produce very different results. Ruffles are created when excess/additional fabric is gathered up to create volume. Once sewn into a seam, there are visible small pleats at the seam line.

Flounces are constructed using a circular pattern piece (think a bagel or donut shape). The inside circumference of the donut = the length of the seam line. The outside circumference of the donut is greater than the inside, so once the seam is sewn, the pattern creates beautiful flounces. Interesting thing to note is that the shape of the flounce will also depend on the shape of the seam line you are attaching it to!

To highlight these flounces, I added a soft, transparent, and 1-inch wide horsehair braid at the hem. Here's the side view of the flounce. Here, you can really see the volume that the horsehair braid provides.

Make sure to purchase horsehair braid weight (stiff or soft) that matches the weight of your fabric. Mine is a soft bouncy linen, so the soft version worked well for me. If your fabric is heavier, perhaps you should use the stiff version.

It's also important to take into account the color of your fabric. I used a transparent horsehair braid, so it is as inconspicuous as possible. They are usually sold in white, black, transparent and many solid colors.

I purchased the version with a gathering thread on one side. This gathering thread helps you shape the braid into a circular hem. The hem of my flounce and circle skirt are all circular and the horsehair braid is straight. Without gathering, there will be many pockets of extra space. If you can't find a version with gathering thread built in, no worries! Just set your stitch length to the longest length and run the gathering stitch at one side of the braid.

To attach the horsehair braid, I pinned the horsehair braid on the RIGHT side of the fabric, lining up the raw edges of the linen and braid and stitch to attach. Flip the braid over to the WRONG side of the fabric and iron down. Now it's time to use that handy gathering stitch. Pull the gathering thread so you can manually shape the circular hem. Stitch down at preferred hem allowance.

And you're done! I hope you enjoyed reading and learned something new today. Try and incorporate any of the techniques you learned today into your next project!

Disclaimer: Mood Fabrics Tilted Pink Orchid and White Alyssum Printed Linen Woven (SKU: 327309) was gifted to me by Mood Fabrics but all opinions are my own! I purchased all other materials with my own money.