Modern Prairie Dress

The Prairie Dress has been enjoying a boom in popularity in recent years.  And the style is staying around with the growing trend of large ruffles, floral fabric, and "romantic prairie" looks. I have been intrigued by the modern styling, but didn't really think it was my general style, but when we decided to feature the 201 Prairie Dress in March, I thought, "here's my chance to see if I can take this dress and make it more modern and into something I might wear daily."  

So, when I came across this beautiful, drape-y rayon when I was in Madrid, I knew exactly what to use it for!  The fabric is feels glorious - soft, smooth, light.  All of which make it difficult to sew with!  So, it took me quite a bit longer to get this dress finished than I expected (getting the flu at the end of Feb. and school shutting down in March also didn't help).  So, I am posting this after the dress was featured last month, but still really wanted to share it with you.

I made a few modifications to the pattern.  First, I used the "street-length" version which was exactly the length I wanted.  I made the size medium even though I should fit in the small sizing with my measurements, but I know that the armscye of this dress (like many traditional dresses of the time) runs small.  I measured the pattern and felt I would be more comfortable in the size medium, and I think I was exactly right.  There is no tightness at all in the shoulder or arm.  

I also used the smaller front opening (not the traditional opening which is much longer), and I did not add any buttons, yet, to the front. I think it works fine for now.  I also did not add in the collar ruffle.  The pattern is really not too difficult to make, though I would suggest an easy-to-sew cotton if you are a beginner sewist, and not a silky, slinky fabric.  There is quite a bit of fabric in this dress, but I managed to make the whole thing with just 3 meters.  

While at first I was not sure about the dress without a belt (it kinda felt like a nightgown), it grew on me.  The lightness, the flowy-ness, was a lot of fun to wear.  I really love the sleeves.  They are beautiful in this fabric and easy to wear.  Even my teenage daughters liked this dress (especially when belted), and may be borrowing it from my closet!  If I made it again, I might shorten the skirt and add a flounce to the bottom.  There are lots of ideas!

I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration for your spring sewing!  And, to think a little differently about this pattern - to see it in a different light.  Try it for yourself: 201 Prairie Dress.

Happy Sewing!