Bossy bees

Alternate title: How Sally of The Quirky Peach bossed me into making a beautiful dress. Yes, it’s true – Sally and I engaged in some light-hearted bossing as part of Heather Lou and Oona’s brainchild, The Sew Bossy Initiative!


Normally, I’m not much for planned sewing. I can’t even tell my own danged self what to sew without facing major recalcitrance. This was different. I felt like an elf picking things out for Sally and got Christmas feelings when I sent them off to her. And I was eaten alive with anticipation after 3 weeks of email exchanges – what would I be sewing up? In addition to the excitement, Sally and I also pushed back every loose deadline we’d set for ourselves at least once (usually twice) so I never felt like I was rushing to make decisions or sew.

Anyway. Without further adieu, I present the Bossy Bees dress! | Vogue 1395

Sally really kept me guessing. We both tried to ask vague questions about each other’s likes and dislikes, and by the time we were ready to send each other our projects, I was pretty sure I was going to be challenged to a knits project! Instead, she sent me one of her favorite woven fabrics – rayon challis, printed with bees to boot! – and this glorious new Rebecca Taylor pattern (Vogue 1395). She also included lining fabric, a lovely note AND a fat quarter of crab fabric (!) that I’m hoarding for something special. | Vogue 1395

The bodice of this pattern is interesting; the ties reach around from a back overlay with a gathered detail close to the neck. | Vogue 1395

I ended up adding an lightweight underlining to the bee fabric as it was slightly sheer and I’m a prude who can’t be trusted to wear a slip. This added some weight to the back. If I were to make this pattern again, I would forgo underlining the back overlay as it pulls the shoulder seams back a bit. | Vogue 1395

The pattern suggests a narrow hem on the sleeves, ties and skirt. I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the corners of the ties. They look good to me from the outside, but I’ve been wondering if there’s a technique for narrow hemming a corner. Anybody know? I trimmed off the bit of excess on the side that ended up on top. | Vogue 1395

I also made my first attempt at catch-stitching the seam allowances of the skirt. It took a bit of time, but it really does keep those seam allowances flat! The challis has such a lovely drape, and I thought it might be tempted to roll closed if left to its own devices. I didn’t want the lining hem to get too much body, so I serged it instead of finishing it with the narrow hem. Sacrilege! | Vogue 1395

The only change I made to the pattern was adding 1″ to the bodice length. Since the bodice is pretty loose-fitting, I only made a muslin of the front and back pieces and skipped the back overlay. I was concerned about the skirt length from the pattern photo, but it’s perfect with the extra bodice length for this 5’8″ gal. | Vogue 1395

I’m smitten with this dress, and couldn’t resist taking a wedding-dress style photo of it. It feels amazing to wear, too – I may be a rayon challis convert! | Vogue 1395

Here’s a closeup of the bee print. | Vogue 1395

I had such a fun time with the Sew Bossy process. It was delightful to take a break from my normal sewing of separates and tunics to sew a straight-up pretty dress. And, I tend to pick a lot of solid fabrics, so I was excited when I saw that Sally had picked a print that I both loved and never would have found for myself. And, at the time of writing this post, I can’t wait to see the project I sent Sally! | Vogue 1395

Big thanks to Sally for being such a good boss, and thanks to Heather and Oona for Sew Bossy. And, if you haven’t already, wander on over to Sally’s blog and see what she made!


32 thoughts on “Bossy bees

  1. I bet this will be dreamy to wear in hot weather! Sally has incredible fabric sense. I always love the prints she chooses for her projects. This is equally wonderful and enviable!

    1. She really does! I was excited to have her pick out fabric for me as I generally end up with a solid when left to my own devices.

  2. Aww what great choices she made for you! I love the bees & you look gorgeous in white! I’ll pop over & see what you sent Sally now.

  3. This is beautiful, I love how it’s almost your style but a bit different too – exactly what this challenge should do! Oooh now I’m tempted to find a partner, sounds like such a fun exercise.

  4. Far out, That’s an awesome dress! Virginia from the blog Gingercakes has a tutorial for napkins with a mitred corner which could be useful for hemming your ties.

    1. What a good idea! The corners really are like tiny mitered corner napkins. I’ll give that a think-through next time I’m sewing something like this.

  5. Ya girl(s). You guys were a great match. Love both of your makes, and I gotta high five the quirky peach for sending you Crab AND bee fabric!

  6. MORGAN!!!! This is so cute I want to fly to Seattle and steal it right off you! But I won’t…. lol. You were right – I was looking for a knit fabric when I saw this print, but it stole the show, so…. hahaha – you did an amazing job with this pattern! I was hoping the relaxed style of the dress and subtle print would still be “you” and I think it worked! I had SO MUCH FUN bossing you and being bossed! Thanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Oh MAN this is cute. Seriously the perfect fabric, I’m jealous! I’m not sure how someone would be able to sew with rayon challis and not become a convert.

  8. So so so great!! It’s the perfect blend of chic with a wink and it looks fabulous on you!! I don’t think I’ve ever sewn with rayon challis — must change that!

  9. You asked if we knew a way to finish the ties. .. raw edges pressed flat grab the pointed edge and pull in towards center of wrong side of fabric, bringing it past seam allowance and press. Then turn under one side of tie 1/4 inch towards wrong side of fabric and press. Turn again 1/4 inch and press. Repeat w/other side press and stitch. It finishes the point nicely incaseing the point. Once you are done stitching, you can trim excess fabric from wrong side of point if necessary.

  10. I’m swooning just a little bit in front of my computer screen here. I don’t think she could have set you a more befitting challenge! You look so comfortable, natural, and just – happy. And it’s a wonderful silhouette + love the white on you. Genius comment on the finishing of the points by Jean! I’ll remember than one. Nice work on the catch stitching 😉

    1. I so agree! It was fun to work on my skills sewing with a shiftier fabric and wow, I love the results. And thanks, re: catch stitching! Now that I’ve had some time away from it, I’m wondering if I pulled the stitches a little too tightly…?

  11. Beautiful dress and what perfect fabric for you (I bet your sister is jealous!). The best part is the back story and your exchange with Sally. How awesome that she sent you a fat quarter of a crab fabric?

  12. Do you have any idea where that fabric is from? I did a google image search, but the one place that came up doesn’t seem to have it anymore. I NEED it.

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