The “Orange Tab” Dress | Adey Lim
Fabric: Navy blue viscose blend 2 metres and orange cotton 1 metre $15 from textile centre
Pattern: McCall's 1088 with self drafted back variation.
Year: c. 1960s
Notions: 8 buttons
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: October 2011
Wear again? Yes
Total Cost: ~$15
Back in junior college, a close friend of mine who was THE fashion guru of our cohort was telling us the color to avoid, "We can't wear orange, it's just not flattering on us since we have yellow skin undertone." Those words stuck in my head for more than twenty years because it is so true. Orange just wasn't a color I could wear and this friend of mine later became editor-in-chief of a top fashion magazine so she should know a thing or two about colors. But, orange is huge this season. Is it a color you wear in abundance or sparingly? For me, I am quite happy to have orange in accessories such as bags and shoes but not so much on clothes.
To make orange work, I had to mix it with a wearable color so I toyed with the ideas of using orange with purple, orange with brown, orange with hot pink and eventually settled with orange with navy blue. It was this pair of shoes I was wearing in the photos that convinced me to go with this combi. I needed more garments that would go with these shoes. They just aren't getting enough outings.
The original 1960s pattern came with a simple back with a centre zipper but while walking passed Prada last week, I saw a black mod dress with bareback and tab/button closures (sorry forgot to snap a photo and couldn't find that dress online) and decided to make my own version by modifiying the back of the dress. Instead of having the second tab at the base of the back opening like the Prada version, I moved it up a little to hide the bra strap. Before I cut the back piece on the fold, I deducted 1.5cm from the centre as I didn't need the centre back seam. I drafted the back opening first and once I was happy with it, I used it as a guide to draft the back facings. I noticed that tabs on Prada's version had slight arcs and drafted these likewise.
The faux piping at the neckline, sleeves and back opening are actually a small extension of the facings. I think it is a lot faster to sew these compared to piping and the additional steps were to cut the facings slightly bigger and to iron them a little more to the outside before topstitching. The facings of the front and lower back tabs were cut from scrap fabrics of brown and orange polka dots, little details that only the wearer would know.
The vintage buttons on the tabs are orange with purple border while the two at the lower front are yellow with orange border. I used a light orange topstitching thread to topstitch the tabs and liked that the thicker thread really made the stitches pop. Something I've learnt from one of your comments:)
Another detail that only the wearer would know, the pockets are also orange in color. And though orange and I do not go, I do like the contrast it lends to navy blue.
It has been raining cats and dogs here so I had to take refuge at Ikea's carpark to get these photos taken. And there I found myself a matching orange scooter! I hope you are enjoying much better weather than me.