When I’m beginning to design a pattern, I often start with piece that greatly inspires me and then I start putting other things that are similar or that I feel will work with the original inspiration into a folder. I like to see things together because it helps me find a common thread and really nail down the true inspiration in the original item. Sometimes, it’s a silhouette. Sometimes, it’s a small detail like a pocket or even a bow. Sometimes, it’s just the fabric combination that I seem to love and sometimes, in the gathering process, I realize there is something else I like better and I move on.
I have always loved the idea of this dress from Larrana. That pieced bodice always reminded me of a high waisted skirt. So, this dress is what seeded my new inspiration board. I had a few other items pinned that had a similar look and I realized that it’s really just an illusion bodice made up in cotton and a 50’s silhouette.
I stumbled across this lovely dress from eshakti while I was doing some Mother’s Day shopping. I just love the contrast of the navy with the white and I always love a nautical theme!
Naturally, I was reminded of the Esmee Cottage Dress from Amelie and Henri(no longer available for purchase). It is a similar pattern with the front piecing. I actually own the pattern and made one for my daughter years ago without a pieced bodice.
The dolman sleeve on this pattern below really helped draw more attention to the bodice so I added a little cap sleeve to my pattern. I decided on a set in sleeve rather than the dolman so that the pattern could be a bit more versatile with an option of a sleeve or a sleeveless bodice.
This pattern was already in another inspiration folder (again with that dolman sleeve) I really liked the addition of the trim at the top of the bodice to add even more drama so I included a very narrow ruffle to mimic the look of piping and add some texture to the bodice.
I knew that I wanted the piecing to continue to the back and I drew inspiration from this beauty which was also the inspiration for my Greenery dress for Project Run and Play. I liked the V back, but it’s obviously impractical for a child, so I raised it up and added a zip(it looks like this one probably zips all the way up the back, but the dress form is too big for the dress). I like zippers on dresses with less ease because it prevents pulling at buttons.
All of these vintage illusion dresses often had pretty scalloped bodices as well. Look at the lace on this one. I LOVE that high neck with this look and incorporated it into my final pattern.
This next pattern incorporates scallops and pretty V back with zipper and cap sleeves.
So, the next logical progression was to add a scalloped option to the pattern. It was a very minor change to make and everyone loves a pattern with diversity.
Amelie and Henri had advertised a scalloped version of Esmee with an apron, but never released it and I loved the way the scallops looked together. Scalloped aprons are just about as 50’s as you can get and I love all the half apron patterns you can find around the internet. The lace under the scallops on this middle, blue is so sweet.
This lovely, pink, vintage women’s version is available on etsy here.
I made my apron removable like the pink one above and have decided to share it all with you for free. It’s perfect with Petit Four, or any other dress/pattern that you already own.
I did draw inspiration from Amelie and Henri, but also from vintage patterns and current fashion. In the end, even though it shares some similarities, I feel it is different enough to stand on it’s own.