For my 8th post, the letter “H”, I chose this Hibiscus Pattern. I bought this 1998 pattern for 50 cents at a thrift shop recently. Hibiscus could be a prototype for all the independent sewing pattern companies we are blessed with now. But as far as I can discern Hibiscus Patterns are no longer produced, which is a shame. The pattern is timeless, very nicely drafted, has great instructions, and fits extremely well.
This pattern is called “The Sleek Sheath”. The dress is completely lined and is designed for ethnic fabrics like Mudcloth, Kente Cloth, Ikat, Batik, African Cottons, and the like. Since I didn’t have any of the those particular fabrics in my stash I decided to use a boldly printed cotton that resembles batik. This was another of my “oh, it’s so cheap, I’ll buy it” thrift store purchases that after I got home turned into a “what on earth was I thinking I could use this for?” fabric. Yippee! I’m patting myself on the back for using some of my vast fabric collection and something from my pattern hoard – double score!
As I said, the pattern is very well drafted – it wasn’t miles too large like most of the Big 4 patterns are. I began by cutting a straight size 14, which exactly matched my measurements. Then I made just a few pattern alterations, including a small bust adjustment using the excellent Emery Dress: How To Do A Small Bust Adjustment tutorial found here. I also cut the armholes and shoulder seams down to a size 8 after comparing the dart bust point on the pattern to my own bust apex. Apparently besides being small busted I’m also high busted, so I needed to reduce the amount of fabric from the top of the shoulders (and then cut deeper armholes) in order to have the darted bust line sit higher on the bodice.
I found that using a zipper foot was helpful in sewing the piped front panel to the dress side fronts and I also added piping around the neckline. I’d never made a completely lined dress but I found the instructions easy to follow. I used Bemberg Ambiance from Joann’s for the lining. The black dress fabric was from Hancock’s and the printed panel was a small part of a $3.50 thrift store find. I’d love to find a way to use the rest of the bold blue fabric – please let me know if you have any great ideas! The total cost of this garment was approximately $20.00. All in all I found this panel dress to be a great way to use bold fabric that would otherwise be too overwhelming on someone my size.