Sewing the "Lamour Dress" by Charm Patterns

After sewing a couple of versions for the "Rita Blouse", I was excited to tackle the "Lamour Dress", also by Charm Patterns. Chris and I were going to be attending the New England Shake-up and I really wanted to complete this dress in time for that event. I really love the design of this dress because it has a very vintage look to it, in fact I recently saw someone wearing a true vintage dress with a very similar design. The straps are convertible and can be worn as a halter, crossed in front or tied low behind the back to become a strapless dress. I decided to sew this dress using a sateen fabric from the Gertie Fabric Collection. I chose this fabric because it looks vintage, has a lovely drape and is relatively easy to work with.

The "Lamour Dress" by Charm Patterns

The "Lamour Dress" by Charm Patterns

The sateen fabric from the Gertie Fabric Collection

The sateen fabric from the Gertie Fabric Collection

I was a bit nervous to start this dress because it required a few new sewing methods that I have not yet done.  It also had a full two pages of instructions, which was a bit intimidating.  However, my experience with the Rita blouse was so good that I knew the instructions would be very clear.

One of my least favorite parts of sewing is cutting out all of the fabric pieces and this dress had a ton of pieces. The bodice alone had 6 parts to it, which had to be cut out multiple times for the outer fabric, underlining and lining.  It took me a couple hours to cut all the pieces, but once that was done, I started on the more fun part of constructing the bodice.

Cutting out the pattern pieces

Cutting out the pattern pieces

Bodice and underlining pieces

Bodice and underlining pieces

The first step was to underline the bodice pieces and then sew them all together. I used a lightweight cotton fabric for the underlining.

The underlining sewn to the bodice pieces

The underlining sewn to the bodice pieces

A close-up of one of the straps to the bodice.

A close-up of one of the straps to the bodice.

After the outer bodice was done, it was time to sew the lining with the same white cotton fabric I used for the underlining. The biggest challenge for me was installing the boning to the bodice lining. It's not something I've done before, but the instructions offered some handy tips, so I was able to figure it out.  My local fabric store only had the plastic boning so I had to order the recommended spiral steel boning online.   I liked the quality and flexibility of it and was pleased to see the structure this added to the top of the dress.

Boning channels in place in the lining

Boning channels in place in the lining

Spiral steel boning, before installation

Spiral steel boning, before installation

The entire bodice portion took a few days.  It was one of the more complicated bodices I've done, but for the most part the instructions were very clear, so I was able to complete it without ripping out too many seams.  With it complete I was able to move on to the easy part of the dress, the skirt.

The finished bodice, front view

The finished bodice, front view

The finished bodice, 3/4 view

The finished bodice, 3/4 view

This dress has a circle skirt, complete with pockets, which I've done a bunch of times, so was very easy for me. I don't always have the best of luck installing zippers by machine, so I opted for a combination machine stitched and hand picked lapped zipper.  I find that I have an easier time with hand sewing the zipper because I have more control over it and the result is always much nicer looking.  I hand stitched the bodice to the skirt and machine stitched a narrow hem on the bottom of the skirt.

A close-up of the bodice and skirt lining

A close-up of the bodice and skirt lining

The hand-picked zipper

The hand-picked zipper

Machine stitched skirt hem

Machine stitched skirt hem

I'm very happy with the way the dress came out and even though it took a bit longer than usual, I was able to finish it in time to wear it to both our 15th anniversary dinner and to the New England Shake-Up.   The only issue that I had was that the very top of the bodice gapped a bit, so I'll probably never wear it as a strapless, but the rest fit just fine.  I do plan on making this dress again, but the design is a bit fancy for everyday wear so I'll probably only make it for special occasions.  I would like to make this with an actual vintage fabric in the future and maybe play around with contrasting fabric for the straps. I'd also love to see this bodice just as a top or with a different style skirt. 

Me, in my new dress at the New England Shake-Up

Me, in my new dress at the New England Shake-Up

I highly recommend this pattern because although it had a lot of steps, it was easy to understand and now that I've done it once, I think the next time should go much more smoothly and quickly. The pattern included different sized bust pieces, which helps make it easier to get the right fit.