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“Let’s Mix It Up” A Print Mix Dress by Lena King

Let’s Mix It Up
 
With all the various fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2022, I’m glad to see that the floral midi dress is not leaving the runway or the High Street. To be honest though, I’ve had a bit of a love hate relationship with florals for as far back as I can remember. Big, blooming floral dresses and blouses were a thing back in the eighties and teen me was having none of it. The ditsy florals of the nineties were more my thing when they were styled as a slip dress. But now, fully grown me has begun to appreciate florals of varying sizes.
My head is often turned by a pretty, floaty floral, or a fabulous, fitted floral piece. Recently though, I have been particularly drawn to the trend for patchwork or mixed print floral dresses and felt it was time to explore and make my own. Scouring the internet for inspiration is one of my favourite pastimes and now I feel I am an expert in floral print mixing! I’ll share some of the gems I found with you.
Firstly, let’s talk about shades and scale. Mixing floral prints in similar shades and tones is an easy way to begin and so is choosing to pair a small print with a large print. The blue dress here on favourite villain, Villanelle, is just stunning with a subtle tone change and print size, drool worthy. The black dress plays with scale too, keeping the large print as the predominant one.
 
When choosing a dress to mix up, it’s good to choose something that has lots of separate pieces. A wrap dress can look effective cut up with different florals. Choosing something with set in or raglan sleeves is also a good choice for giving you options. The By Hand London Hannah dress or the Aura dress are good wrap dress options. The Wilder Gown with it’s raglan sleeves could be fun to make in mixed florals.
Think about a colour scheme, do you want to go tonal or complimentary or contrasting? I knew I wanted a green theme going on without overpowering contrasts. I also quite liked the idea of having a plain or different patterned fabric to break up the florals.
 
And if you really can’t cope with mixing florals yourself, then the patchwork fabric option is there for you. I was really tempted by this, I have plans. The Lamazi Utopia Tencel Sateen fabric would be a good choice for a patchwork dress.
 
I chose to make the Pauline dress by Closet Core Patterns. It’s a beautiful dress with on trend details like statement sleeve options, a cut-out back and ruffled tier. The back bodice is made up of six pieces, offering more print mixing possibilities. I chose to go the full whack and make view B with long puffed sleeves and a midi-length tiered skirt.
I had a lot of fun choosing which fabric to use and how to mix it all up. I chose two pieces from the new exclusive collection of Lamazi fabric, the Garden of dreams. They are both Tencel sateen with a real quality feel to them, and rather gorgeous. The fabric is drapey with a nice swish. The green is a petrol shade with black flowers and soft pink stems. The midnight fabric has some subtle and some bold flowers which look almost hand drawn. Both fabrics have a rather smoky, soft finish to them. I chose a third fabric which I thought would tie the other two together nicely. It is a Tencel twill in a two-tone green stripe.
I ended up not being so adventurous with the print mixing, I decided to keep it simple, following the three sections of the dress, the upper part (bodice and sleeves) the upper skirt, and the lower tier. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about how this would turn out, but I’m really pleased with the outcome.
I made a quick toile of the bodice and upper skirt because I was concerned about the fit across my shoulders and across my hips. I cut a UK size 14 bodice, came out to a 16 at the hips and back to a 14. For the back bodice pieces, I took out a centimetre from each piece as there was some gaping in my toile and I wanted the back to lie flat and hide my bra strap. Looking at the photos I could have taken a couple of centimetres off the bodice length too as it’s quite wrinkled, but I can live with that. The dress fits nicely across my shoulders, but the front doesn’t lie as flat as I would like, and guess who forgot to edge stitch the facing?
There are several things I love about this dress: the sleeves are beautiful, gathered at the head with elastic cuffs and are just the right amount of bigness for me. The square neckline is also a favourite, I feel that an open neckline suits me well. I like the pleats under the bust which give a gentle shape to the bodice. I love that it’s fully lined. I rarely line my garments, but when I do, they automatically rise to luxurious level. I’m a little unsure about the upper tier, I’m thankful that I got the fit right but I’m wondering if it draws too much attention to the least favourite part of my body. The struggle to get over body issues is real!
But, the star of this dress is the fabric, all three pieces are gorgeous and work well with this pattern. My favourite is the blue, maybe I could use this to make the Villanelle inspired dress? This is my first foray into mixing floral prints and it’s something I would like to repeat. Next time I will brave putting the florals next to each other, but this was a nice, gentle introduction. I’d love to know your thoughts on mixing florals.
 
 
If you would like to give print mixing a go we have lots of suggestions and fabrics that blend perfectly. 
 
When it comes to coordinating fabrics Mind the Maker is always one of our first stops, the colours match perfectly across all bases so you know the finished garment will work in harmony. The “Petals” range of fabrics match perfectly, and have matching solid fabrics too. This viscose crepe is luxuriously soft and will make a stunning wrap dress, like the Cashmerette Roseclair dress or a wrap playsuit like the Named Clothing Helga.
Mind the Maker-Petals ECOVERO™️ Vera Crepe Fabric in Rosewood and Rose, Helga Wrap Playsuit. 
Mind the Maker-Petals ECOVERO™️ Vera Crepe Fabric in Bottle Green and Calm Grey, Mind the Maker- Solid Calm Grey ECOVERO™️ Vera Crepe Fabric, Roseclair Dress. 
 
 
Of course you do not need to stick to woven fabrics when it comes to mixing prints, jersey fabrics can work just as well in this situation as long as you choose two that have a similar weight and stretch. Art Gallery Fabrics has a beautiful range of jerseys which will work perfectly for this. The Tilly and the Buttons Zadie dress has some fun opportunities for colour blocking and print mixing. 
 
When looking for coordinating prints try browsing through our collections of fabrics “By Colour Palette” where we create a carefully curated collection of fabrics based on a colour theme, usually inspired by nature. 
These fabrics are both Viscose Poplins from our “An Escape to Majorelle” collection. The Dhurata Davi’s Jasmine Tee and Dress or Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown both offer lots of opportunities for print mixing. 
 
If you are still unsure about print mixing an easy way to dip your toe into the trend is to choose a design that you can add a small piece to add a contrast. The shoulder frill and waist tie on the Friday Pattern Company Davenport is perfect for this.
 

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