You can see the crazy quilt effect of all the patterns here by the handkerchief hem:
The price is upscale too, and because I’m showing this here does not mean I would spend that on dress, even if I had that money to spend on a dress. I look for inspiration no matter the price. There’s inspiration from Isabel Marant, and there’s inspiration at “Tar-jay” too.
If you can’t find a similar dress retail, you could easily collect a mix of patterned fabrics and sew a dress with handkerchief dress sewing patterns. This is a 70s and 80s style, so look for vintage sewing patterns on Etsy or eBay.
The Isabel Marant fabric is silk georgette so if you want this lightweight drapey effect, choose a pattern that will work with light fabrics.
If I were to do this, here’s a “map” of how I’d make “new” fabric by sewing together several different coordinating fabrics, with each blue color here being a different fabric:
This DIY idea might be for intermediate sewers who know how to keep a fabric on grain. Being “on grain” is important so the fabric and the seams connecting the different fabrics don’t become distorted and twisted.
If you’re a beginner sewer and want to do this, read on for some info about grain …
Have you ever worn a top or pants where the side seams or the sleeve seams moved over or twisted after you washed it? Like, T-shirts where the side seam is suddenly moving toward your stomach. Or pants where the side seams do the same thing. This can happen with knit and woven fabrics. When this happens, it means the manufacturer did not lay out the pattern “on grain.” It’s a flaw when it affects how your clothes hang on you. But a lot of manufacturers do it because it lets them make maximum use of fabric – it’s more economical for them. I have a knit Anthropologie cardigan – that I paid full price for which I rarely do but I loved it – where one sleeve wants to twist around my arm like a chocolate/vanilla twisted ice cream cone! You know how those ice cream cones look. That’s not how a sleeve is supposed to look! Or feel. It feels weird. You can keep tugging and pulling at it, and it will still twist. There’s nothing you can do to stop it.
So the solution is, prevention. If you’re going to sew, learn about laying out fabric “on grain.” If you’re a beginner sewer, here’s a few resources:
- Video showing how to find the grainline, by Sandra Betzina – she’s an expert at teaching how to sew
- From See Kate Sew, a more intensive explanation of grain and how to get your fabric on grain
Wow that was not expected – I intended to share a global red white and blue dress, and somehow got to sharing fabric grain tutorials! But if you’re going to piece together fabrics yourself, that’s important. Another idea is to look for a fabric that already has a mix of patterns in it, like this one shared by Kisaran Kimono Fabric on Flickr:
You could easily sew a dress with a vintage handkerchief dress pattern with a fabric like this, and you’d get the look of the Isabel Marant dress!