Still on the hunt for great quilting cottons that can be used as dress fabric, I did some searching on the net. I found a couple of conversations among those who, like me, can't resist the call of these beautiful prints. The general consensus: Both Michael Miller and Windham Fabrics had decent enough drape to kinda sorta get away with being made into dresses.
Okay, that's not a firm, "Yes, this brand is practically apparel fabric!", but I don't think anyone is expecting that at this point. Not from me anyway. I'm still trying to figure out how to sew a nice hem.
The Conclusion: Not a huge difference. This dress feels a lot like my other quilting cotton dresses. So still pretty. Still wearable. Still not even close to apparel fabric.
I have both Windham and Michael Miller in stash, and I chose to work with Windham first. The design is from the Threads of Time collection, unceremoniously named "Blue 39731-4". I'm calling my dress "Union Blue" because of reproduction fabric look, and because the little Vs remind me of the chevrons worn on the sleeves of Civil War soldiers to identify rank. Also, my great great grandfather was a Union soldier. :o)
Though I still love this dress pattern (Simplicity 1537), I wanted to see if I could modify the neckline. This was a team effort because though the modification was my idea, my husband is the one responsible for drawing it nicely. I needed a perfect curve but couldn't draw one to save my life. He's a woodworker and quite good at curves. I figured asking him would be the right thing to do, and sure enough, within seconds he had drawn the perfect neckline.
We did this first on tracing paper, then on muslin, so I now have an alternative neckline bodice pattern piece for this particular dress.
Another first: I chose to hand sew my zipper.
I have to say ~ I think I like hand sewing zippers! Maybe it's because I was a quilter first and did much of my work by hand, but I loved taking my time and stitching it in place. I felt like I had more control over the process, I could get into small areas easily, and the fact that the dress is nearly done by this point reminded me of that great feeling of sewing on a quilt binding. It's the last step of a long job well done.
The zipper isn't really my last step, but it's close! And the feeling is still good. :o)