The Marcel Dress From Chalk and Notch
Before I go further into this blogpost I wanted to make it clear that although I received payment for my contribution to the Chalk and Notch collaborator team all words and descriptions are my own. I was not asked to write this blogpost. I made this dress that I put my hand up for and I also made it according to my style and preference. In the sewing community I feel that some misinterpret paid collaborations as someone only doing what a company has told you to do. Yes, there were parameters in place, like any brief, (creating a blogpost was not one of them), but I have made a dress that I’m genuinely proud of and adore and I wanted that to be clear in the post.
Today I will be taking you through the planning, construction and execution of my Marcel dress from Chalk and Notch. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Chalk and Notch collaborator team. It was a joy to create alongside some very talented sewists and I cannot stress enough how much I just love Chalk and Notch as a business. So really, I’m coming out the real winner here. Although my feature is for July I had been planning this dress well beforehand. I’d say about 9 months before. That’s right, before I even knew I was a contributor. I had seen a dress from Ace and Jig last year that I absolutely adored. They were using all their scraps and coming up with the most magical, one-of-a-kind combinations. I thought to myself I can do that, I have plenty of leftovers. The problem I had though, is not all those leftovers are meant to go together.
Come January I started putting remnants from my stash together and checking the fabric sections of my local thrift stores to add to that pile. It didn’t take me long to have my final collection together. The pile sat there for a couple of months because I just could not decide on the combination. See, I love making magical combinations, but I also need things to match to a certain degree and I realised what I loved so much about the Ace and Jig dress was there didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to their combination. I needed reinforcements and who better than my best friend, my husband. Not many know this about him, but he’s what I call a retired artist. He was and still is extremely talented, so much so that he had a full ride scholarship for Art but got so burnt out in high school that he quit. So now he’s just a freelancer for his wife every now and then and I’m always so thankful for him. Anyway, I brought him in and of course he helped me bring this magical combination to life. Now that we had the combination down, it was time to actually get the pattern ready.
The Marcel comes in two lengths and as much as I love both lengths I know my preference was right in between. So I shortened the longer length by 3”. This was easy enough on the panel piece through the front but I had to take parts of each tier as well. This may sound difficult, but the instructions actually walk you through how to do this; even down to the smallest detail (aka changing the notch placement). Don’t be like me and forget that! Once I had traced and made my adjustments it was time to cut. That was all straightforward, but time consuming. I kept referencing the photo my husband and I took for print placement. When you’re working with that many fabrics it can get confusing. I took it slow and it came together. Once it was all cut out I made sure to label each piece so I wouldn’t lose track of which tier was what.
The actual construction of the Marcel was really easy. The most difficult section is the beginning where you made your top section with a facing and the rest is just adding tiers. The instructions are once again fabulous and it came together in one night for me.
In terms of fit, everything worked out perfectly, but I did go up one size because I plan to wear my Marcel layered. I would keep that in mind when taking your upper bust and bust measurement. It states this in the instructions, but I’m also putting it in here so you don’t forget!
I absolutely adore this dress and so far I’ve worn it a lot through Summer. It’s so easy to just throw on, but the fit is incredible. Not to mention I made my Ace and Jig dreams come true. I look at it and not only feel amazing in it, but I think of all the fun times I had collecting the fabric with my kids and the chance I had to collaborate with my sweet husband. I hope you love it as much as I do, and I also hope this helps you gather your scraps and make a new work of Art. In case you’re wondering, half of the fabrics used in this dress were in my stash already from previous thrifting journeys, the others were picked up from Clever Octopus and one fabric from Stonemountain fabrics.
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