Red, White & Blue Isabel Marant Dress – And a Sewing Lesson

The Fourth of July post was all Americana. But my style is more of a global blend. I love this red, white and blue dress by Isabel Marant with a mix of patterns:


You can see the crazy quilt effect of all the patterns here by the handkerchief hem:

Isabel-Marant-Dress-2It’s like upscale boho.

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:

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!

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3 Replies to “Red, White & Blue Isabel Marant Dress – And a Sewing Lesson”

  1. Hi Deb, just a reminder if you get to Orlando for work or fun, please look us up! Washburn Imports is the store, which converts to the Imperial at Washburn Imports ( a beautiful wine bar) at night. In fact, USA Today Travel just rated us the No. 1 bar in Central Florida. Woo hoo!

    I am constantly amazed by and interested in your posts and think you would love our store. Today, reading about sewing AND Isabel Marant (both of which I love, and truly, who knows how to sew these days?), I am convinced that we would enjoy a glass of wine in our bar and could share some great stories of India and other travel.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I agree we’d have much to talk about over wine at your bar. I love wine too. We’ve been to Napa/Sonoma, Finger Lakes and Tuscany – for the wine! I just checked the professional conferences I usually attend – most of them are in Orlando at some point and I’ve been there for conferences many times – but none over the next year. Agh. Must visit for pleasure then! I’d love to visit you and your store. Congratulations on the USA Today Travel honor, that’s fantastic! I cannot imagine wine and global imports together, mind-blowing!

      I need to get back into sewing – used to sew a lot and I even have horsehair in the sewing stash. Who does that?!? I do have ideas for creating/sewing some home décor items … Deb

    2. Actually I think one of my husband’s salespeople for his business is in Orlando. We work so much over the phone and Skype, sometimes it’s good to meet in person too. Hmmm …

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