Asheville and Outfits
This August marked my husband and my 35th wedding anniversary. I suggested we take a long weekend and visit Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC.
This blog post is going to be uncomfortable for me because I’m not used to being the subject of so many pictures but I’ve no choice if I want to show you the pretty garments I made from my prints. Hopefully the stunning location will distract a bit—hehe.
I’ve been wanting to make myself some rayon dress for ages now but never seem to find the time or the perfect dress pattern—I’m super picky about what style of garments I like and what looks good on my frame.
I found these two patterns online and loved the simple, yet interesting cut of the dress. For the two dresses I wore and modeled at Biltmore I used the Simplicity 8231 pattern by Sew House Seven in the two sleeve options of the knee-length cuts. On the Sew House Seven website, this dress is called the Mississippi Avenue Dress and Top and doesn’t have the cap-sleeve option.
My first make I went with the sleeveless version in my Flower Keeper - Everlasting rayon for Art Gallery Fabrics. When I designed this print I envisioned it to be made into dresses and I just had to make one for myself! I realize now that the photo of the dress above was taken before I added the shoulder ties to you can look for that fun detail in the following photos.
Maybe August isn’t the most spectacular month for the gardens at Biltmore but they were no less beautiful. The walled garden was my favorite—I could’ve spent all day there.
I felt absolutely transported as we visited the garden first thing in the morning and had it practically to ourselves. I tried to imagine how the Vanderbilt family would have relaxed and enjoyed these grounds everyday as a matter of their everyday life.
Here’s just a few photos because I don’t want to ruin your experience if you go and if I shared all my shots this post would never have an end!
The cap-sleeve version is made from my Tiny Dancer - Bachelorette Fusion rayon that has a champaign-gold metallic ink on the seed puffs. The smokey teal-green is a great color for any time of the year.
A rayon dress was so comfy to wear in the North Carolina in August!
For this make I hacked in side pockets which I absolutely love! My daughter liked this dress so much she requested one just like it and I stitched one for her (with pockets, of course) as soon as we got back home.
So, enough about me in the pictures, whew! I have just a few more photos of the house I’d like to share and then a knit dress make done after our trip that I’ve not had a chance to photograph me wearing yet because I’ve gotten busy painting and using photos from our trip as subjects. I am planning a Part 2 post in a couple weeks to talk about my personal painting challenge and finding inspiration.
Right off the main foyer of Biltmore is the glass domed conservatory called the Winter Garden and is in my top picks of favorite rooms in the house. But, that list would be a long one because there’s so many beautiful rooms!
I believe this is Mrs. Vanderbilts family sitting room. Even though this is a grand home, each room felt intimate and inviting.
Room after room was exquisite and I particularly loved the colors used throughout the house. It is all very much to my tastes, especially when the furnishings were less formal like here in the Gun Room.
I highly recommend you get the audio tour when you purchase tickets to view the house. It allows you to listen at your own pace as you do a self guided tour of the rooms. There’s an incredible amount to see and learn about the house and family!
As well as the house tour we also took the Rooftop tour. This was an experience and we learned so much about the architecture of Biltmore as well as witnessed amazing scenes like these photos I took from the roof.
Yup, you bet I petted the gargoyles!
We had a wonderful trip and when normally it’s hard to get back to reality after an experience like that, I was instead energized and ready to get creative and hit the ground running as soon as we got home.
I hadn’t time to finish my knit dress before we left so once back I got right to work making a dress for my daughter from Tiny Dancer rayon and then the New Look 6626 knit dress from Art Gallery Fabrics Cherished Wishes - Everlasting for myself. There’s enough material left over I plan to make my granddaughter a dress too.
I hope you enjoyed this tiny, tiny tour of Biltmore—there’s so much more than what I’ve shown here including the winery, shops, more gardens, and beautiful grounds designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted who also designed a little park called Central Park in NY. I hope I’ve inspired you to do some garment sewing for yourself or skip the garment sewing and maybe some traveling! I’ve been very pleased with these patterns and feel both were great beginner-level dresses that look, feel, and fit great.