I came across the Little Red Dress Project during November. Hosted by Renata at RunningNStyle and Hollie of Hollie Dolly, it brought together stitchers from all around the globe with plans to make and wear a red dress for Christmas and other winter holiday celebrations.
I decided to make a midi version of the Anna dress from By Hand London. It is a beautifully simple pattern and I love the lines and the vintage feel of it. I had already bought a remnant of slinky polyester fabric, which was just the right size for the pattern.
The fabric was slightly sheer and I didn’t have matching overlocker thread for finishing the edges, so I decided to try French seams for the first time. Had I been using more expensive fabric I would have made a toile first for the bodice, but launched straight in. This meant, unfortunately, that by the time I realised I needed to make some adjustments at the waistline, it was too late! The next day, I headed back to The Shuttle on my way home from Skipton and bought some georgette and matching lining, then set to work.
I could hardly have chosen trickier fabric! There was no pattern to match but it slides horribly. In future, I will probably try out the method of sandwiching a single layer slippery fabric between layers of tissue paper before cutting out. Eventually, all the pieces were cut again and ready to sew. I made a size 12 again but graded out to a 14 at the bodice side seams, which would add about 2.5cm/ 1″ all around. I also took care to take less fabric into the French seams and used a straight stitch foot to help control the fabric movement.
The dress is fully lined, also using French seams where practical.
I made up the bodice and skirt in the outer and lining fabrics, omitting the side and back seams, then joined the bodice and lining at the neckline and armholes, understitching the neckline for neatness, turning right side out and pressing the seams.
Next, I joined the outer and lining skirts and bodices at the waist seam, then opened out the bodices and stitched the side seams.
As the outer fabric is so lightweight, I decided to sew the zip to both the outer and lining, which worked better than anticipated. I used a standard concealed zip as I hadn’t been able to source a lightweight version, and used my YKK concealed zip foot.
The lining has an overlocked rolled hem and I turned a narrow hem on the outer as the French seams caught in the roll hem foot of my sewing machine when I tested it (on a scrap, thankfully!). My husband had helped me level the hem, using a roofer’s square (surprisingly useful for sewing) and tailor’s chalk.
This time, the fit was just right. Phew! I wore my dress on Friday night for a family meal and felt really confident in it.
If you’d like to see some of the many beautiful dresses that have been made, this is a good place to start: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/thelittlereddressproject/