Sewing dresses has become appealing again now that I have a clearer idea of what I like to wear and what the gaps are in my wardrobe. It feels as if I’ve not made much other than activewear and bras this year (apart from samples for others) and I’m enjoying this new phase.
The Sew the Trends videos by The Fold Line are always inspiring and I like to follow Kate’s example, exploring my favourite high street shops in Leeds for inspiration (including Anthropologie, COS, And Other Stories, John Lewis, Khaadi, Oliver Bonas, White Stuff and Warehouse, among others, and even Harvey Nichols on occasion!). I’ve been looking at lots of dresses but couldn’t find much that suited my style, budget and body shape. I’m too petite for some of the long, flouncy dresses, prefer some definition at the waist and am unsure about some of the high necklines. This pattern met all my requirements, with a few little tweaks. I stepped out briefly on to muddy Ilkley Moor so my 12 year old could take photos after a family lunch (but put my cardigan and coat on very quickly afterwards!).
I sewed a Deer and Doe Myosotis (French for forget-me-not, ‘ ‘ pronounced me-oh-soh-tis/ mʌɪəˈsəʊtɪs) blouse hack last year. It was perfect for the hot weather at home and on holiday and also makes a good year round layering piece.
Fur the cooler weather, I decided to try something closer to the original dress pattern. The fabric is a viscose/rayon twill by Atelier Brunette, which I bought at the October Knitting & Stitching Show in London. I’d planned to use it for a blouse so only bought 2m.
The adaptations that I chose to make are fairly simple. I extended the sleeves to 3/4 length, using a blouse pattern as a guide, and created elasticated cuffs by folding and pressing 2.5cm/ 1″ of fabric to the reverse and stitching at 1cm/ 3/8″ and 2cm / 3/4″ from the edge, leaving a small gap in the casing, threading narrow elastic through the channel and stitching the gap closed.
The skirt is cut as for version B, with a small ruffle that used all the remaining fabric.
This fabric is lovely to wear and is surprisingly warm, but was tricky to cut – even on a large flat surface – and a little challenging to sew. It was difficult to keep the grain straight and some pieces frayed substantially. I had interfaced the bodice facings and the outer collar piece but regretted not having done so for the inner collar piece and the front edges of the bodice, which would have added stability and given a neater result.
Overall it’s been a success, I love wearing this dress and I’m thinking of making another in a different colour!