Sunday, 4 November 2012

Patience really IS a virtue!

Pattern: Simplicity 1755
Option A
Size: 12
Fabric: Cranberry check brushed cotton and Cardinal red Klona cotton from Calico Laine

The moment I saw this pattern I knew I had to have it. A shirt dress without the usual issues of gaping buttons? Yes please! And the fabrics they used on the pattern sleeve are almost edible.

The brushed cotton I chose is lovely and very much my colours. The contrast is a Klona cotton and is very stiff which at first I was worried about, but it was lovely and easy to sew and made excellent crisp collar and cuffs.

I saw on Eternal Magpie's blog that instead of loops at the cuffs, she had sewn buttons on to keep the relevant bits in place. I loved this sparkly addition and thought it gave a cute, retro edge to an already cute and retro dress so decided I would follow her lead.

Apologies for the blurry close-up!

It is becoming increasingly evident that a dress form fitted to my proportions would make my life a whole lot easier. Before sewing in the zip, I tried the dress on and was aware that the bodice was too small (the large gap between pieces was a bit of a giveaway!), but by how much was a bit harder to tell as I was standing there holding up assorted bits of dress and trying to get them to jigsaw together. Thankfully, there were darts in the back of the bodice that I could remove to allow some extra fabric and solve the size problem.

The pattern instructions were clear and easy to follow although this wasn't the simplest sew ever, partly due to me needing to make adjustments, and partly due to its strange construction (although that's what makes it so cute in the first place!). It was certainly a challenge and there was a breakdown part way through where Big Minx had to give me a pep talk to avert my crisis of craft confidence. My complaint was that I seemed to be regressing as I hadn't made anything good in aaaaaages.

The pattern includes a belt that ties in a bow at the back. The little girl in me loves that as it just screams 'PARTY DRESS!!' however it's not so useful if you want to wear a cardi. So, i decided to try something else new and make a belt using the contrast colour instead and treated myself to a new toy - eyelet pliers! It was fun trying them out. The belt isn't the neatest or best made, but I love that I made it!

One mistake I made was to ignore the order of the instructions and add the collar before the zip (I had to wait for the weekend to be able to go zip shopping) but then discovered there was a reason for the order and so had to unpick bits and as a result the collar wasn't as nicely finished as it should be. I decided to unpick it all and start again and I'm so glad I did as it now looks LOADS better!

Despite the struggles we went through, I really enjoyed this dress for being so different in construction. Often when making a dress there's a sense of "I've been here before" and whilst that can be good in terms of practice makes perfect, it's fun to branch out sometimes. It also became clear to me, quite a way through, that this was not going to be a quick project and that tested my impatient side to the max!

I love this dress so much that I kind of want a few, but then it's so distinctive I wonder if it's possible to get away with having more than one?

It has been a labour of love but I'm so pleased with the results. I think this is pretty much the dress of my dreams and my favourite make so far. :-)


  1. Oooh, that's lovely! It looks so cute in the shorter length, and I do love the little buttons on the sleeves! The belt looks lovely too.

    I also want a few of these, even though the style is so distinctive - I've already bought the fabric for my second one. :)

  2. Thank you! And thanks for your inspirational ideas!
    I hope you enjoy making a second one and it's as beautiful as your first.