Hello everyone. It’s Sunday and I’m finally sitting down after a week at Centre Parcs where 4 our of 6 family members had stomach bugs and after a busy but brilliant trip to the Dressmaker’s Ball in Leicester. I thought writing a blog post might be nice and soothing!
You’ve seen a version of this dress before in very unlike me colours… I made a gorgeous purple and orange shell print version shown below. I don’t wear it as often as I should because I can never find my nude underwear… wow life is tough right?
A quick reminder it’s an old New Look pattern I got from sewingpatterns.com to print at home. It’s an absolute pain in the butt to sort as you need special software and a licence code and there’s a limit on the number of prints allowed.
There’s a slight problem with these photos in that I’ve put on a bit of weight since I made the dress. So its tighter than it should be. I made a size 8 around the upper body and a 12 at the waist like last time. But I should have gone up to a 14 I think as it cuts in a little tighter than I hoped. A reminder for you, my measurements are currently 36A, 31, 42. I think I was a 30″ waist when I made the first dress.
The dress is so lovely to construct. I of course ditched the pencil skirt for a gathered style and this time added pockets. The only tricky part is clipping and notching the scallops properly so they turn through neatly. You need to be super accurate at getting close to but not clipping through the stitching line.
This soft and rich coloured blue chambray has tiny bicycles in it! It’s from Empress Mills currently priced £8.55. They have a few different chambray prints plus I’m in love with the jerseys they have. The bicycles are nice to wear given I’m married to a cycling fanatic who smiles when I wear it and the warm blue colour pairs perfectly with winter tights and cardigans or sandals and sunglasses!
The zipper that I installed perfectly, and matches across both waistband seams is mocking me here by stretching under my weight gain. Super annoying when I worked so hard to install it. I mean I’m still wearing it don’t get me wrong, I just hate how its pulling at the moment.
But hello, its mega cute and I’m sure I can lose an inch on my waist. If not I’ll unpick and let out the side seams. I’m not letting this pretty dress sit in my closet unworn. Maybe it’s also time for me to try another view of the pattern? It couldn’t hurt right?
Have you ever owned a fabric you’ve been too terrified to cut into? I think a lot of us have been there. It can be because it’s so beautiful or so rare or it cost you so much or it represents something much bigger about your sewing status.
I put fabrics up on a pedestal all the time, it can be a £40 silk or a £2 polyester. Its a real problem!
For me this Liberty print ticked so many of those fear boxes; it’s rare because I’ve never found Liberty chambray anywhere other than one Japanese etsy seller. It cost me a bit to buy it and ship it over as you might imagine. And it’s utterly beautiful so I wanted it in my Carline dress family.
I decided a safe bet would be to sew a pattern I’d made before but with a few tweaks. I’d loved making the Elisalex because of the great fitting princess seams and wanted to try adding sleeves to make the dress more versatile. I skipped the instructions for the sleeve insertion and used the clean insertion method which I’ve used a few times – video close up here. I really should post my own version of this tutorial as I think the original post photos are a little hard to see.
With this technique the sleeve is fully enclosed in the bodice lining for a very professional finish. The draft of the sleeves is excellent by the way!
I also swapped out the skirt pleats for gathers as I think the pleats fell a little funny on my lower half.
Seeing photos of the back still makes me smile with it’s gorgeous swooped neckline… makes me sad I can’t see my back when I wear it! Thought I’d need some kind of flamingo or giraffe neck for that to be possible. For the zipper I’m not over the moon with my invisible zipper. Even after installing what feels like a thousand, there are just some that don’t want to stay hidden at the intersections of the seams, even when everything has been graded and stitched properly. This is why my heart belongs to lapped zippers. I might unpick and redo.
As you saw at the start I thought I’d copy Gertie and make a sailor inspired number but changed my mind as I lay the binding on. Maybe it’s plain but I love it. And if down the line I want to fancy it up I can hand-stitch trim on top!
What do think? Add some trim or leave it plain?