Thursday, 3 April 2014

March's Garment - Practical Pattern Dress

I thought I'd do some more sewing for my March garment and had a look through my pattern stash to find something suitable.  I decided on this lovely pattern, before looking inside to find out that there were no markings on the pattern pieces at all - not even holes!  However, as the back of the packet assured me 'not even the youngest beginner need have any doubt as to her ability to succeed at the first attempt'.

The thing that I found most difficult about the lack of pattern markings was that there were no grain lines to help you when pinning and cutting out the fabric.  It has just dawned on me that I should have just drawn my own lines on the pattern pieces - ah well, I will for next time!  As this pattern was pre-cut, I measured myself to compare against the measurements given - although the bust was fine, I needed to add an extra two inches to the waist and hips, thankfully there were detailed instructions on how to do this in the pattern.  This meant that I added a 1/4 inch to each of the bodice and skirt pieces by cutting into the bodice piece and expanding as needed to add the 2 inch waist increase.  To add the two inches for the hips, I pinned an additional paper piece to the skirt, adding a 1/4 again.  I wasn't too sure about whether these adjustments would work - but they did and although I did a bit of alteration around the back of the bodice - thankfully it was a process of too much fabric rather than not enough.  Here is a picture of the other ways it suggests making alterations:

I bought the material from a fab shop in the centre of Birmingham called Barry's - it's a bit of trek to walk to, but completely worth it - absolutely stuffed to the rafters with lovely cotton prints at the moment.  I bought the pink fabric for a bargain of £4.95 a metre and although it frays terribly, I think I will be back to purchase it in different colours to make a whole array of these dresses.  I also bought a metre to add to my Quilting project - still in the process of collecting the material.  And also even though I haven't a clue what I'm going to use it for, I couldn't leave the cute fox fabric behind!
The dress was fairly simple to sew together, even if the instructions were a bit on the brief side in places.  I decided to completely line the dress, so cut out each piece again in the lining material.  After putting in the necessary tucks and darts I sewed the lining to the main dress wrong sides together as close to the edge as I could.  Then I used the facings (which I used the dress material with lightweight interfacing ironed on) to create the seams and top stitched the pieces together and then hand stitched the facings inside hem to the lining.  Instead of putting a pleat in the lining, I just hemmed the edges and ended the middle seam just above the pleat of the main dress.

I made a bit of a mistake with the zip - getting an invisible zip - not realising that you need a special 'invisible zip foot' to sew it in.  Therefore, I used the zip but did a normal insertion - thankfully my thread matched my dress material perfectly, so it doesn't really show up.  But I shall know for next time!

I added some button decoration to the belt - but it had it closing by press studs - maybe next time I will tackle button holes.

April is going to be a knitting month - I'm hoping that with the Easter Weekend and the fact I may have already started that I shall finish by the end of April!


  1. What a pretty make, and I love the colour!

    1. Thanks Rachel! I wasn't sure with the brightness of the pink when buying the fabric, but glad I went with it and didn't stay safe with a grey/black :)

  2. Oh, I love it and I'm envious of your vintage pattern collection. I feel as though i've fallen into a bit of a rut with my dressmaking recently, as I've been making the same couple of dresses over and over again and I want to branch out, but all the patterns I like seem to be very similar..

    1. Thanks :) my pattern stash isn't that extensive and mostly consists of patterns I got from my mum when she moved house. I need to find some good charity shops that stock them, as online you pay a fortune! I tend to only make things once, but am starting to build up a collection of patterns that I definitely want to make again.