Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

I AM Cassiopée – or am I?

It looks like I’m on a bit of an I AM Patterns kick at the moment!

This time I’ve made the Cassiopée dress!

I’ve seen the dress a few times on instagram recently and it’s been on my radar since I discovered I AM Patterns a little while ago. I was never 100% sure about how it would look on me but I loved the idea of that raglan dolman sleeve and that easy fit style.

I’m always attracted to these loose fit dresses – I love super comfy clothing – but I’m aware that my body shape doesn’t lend itself well to that style! That being said it doesn’t stop me trying them!

The Cassiopée dress is oversized with a short bodice and a gathered skirt. There’s an option for short sleeves with a free expansion pack available to download from I AM.

I decided that I wanted to make this dress out of a gorgeous coral tropical print cotton lawn that I picked up from Guthrie & Ghani last October. I only had 2 metres of fabric (so about a metre short of the required amount) but I was determined to make it work!

For alterations, I shortened the bodice by 1cm on the front and back. They already look short on the pattern pieces but I was aware that this was designed for someone taller than me! That means that proportionally, I’d still need to shorten it.

When I got to the skirt I just ignored the pattern piece. There was no way I’d be able to get the 2 pieces cut out from the fabric I had so I opted to just take the full width of the fabric and gather that to make the skirt.

That had 2 benefits – one was that I could actually finish the dress with the fabric I had, the other being that this reduced the amount of volume at the waist. I figured this would help it look a lot less bulky there!

From the scraps of fabric leftover, I managed to eek out 2 patch pockets for the front of the skirt!

I sewed the whole thing using French seams which is something don’t do very often – I find it a bit tedious to do even if it does produce a beautiful finish! But my overlocker was in the repair shop so I didn’t have a lot of choice!

I think if I had followed the skirt pattern to the letter I would have found that the dress made me look a lot larger. Even as it is, there’s so much ease in it!

I had it planned as a transitional dress – one I could wear with tights and a sweater in colder weather or with sandals in the summer. But I’ve found that the cotton lawn does not play well with layers! So this make will be going back into my wardrobe to be brought out for summer!

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