Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Bertie Dress // Seamwork

I treated myself to a year’s unlimited Seamwork subscription late last year whilst they had a half price discount going on. For $90USD it seemed good value for the amount of patterns you’d get access to and, of course, all the new ones that would get released in the year.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think Seamwork are the most exciting or cutting edge of sewing pattern brands but they have a really good variety of basics (especially loungewear) mostly aimed at beginners and intermediate sewers which cover a huge range of styles. Considering my penchant for comfy clothes right now, it seemed to fit my current mood! I also knew I’d be able to take the basic patterns and then use them almost as a block for whatever else I wanted to make!

Saying that, I did decide to just make a pretty dress for my first Seamwork make!

The Bertie dress was actually the only dress that I wanted to make as is was. It had a cute boho casual kind of feel (which I’m really into) with a V neck button front, gathered waist and long sleeves finishing with a tie at the wrist.

I already had the perfect fabric for it so I knew I wanted to start with this one!

I used a woven viscose print from Stoff and Stil (soon to be renamed to Self Made) that I got last year and never got round to using. I loved the colourway for this ditsy print – the neon yellow and pink on the beige background I felt was quite unusual!

I assessed the pattern quite thoroughly before starting this project. I hadn’t made any Seamwork patterns before (at least no woven fabric ones anyway!) so I wanted to get an idea for the fit and what adjustments I might need as I knew that the patterns are drafted for a height of 5’8. Straight off the bat, I shortened the bodice by 2cm. I also took it in by 1cm at the shoulder and lowered the neckline by 2cm. I debated whether to shorten the length of the sleeve and skirt but decided against it as I figured the longer length would kind of work with the style of the dress.

It’s a straightforward enough make I think. The neckline is finished with a facing and the main bulk of the dress is sewn up before the front button bands are added.

The waist seam is sewn to one side to create a channel which is supposed to contain elastic to gather the seam. I wasn’t super keen on adding elastic (personal preference!) and instead added some buttonholes on either side in the middle of the channel. I used the full width of the fabric cut into a strip to sew a rouleau loop and threaded it through.

The fitting adjustments worked pretty well for me! I think I could have taken it even further in at the shoulder – maybe another centimetre on either side but it’s better than a lot of my other makes! The only negative about the sew (and this is my fault entirely) is that I think the neckline stretched a little as I sewed. I can never be bothered to stay stitch so this really serves me right! 😂

I really love the sleeve in particular on this make. The puffed gathered head and the cute tied cuffs really speak to me!

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