I’m alive! (Just in case any of you were wondering… 😂)
So it’s been a loooooong while since my last post. There was no reason in particular for the break – I had a bit of a sewing slump in April/ May time and had a few weeks without making anything at all. After that, I was just busy I guess! With the choice between having time to make things or blog about about making things, I opted for the former!
My sew-jo has luckily returned in full force as it normally does in the summer. I’ve got an upcoming trip to Sicily planned (fingers crossed we won’t get caught up in all the recent flight cancellations) and I find a holiday is always great inspiration for a summer wardrobe!
Today’s post is all about a new summer dress I made! I bought a green and white polka dot viscose fabric from Fabrics Galore in their relatively recent birthday sale – at 30% off I couldn’t resist! (Funny fact – my sister had coincidentally bought the same fabric in the sale so now we have unintentionally matching dresses…). I’ve seen so many dresses in very similar fabric out and about this summer. This particular shade of green just seems to be everywhere at the mo!
I initially planned to make a new By Hand London Sabrina dress as I’d made one quite a few years ago which was getting a little tight! I loved my daisy dress but I no longer felt decent wearing it! 😂😅. Unfortunately I had cut into my first print of the pattern so I didn’t have the option of just tracing off a different size (this is why I’m usually Team Trace!). Instead of reprinting and spending hours cutting and sticking an A4 pattern together and still having to adjust it to fit, I decided to take the opportunity to draft my own dress inspired by it!
Some may say this is more effort than sticking together a pdf pattern but I say it’s the same but way more fun!
I had planned to make my own dress block for quite a long time now. I’d outgrown my first set which my mum had made for me (unsurprisingly I’m much bigger than I was aged 18!). I technically had all the materials and tools at my disposal but never found the time. Instead I took an easy out with the new Hobbycraft Made to Measure Patterns!
(Heads up, this is not an ad. I purchased this pattern for my own use, however I was paid to model in the Hobbycraft advertising campaign for their new patterns so if you click through and see my face I can only apologise… 😂).
The patterns work by creating a portfolio of measurements for your body. They’re really in depth and some can be super hard to measure yourself so I highly recommend finding a buddy to help you out! It’s 35 different measurements for the whole body and even requires a photo to check the balance of the shoulders.
I bought the fitted dress bodice block which comes under their “Pro Patterns”. This block has a fitted sleeve, bust and fisheye darts and centre back seam. There’s no seam allowance included but it does have the added ease suitable for a dress built in (around 2 inches).
Once you’ve entered your measurements, you can generate your pattern. You can only download one paper size so you need to make a big commitment here and choose between being able to print at home or printing at a copy shop as you can’t change this later (this a major failing in my opinion!). I opted for the A0 size to send off to the printers.
I did a quick mock up in a quilting cotton to test and was pleasantly surprised at how well it fitted! I feel like I shouldn’t have been at the same time but there’s something about these computer generated patterns that I’m a little wary about though may be more to do with my measuring skills more than anything!
Using the block as the starting point, I drew out a pattern for a princess seamed strappy sundress with a relatively straight skirt. I made a narrow button front opening and kept a high side slit in the left leg. I made the neckline a sweetheart and added a little dip in the back.
I went straight in and cut my main fabric. Bold I know! I knew I’d need to take it in slightly at some point as the ease built into a sleeved dress just isn’t needed with a strappy dress like this and a more fitted bodice would be preferable but I decided to alter this as part of the sewing so I could test fit as I went and make adjustments.
I ended up only needing to take in the side seams by 1.5cm on each side for a really good fit over the bust. I did a half lining (to the waist) to finish the neckline and allow a really smooth finish as there’s no lumps from a facing.
I love love love how this turned out. It’s exactly like I imagined it would be.
The fit is great and actually better than when I made the Sabrina dress previously (I remember having to do lots of bust adjustments at the time). I like the shape and the straight lines of the skirt. If I made a shorter version though, I’d definitely make the skirt more A line instead.
This was a really inspiring and motivating project as I really got into the pattern drafting process and helped me remember why I’ve always loved it! Now that I’ve got a block that I know fits me really well, I’m hopefully going to be able to do lots more of it!