I’ll be honest, when I initially heard about #thelittlereddressproject Holiday Tag hosted by Renata of RunningNStyle, I thought that, whilst it was a great project, I probably didn’t have the time to get involved. Then the latest issue of the Love Sewing magazine dropped through my letterbox complete with a free dress pattern; the Annabelle Dress by Simple Sew (which is rather similar to the Chantilly Dress by Colette but with sleeves). I glanced through the instructions and thought it looked like a quick simple make. Then I remembered I had some red viscose that’s been laying in my stash for a while. The decision was practically made for me!
Mmm, however, I think there was a reason that fabric had lain dormant in my stash for so long. I don’t have much of a stash and what I do have tends to be sizeable offcuts from previous makes or prewashed fabric laid aside for specific future projects. This viscose fabric is a beautiful colour with a gorgeous vintage inspired print and, generally, I love working with viscose, so why the reservation? I’ll tell you why – it’s a shifty, slidey, highly fluid fabric which distorts at the merest handling. It presses beautifully and handles gathers really well, so it’s not all bad, but I didn’t enjoy working with it. I wish I’d interlined the waistband pieces at the very least, instead of just forging ahead, that would have made life so much easier when putting the dress together!
I’d made the quickest toile of the bodice just to be sure of the size and then dived straight in. It took longer than I’d envisaged, in fact way longer. I took extra care because of the malleability of the fabric but it felt less like a labour of love and more about just gritting my teeth and the grim determination to get it finished. Not my finest sewing hours, let me tell you.
The pattern itself is very straightforward, there were no head scratchy moments. Using a fabric with a tad more body would have made this a really quick sew, I’ve no doubt. It’s classed as an ‘Adventurous Beginner’. The only technical bit really is the insertion of an invisible zip into the side seam. I gave myself a bit of a pat on the back for that.
The finished dress is just okay; I want to love it but I can’t; there are issues. Firstly, I could easily have gone down a size, the waistband fits perfectly but the bodice and sleeves are too big, the neckline gapes slightly and there’s some serious bagging overall going on. How much this is down to being too large, the fabric distorting or simply down to the amount of gathers recommended in the pattern, is hard to tell. It’s probably a combination of all these elements. If I was to remake this, I’d cut the same size waistband and drop a size on all other pieces; adjusting the gathers to make the bodice and skirt fit the waistband; it’s a simple enough adjustment to make I guess. Talking of gathers, there’s something about a gathered skirt that makes me feel like I’m five years old again!
In short, I think this had the potential to be a really great dress but as it is I’m considering this a just-about wearable toile. I’m kicking myself for not sizing down so I might make it again in a more cooperative fabric; a crepe or peachskin perhaps – there were some gorgeous versions showcased inside the Love Sewing Magazine itself. I’ll have to get over the memory of making this one first though!
Oh and have you seen the shoes I was planning to wear with this dress!?! I haven’t worn them in ages and I stared at them in disbelief when I pulled them out. I’m not sure I could walk in these heels anymore, especially after a glass of ‘Christmas Spirit’, let me tell you!
Anyway, I have a dress for Christmas that’s roomy enough for me to wear and eat all the mince pies and the Husband said he likes it, so y’know, there’s that 😉 Huge thanks and a shout out to Renata for hosting – if #thelittlereddressproject runs next year, I’ll make something planned and in plenty of time!!
Also, to end on a positive note, I’ve just finished a couple of other things that I’ve yet to share with you, which I adore, including my first make and blog post as part of the Minerva Craft Blogger Network which is due to go live on the 9th January. Eek I’m all giddy with excitement! (See, I am 5 years old again!)
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!
Until next time,