Hello! Having been quiet here for a wee while (too busy sewing!) I’ve now got a double-whammy of posts coming up in quick succession (haha clearly I blog as I live!); there’s a new sewing pattern launching later today I was really happy to be part of the tester group for; I’ll post on that next but, for now, I want to share the 5 dresses I’ve recently sewn using the Sunday Dress pattern from indie designer Pattern & Cloth.
That’s right … five! I was totally enamoured by the Rosetta Dress back in the summer (I digress but doesn’t that seem ages ago already…brrr! I’ve got the heating on, cuddling up to a hot water bottle and am contemplating lighting the fire whilst writing this!) The two viscose Rosetta’s I made my daughter got so much wear that I just had to try the Sunday Dress to see if it too would prove to be a workhorse of a pattern. Five dresses later and I can safely say that yes, it’s another winner! Let me tell you why I think so (NB. in no way has Pattern & Cloth sponsored this post; all raving and foaming at the mouth, my own!)
Firstly, it’s suitable to sew in a variety of fabrics and is designed to be worn on its own or over a long sleeved top, making it a great transition piece through the seasons. Size wise, it ranges from 3 to 12 so you really have the potential to get years of wear out of it. I love the simple, non-sassy, design – it’s more fitted through the back (with an invisible zip closure at CB seam) and has a deep V pleat to the front, giving it a 60s shift dress vibe and making it really comfortable to play in. It has optional front patch pockets (for hiding snails and bits of tissue and what-not, to really mess up your laundry day 😉 and depending on the fabric and accessories you choose, it can be as hardworking or party ready as you wish! Let me demonstrate…(the construction review bit comes after!)
This is the ‘It has Flamingos What More Could You Want’ Version
I made the first of the dresses in this gorgeously snuggly soft mid-blue Flamingo print Chambray sent to me by Minerva Crafts as part of this months’ contributor allowance. (You can see that dress and read more about it over on their Blogger Network HERE). Safe to say, once I’d made that one, I realised the potential this pattern had to swathe through all the sizeable offcuts of fabric I had over-populating my fabric stash…
… and so, like a woman possessed, I upended the stash scraps to the floor, waded through, and pulled out four different fabrics I thought suitable. I then set to work, treating each dress a little differently depending on the fabric I was using.
For example, the second dress was sewn up in some 16 wale needlecord I bought years ago (you can get the superior 21 wale in the same colour ‘Stone’ here). I spent a ridiculously long time faffing around trying to choose the right colour thread and decorative stitch to create further visual interest with the topstitching, eventually settling for this…
And at my daughters’ behest, I added two cute wooden Owl buttons to the patch pockets.
This is the ‘It May Look Plain but it’s got Sassy Insides and Snails and Twigs in the Pockets, so there!’ Version!
Next up I got to play once more with this gorgeous linen / viscose blend embroidered fabric I bought ages ago from a local supplier. Those viscose fibres make this linen incredibly soft and much less prone to creasing so I figured it would be a good choice, again using the same lining fabric as the cord version. I had to be a bit careful not to snag the embroidered threads with my walking foot as I sewed but apart from that all was plain sailing.
This is the ‘I’m a 1970s Christmas Tree Bauble’ version!
In fact, by now I was whipping these dresses up in no time! Every day for a week my daughter would come home from school to a new dress!
Day Four used up this leftover Liberty poplin (from a previously made fit ‘n’ flare New Look 6205 Dress). Looking back on that make, oh gosh, how she’s changed! Then she was small for her age, now she’s built like a Warrior Princess!
The ‘it’s Liberty, Darling!’ version!
The fifth and final iteration used a poly/wool blend plaid fabric that I’d initially used to make an asymmetrical kilt with (way before my blogging days). But, for a laugh, here’s an old pic…
The kilt barely gets worn, mostly because it’s not lined and is itchy as hell! Being considerate of my daughters’ sensitive skin, I lined this dress with this cheap but fit for purpose anti-static lining fabric.
(Gah, I really wish I’d had enough fabric to cut that neckband on the bias) When she first handled this dress she waved it away because of how the wool felt in her hands, however, once I’d managed to persuade her it didn’t feel like that inside, she tried it on. And then wouldn’t take it off! The lining doing its job!
This is the ‘Green Green Grass of Home’ version!
So, having made five versions of this dress in five different fabrics, I feel really able to dissect the pattern…
Sizing – I made the first, Chambray, dress according to my daughters’ chest measurements in a size 9. I subsequently had to let out the side seams of the dress and lining to give her more room to breathe. My recommendation would be to either size up or sew those side seams at 3/8″ rather than 5/8″.
Pattern Pieces / notches etc – all good apart from the fact I think the front neckband piece is a tad long. Pin and sew as instructed from CF, trim as required and you’ll be fine. Also mark CF neckline and CF neckband with a notch. I always notch CF and CB on everything, do you?
Construction / Instructions – if you’re doing the patch pockets, sew them on before sewing up the side seams etc, it’s just easier. The pocket placement is not marked on the pattern. For reference I sewed mine on 20 cm down from the underarm seam allowance and 4.5 cm in from the side seam allowance. You are instructed to finish the top edge of the pocket only. I serged the whole to prevent fraying.
The lining is attached with a 2/8″ seam allowance. I sewed a finishing zigzag stitch within the seam allowance to strengthen / increase longevity.
You are instructed to finish the raw hem edge of the lining fabric before it’s sewn together at the side seams. I did it afterwards to sew it all in one even row.
I opted to topstitch the neck and armholes on the dresses with contrasting linings only and did so after it was sewn together. I anchored the lining fabric with a few handstitches to the main dress side seams rather than securing in place by stitching in the ditch.
Finally, finishing/serging the CB seam prior to sewing in the zip is not mentioned in the instructions but it certainly made my life easier to do so.
I really enjoyed batch sewing like this, not only is it speedier but it really consolidates skills and techniques. I can practically sew an invisible zip in with my eyes closed now. (No, don’t try that at home!! 😉
The pattern test I mentioned earlier is coming up next. Still in the theme of batch sewing, I sewed up three. Check back later if you can; in the meantime any guesses what it could be!?
See you in a few hours?
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