When I was browsing the sewing magazines in Smiths the other week, I was excited to see that this month's issue of Sewing World included a really pretty pattern for the Sweetheart dress by Sew La Di Da. It went straight to the top of my 'to-sew' list, and here's my finished dress...
What's not to love about a gorgeous full skirt and that pretty neckline?! I may have been living under a rock or something, but I hadn't really come across Sew La Di Da before I saw this dress in the magazine, but they have some beautiful patterns - I particularly like the French Gypsy and Rose dresses. They also have classes and workshops in Lyme Regis, and I love Lyme Regis so they must be good!
I cut out a straight size 14 - based on the paper pattern, I added 1 inch to the bodice sections (which is a standard adjustment for me) and then did a quick toile of the bodice to check that it would be OK, and it was. I'm pretty happy with the fit of the finished dress, the shape itself is really good but there's a tiny bit of extra space all over the dress. It really is tiny, and I don't mind this dress being a teeny bit on the big side because I'm planning that it'll be an everyday dress, and it's always good to have room to move in daily life! I think this would be a gorgeous dress to make for a special occasion too though, and if I were doing that then I'd probably use ever-so-slightly bigger seam allowances on the bodice section, particularly around the waist, to take out the slight looseness.
The instructions are presented in a fun vintage style and were really easy to follow. They're also accompanied by nice, clear black and white photos of each step so that you know you're on the right track. Tracing the pattern pieces from the pattern sheet included with the magazine was a bit of a headache, but that's the price you pay for getting the pattern free in a magazine, and I imagine wouldn't be an issue at all if you bought the paper pattern from Sew La Di Da.
At the point when you come to sewing in the back zip, the instructions tell you to try on the dress and have a friend pin you in to mark where you need the zip/seam to be. This wasn't an approach I'd used before, but it seems like it's probably a good way of helping you get a nice fit. The dress closes with an invisible zip - I'm not a massive fan of invisible zips but I thought I'd give one another go this time and I'm glad I did. And while it's not totally invisible, it is more invisible than it looks in this photo!
The material is a pretty cotton poplin that I got online from Chawla's - not the most user-friendly website in the world, but they have a good range of very reasonably priced materials if you're looking for a bargain! I thought the navy and floral print would be nice for spring, but also wouldn't look too spring-like at other times of the year. Plus it fits in perfectly with this week's Project Sewn floral theme, so I'm linking up with the sewalong there.
I hope I'll be wearing it a lot, but I'm not 100% sure - I do really like the dress and I would have worn it this weekend just gone if the weather hadn't intervened (see below), but for some reason the neckline on this one makes it feel slightly more dressy than my usual day dresses so we'll see how it goes. Speaking of necklines, the pattern also includes a lovely sweetheart neckline option (hence the name of the dress, no doubt) as well as this straight neckline that I used - I'll need to try that on another dress at some point.
I'll leave you with an obligatory twirling shot, and a warning not to try to take photos of a full-skirted dress outside in gale-force winds unless you want to be constantly battling with said skirt to avoid the world seeing your underwear!