Friday, 29 May 2015

Sewing World Sundress

Are you a fan of sewing magazines? I am, and I often check out what they're all offering each month. So it was no surprise that when I saw a pretty summer dress pattern peeping out of the shelves in Smiths from May's Sewing World magazine (issue 231), I snapped it up straight away and the dress skipped straight to the top of my sewing list. Here's my version!


The dress was designed by Metia Bethell and has a mock collar, plunge neckline, buttons down the front of the bodice secured with cute little button loops, a swishy full pleated skirt, and it's fully lined. With all those elements combined in one dress, how could this fail to be a winner?!


The sample in the magazine is made in a stripey cotton which emphasizes the lines of the mock collar and waistband really effectively. I tried to find stripey fabric of my own, but I was being picky and wanted multicoloured stripes, and nothing I could find was quite right.


I was being impatient and wanted to make the dress though so I convinced myself that as all the hearts on this fabric (a soft cotton lawn from Textile Express) are kind of in lines, it might do the same job as the stripes. It's not as distinctive as stripes, but the dress is so pretty that I don't really mind. I'm on the lookout for some multicoloured striped material for another version still though - has anyone seen any?


As this is a pattern from a magazine, you do need to trace off the pattern pieces from a multi-pattern sheet, but there aren't too many patterns on each page and I didn't have any problems with tracing.

The instructions in the magazine are fairly brief but clear. I don't think I'd recommend this dress to a complete beginner, because it does assume that you're familiar with steps such as inserting a zip, pleating and making bias binding. It is made clear that this is assumed at the start though, so I think that's fine. And actually, it's nice to have a pattern in a magazine that's not aimed just at beginners!


One thing that I found slightly odd was that it tells you to use an invisible zip, but also says to stitch the side seam up to the zip position before inserting the zip, whereas any other invisible zip instructions I've seen tell you to sew the rest of the seam after you've inserted the zip. I ignored the instructions there and followed my usual method instead.

I also went a bit off piste when it came to the armholes. The pattern has you finish them with bias binding on the outside. That looks fine with the stripes, but I thought that with my fabric it might just end up looking messy so I turned my binding inside and catch stitched it to the lining instead. It means my armholes have ended up being ever so slightly bigger, but they still fit nicely so that's fine.


There aren't any finished garment measurements with the pattern, so I trusted my measurements, made a toile, and thankfully it was fairly spot on. I made a straight size 16, and just needed to make my standard adjustments to add a bit of length to the bodice and skirt. Because of the extra length, I also added an extra button, but those were the only changes I made.


I'm really pleased with this dress. Most of my dresses tend to be "my favourite" as soon as I've finished them, but this is one of the ones that I think will stay in favour even as newer additions appear in my wardrobe. It's a great shape, the fabric feels lovely to wear and all those colours mean that it'll go with plenty of cardigans/shoes and, most importantly, it makes me happy! What's your favourite thing you've sewn recently?

39 comments:

  1. I just love love love this dress! The buttons are such cute details and the collar/neckline is so pretty! I hope you find your rainbow striped fabric, because I definitely want to see that! :D

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    1. Thank you! I'm definitely keeping my eye out for some stripes so hopefully that version will make an appearance at some point!

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  2. GORGEOUS! I want to steal this dress away from you. It fits you perfectly, and the fabric is awesome.

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    1. Thank you! I'll have to keep it safe to make sure nobody steals it! :)

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  3. Sweet Dress ... i like it !

    Liebgruß Doreen

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    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased with it!

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  4. This dress is *beautiful*, as is your backdrop! It looks so summery where you are. At the other end of the country in Scotland I'm sitting here wearing two cardigans. We've had hail this week.... HAIL!

    Back to the dress... the fit looks spot on and I love your colourful fabric choice. The little loops for the buttons is a really sweet detail too, a nice change from buttonholes. I'm starting to think I need to browse sewing magazines more often!

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    1. Aww, thank you! If it's any consolation, the photos make it look much more summery than it actually is - Bristol's probably a bit warmer than Scotland but I did need a cardigan as soon as we'd finished taking the photos. It's definitely worth keeping an eye out on the sewing magazines - they're often a bit cushion/home decor/bag oriented, but there are sometimes some great dressmaking patterns too!

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  5. haha...I'm the exact same way. My favourite is always the dress I just completed!

    In this case, your hearts dress will likely remain a favourite for a very long time! I adore it! All the details you've mentioned really make this a one of a kind pattern! And I WANT! I have no idea if this magazine is available in Canada, but I will take a look. To be honest, I don't look at any sewing magazines at all...it will be interesting to see what we do have on our shelves. My local Fabricland has a multi-striped fabric that I've been eyeing...white, blues, purples, green I think. Good luck with your search! Tell us please, do you have a crinoline on underneath, or is the fullness just from the pleats! If you say just from the pleats, I will melt with envy, :).

    My most recent favourite make is my latest dress, no surprise there.

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    1. Thank Sue! Glad I'm not the only one who is always biased in favour of the most recent dress!
      I always keep an eye on the magazines here - every now and then a gem like this appears so it's worth keeping a look out. No, there's no crinoline under the dress - I think the fullness comes from a combination of the pleats (the skirt pieces for my size take up the majority of 60 inch wide fabric), a full gathered lining and the fact that it was a windy day so that was making the skirt inflate a bit!!
      That stripey fabric sounds lovely - I'll look forward to seeing if it appears on your blog at some point!

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  6. My favourite make? The last thing I made! Ha! This is gorgeous, it might not have been the fabric you wanted originally but it is perfect- so colourful and fun. Great shape on you too, a real winner!

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    1. Haha, a woman after my own heart in terms of favourite projects then! It is a lovely shape - I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be just my style!

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  7. Fabulous dress, Ruth, well done. Looking forward to seeing the stripy version, stripes are my favourite.
    Joy x x

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    1. Thank you Joy! I'd better keep on looking for those stripes then!

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  8. This is the one sewing mag I don't buy, so missed this pattern, it's lovely and I really like the hearts.

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    1. Thank you! It's probably the sewing mag that I buy least often because there's not a massive amount of dressmaking, but they do have some lovely patterns every now and then!

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  9. This is gorgeous! I love the collar and buttons, and also the fabric. I don't tend to buy sewing magazines, as I've found I never make anything from them.

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    1. Thank you! I really love the collar too, and so pleased I found the fabric. I find that if I want to make something from a magazine, I have to make it almost as soon as I buy the magazine or it gets forgotten!

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  10. Finally, a dress pattern from a magazine that I would actually consider. It is a lovely shape and all those details. You so happy in this dress - I have no doubt it will remain a favourite for a long time!

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    1. Thanks Claire! I know, lots of magazine dress patterns are often a bit uninspiring aren't they? Glad that I spotted this one!

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  11. such a fun and pretty dress. Looks like a great pattern ;o)

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    1. Thank you! It really is a lovely pattern!

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  12. It's SOOOOO PREEEETTTTTYYYYYY! Make more of these. Love it!

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    1. Thank you! I wouldn't take much persuading to make more of these!

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  13. Hi, looks lovely! Two, probably very silly questions - what is a mock collar and do the buttons actually button up the front and it is actually just a decorative feature? Thanks!

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    1. Hello! Not silly questions at all! The mock collar is actually part of the main bodice, not a separate collar piece that is sewn on. The edge of the front is just folded over along a roll line and the facing is then visible as the "collar". It's then caught in the shoulder seams, and there's no collar at all on the back of the dress. Does that make sense? And yes, the buttons do actually function but personally I don't actually need to undo them to get the dress on an off (there's a side zip too) so you could leave off the button loops and just sew the placket closed with decorative buttons if you wanted to I guess.

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  14. As always you are inspiring me to 1. Get my hands on that pattern and 2. Finally start to sew with pretty patterned fabric. The dress turned out amazing and it suits you so well. More blue :) and yes - whatever I finish it is my new favourite piece of clothes ( except when I had a terrible time sewing it or it does not fit).

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    1. Always happy to provide inspiration! I think you would really like this pattern - it's such a pretty dress. Yes, more blue! But I figure that it's OK because there are a lot of other colours in there too. It seems that lots of people always like their most recent project the best!

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  15. Beautiful dress! It's such a great feeling to watch a new favorite dress emerge as your sewing. I recently made my new favorite dres, Dress Y from Stylish Dress Book Wear With Freedom.

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    1. Thank you! I often end up thinking I'm not going to like things mid-sewing, and only like them once they're finished - but with this one I was really pleased the whole way through!

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  16. You've done a fantastic job, both you and the dress look gorgeous! xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm so pleased with how this one turned out!

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  17. Another totally cute dress! Great photos too! Just love countryside bikerides/walks.

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    1. Thank you! I always like to combine taking blog photos with a nice walk!

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  18. This looks lovely! I've been looking for a button up dress with shawl collar so I might have to see if I can borrow a copy of this from a friend. Great fabric choice! Textile express have great lawns

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    1. Thank you! It is a lovely pattern - I'd definitely recommend trying it. If you have trouble getting your hands on a copy and you want to sew it, let me know - you could always borrow mine!

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  19. This looks lovely! I've been looking for a button up dress with shawl collar so I might have to see if I can borrow a copy of this from a friend. Great fabric choice! Textile express have great lawns

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