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?