Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sew Over It Doris Dress

I'm a sucker for shiny new things. Be it patterns, fabric, or books, I'm probably an online marketer's dream, not least because I spend all of my working life in front of a computer and, being as I'm self-employed, there's no need to worry about my boss finding out that I've been shopping instead of working! To give me credit, I have been trying, and largely succeeding, not to get drawn in to the excitement of a new release. But sometimes there's something that's just too pretty to resist, and for me the Sew Over It Doris dress pattern was one of those things.

I remember seeing and loving the photos of the Doris dress when Sew Over It first released it as a class, and hoped that at some point she'd find her way into their pattern collection. So when my wish was granted, Doris jumped straight into my shopping cart and hopped to the top of my sewing queue.

The Doris dress has a lovely scoop neck bodice, that's shaped with bust pleats and has little grown-on sleeves. The waist is semi-fitted and can be cinched in with attached ties (the option I chose), or a back belt. The skirt is panelled, and has a really pretty flared shape, which the wind is kindly demonstrating to you in the photo below.

The skirt comes in two lengths - above and below the knee. I chose the longer length, which ends at a perfect knee length on me (I'm about 5 ft 9), which I'm pleased with as below the knee often tends towards frumpy on me.

The pattern all came together smoothly (notches and pleats matched up perfectly etc.) and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. The pattern is rated as intermediate, but I think a confident beginner would be fine sewing Doris - as long as you're happy inserting a concealed zip I don't think there's anything else too complicated here.

One point to mention is that if you have a non-directional print then you probably won't need as much fabric as stated on the fabric requirements - I used about 2.6 metres of Liberty-width fabric.

In Sew Over It's sizes, I fall right between a 12 and a 14, with my bust being closer to a 12 and my waist being closer to a 14 (and my hips probably over a 14, but to be honest I never pay much attention to my hip measurement because I always make full skirts so I know there'll be plenty of hip space). I used the size 12 from the shoulder to the underarm, and gradually blended out from the underarm to a 14 at the waist. I also added 1.5 inches to the bodice length, which is fairly standard for me.

I'm happy with the fit - in some of the pictures it looks like I have excess fabric in the upper back, but I can't see that when I'm wearing it in real life so I'm inclined to blame weird posture whilst prancing around trying to look natural for photos!

The skirt shape and grown-on sleeves of the Doris dress really need some nice lightweight material, and while a drapey viscose would have been ideal, I love an opportunity to use some Liberty lawn. And I think it has just about enough drape for Doris so it's all good!

The Liberty aficionados among you will probably recognise that the print I used is Glenjade, and I got it from Katsfabrics on ebay (which, if you don't know, sells factory seconds so you can get Liberty a bit cheaper!). The buttons were a lucky find in my local knitting shop - and you may have noticed that I didn't bother with the buttonholes. The dress has a side zip meaning there's no need to have functioning buttons, so I just sewed them on through both layers of the bodice.

I think that Doris is a really pretty dress. I tried out a little experiment, and I think the back ties also look good tied at the front as in the photo above, although I think it might make the back look a bit weird! Overall, I think it's probably better with the ties at the back as intended, but I'll remember this option if the ties ever get in the way of a cardigan or anything.

I'm pleased that I let my willpower cave and bought the Doris dress straightaway - it's a gorgeous pattern and I definitely intend to wear this dress a lot this summer. Where do you stand on new releases? Do you rush to buy them straightaway, or do you hold off until you've seen other people test them out?


  1. What a brilliant idea re the buttonholes - or rather non buttonholes. I will look at that pattern with fresh eyes now!

  2. Ruth, this is just gorgeous. That fabric is divine! Your selling the Doris pattern really well, I now need it!!!

    1. Thank you Louise! It's a lovely pattern, I'd definitely recommend it!

  3. This is such a lovely shape on you! I don't often see dresses with back ties but I always think it's a really pretty detail.

  4. It looks lovely on you, those buttons are beautiful. Good to hear that it didn't use as much fabric as the envelope says. I've got 3 metres of fabric that I'm planning to turn into a Doris and I was a little worried it wouldn't be enough.


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