Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Pauline Alice Seda Dress

I've been interested in sewing the Pauline Alice Seda dress pretty much since it was released, but for some reason other patterns kept beating it to the top of my sewing queue. The sleeveless version of Seda was one of my options for a dress to wear to my brother's wedding last year, but it got pipped to the post by Simplicity 1418 instead. The Seda kept hovering in the background of my sewing plans though, so I decided to include it in my 2017 Make Nine list.

It's not really surprising that I was attracted to the Seda pattern; it's my favoured fit and flare silhouette, with the added interest of off-the-shoulder short sleeves, a hip yoke and gathered skirt in view A, and a contrast bodice yoke, elbow length sleeves and a simple gathered skirt in view B. You've probably already guessed from those descriptions and the photos that I chose to make view B.

At this point I should say that this isn't entirely a Seda dress - I actually ended up using the skirt pieces from the Emery dress. I did that because the Seda skirt pieces are wider and I was ever-so-slightly short of my main fabric and couldn't quite fit everything in with those wider pieces. Rather than mess about with the Seda pattern pieces, I decided to use the Emery skirt pattern - it's just that bit slimmer that it made it possible for me to get everything out of the fabric that I had. The final look of the two skirts is very similar though, so this isn't too far from a true Seda.

Another change I made was to extend the centre back zip up into the yoke section, whereas the pattern intends for the zip to finish at the top of the main bodice section and for the centre back of the yoke to be open, closing with a small button and loop/hook and eye set at the neckline. That's just a personal preference, mainly because I find neckline buttons/hooks & eyes slightly fiddly to do up.

In terms of sizing, I used a size 44 at the bust, grading out to a 46 at the waist (with my standard addition of 1 inch to the bodice length). In each case, that's a size up from the sizes that my measurements put me in, but when I made up a toile in my actual size it came out just-about-fitting but a bit too tight to be comfortable. In hindsight, this may or may not have been due to the fact that I made the toile on Easter Monday and it had been a bit of an indulgent weekend! As it turns out, the final dress is a little looser than most of my woven dresses, but I quite like the slightly relaxed fit so it's all good.

The main fabric is a very cute origami boat print chambray that I got from Guthrie & Ghani on a recent trip to Birmingham with some lovely fellow Bristol sewists. It's out of stock now (I got the last of it - hence having slightly less than I really needed!), but they have some other lovely chambrays. The yoke section is some white Swiss dot cotton left over from making my Granville shirt, and I underlined it with some plain white cotton lawn to reduce the sheerness. I really love the combination of the two fabrics together.

The pattern was fun to sew - the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and I'm pleased with the end result, so I'm glad that I finally got around to making the Seda dress. The fact that the print is slightly more muted than some of my other dresses also gives me a nice opportunity to wear my lovely Isa Duval brooch. I treated myself to it a couple of weeks ago and I love how it brightens up plainer outfits.

I'm also happy to be able to tick another item off my Make Nine list - I'm now 3 down (my Aldaia and needlecord dresses are the other two), with another 2 well underway. Have you got a Make Nine list? If you have, how's your progress going?


  1. What great fabrics to combine. I have just brought some silk and viscose swiss dot. Its luxurious but very see through. Yet Lining it will ruin its floaty-ness Good idea just to use it for the neck yoke. Lovely.

    1. That's always a problem with floaty fabrics, isn't it? Would making a top and a separate cami to wear underneath solve the problem?


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