Hello there! How’s life? Hope things are going swimmingly for you, and I don’t mean that literally (despite the floods of rain hammering down on my roof windows right now!)
The make I’ve got ready today has taken quite some time, although not because it was particularly complicated; sometimes life just gets in the way, right? Between particularly busy times at work for both me and hubby, youngest girl being ill for a fortnight, general January blues and feeling pants myself, this has been a make which I’ve snatched 20 minutes for here and there over quite some time. In some ways, that’s really frustrating and yet in others, it can be quite calming to do a little bit before bed. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
So this is my second make using the Emery dress pattern, the first being my Christmas dress. Here she is in all her foxy glory!
I made a few changes this time around. The most obvious is the short sleeves instead of long sleeves, which I think I prefer; I know it’s not exactly short sleeves weather but that is why Boden make fabulous cropped cardigans for over dresses!
This one is actually pretty cosy as I once again lined it fully rather than just lining the bodice, again using this pongee from Remnant Kings. This makes it feel satisfyingly swishy, although it may make it rather warm in summer. Time will tell.
The next change was to the skirt. I’m not the biggest fan of the old gathered skirt; I miss my waist post kids and I’m not that keen on loads of poofy material just there making things bulkier. I also hate gathering fabric so it’s not exactly a win win for me!
I managed to convert the Emery skirt pattern into a pleated skirt, which I’m inordinately proud of.
This actually isn’t all that complicated (now I’ve done it) but it took me loads of thinking time to build up to it; I think the problem was I couldn’t find many tutorials and was nervous of messing up. That would be why we have seam rippers though!
Just in case anyone else wanted to do this and was having a similar mental block, this is what I did;
- I measured the finished bodice from side seam to side seam (46.5cm).
- I measured the top of the front skirt pattern piece then reduced that by 2 seam allowances (73.5cm – 3cm = 70.5cm).
- The difference between the two is the amount that needs hiding in pleats = 27cm
- 27cm/2 = 13.5cm to hide on each side. I decided I wanted 3 pleats each side giving 4.5cm per pleat.
- I found the center of the skirt piece and measured 2″ to one side (no, I don’t know why I mixed inches and cm either!) I marked that point with a pin, marked with another pin 4.5cm along, then folded the fabric so one pin ended up on top of the other.
- I measured a set amount on from the end of that pleat (which I can’t remember and didn’t write down) then repeated twice more, wiggling things around, repining and cursing occasionally to get the bodice dart lined up with a pleat and the final pleat not overlapping the side seam.
I did the same for the other side of the front, then repeated on the back pieces, measuring again. There was slightly more spare fabric on the back so the pleats were very slightly wider.
I’m really pleased with this change, both because I’m glad I managed to work it out and because I much prefer the look of the dress with this skirt style.
I also tweaked the width of the bodice darts and increased the side seam allowance, along with transferring the reduction in bodice length from my Christmas dress back to the pattern pieces before cutting. I still feel like it doesn’t fit that brilliantly though, and I’m not sure how much of that is the necessary ease for a woven dress with sleeves and how much can be improved. I think it’s still a little long in the bodice which, when worn with a belt (which I prefer), makes the shoulders stand a little proud. It’s also looser than I prefer.
I’ve compared it to my bodice block, canvassed Instagram for help (always a great resource!) and I think I can increase the darts somewhat, compared with my bodice block. So that’s for version 3!
Let’s talk fabric, because this one I adore! I’m still slightly scared of it as it’s much bolder than I normally go for, but I adore the colour and the foxes are just plain cute! I got it from Miss Gingers ( sooo much cute fabric, don’t look if your fabric stash is as unhealthily large as mine!) and it’s called Fox and the Houndstooth. I absolutely love it! I first saw it in a dress Roisin made (I regularly drool over her gorgeous makes!), stalked the fabric for ages, trying to be sensible and not buy it. And then one day I gave in. I’m so glad I did! Although obviously meant as a quilting cotton, it feels lovely and presses well so hopefully, combined with the lining, it won’t crease too much. With a print like that, no one’s going to notice anyway, too busy eyeing up foxes!
I also had fun cutting this (unusual!) as I tried a tip I read which worked beautifully, namely if your rotary cutter is getting blunt, fold up some tinfoil and cut through it repeatedly. Worked like a charm! Bella then got in on the act which did slow the process down!
So overall this dress is a success. My 5 year old adored it (Is this good?) and insisted I wear it to her Stay and Play session at school. This was slightly intimidating (did I mention my slight uncertainty about such a loud print?) as I still find the whole school parent thing rather scary; meeting new people is not my forte and it’s just plain scary walking into the school playground and all those groups of mums who appear to know each other chatting away. However, anything to please the kids, and it worked out well; I even got a completely unsolicited compliment from one of the teachers which is always nice!
I’m also hoping that my rather dodgy blog photos are a little better on this post. Firstly, I’ve changed location into the kitchen (I must have looked insane hoisting my over-door mirror upstairs and hanging it over the curtain pole!) so there’s more natural light and I’ve also downloaded Lightroom, after reading several blog posts about it. I’ve only spent an hour or two playing with it but I’m a convert; the “before” versions of these pictures were still pretty dark (I basically have an iPhone to use so there are limits) and with just a few clicks, I have nice, bright pictures which are still true to colour – result!
Next up for me is another Emery dress, hopefully with better fit again, using this rather wonderful Liberty tana lawn. Hubby and I bought tickets for Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall for Christmas, so a special dress is called for! What do you think, long sleeves or short?
Loving the print! It really suits you, especially with the pleats. I’d like to have the bottle to wear more of any dresses during the day, but i tend to make ones for going out and then live in my jeans during the day. Once I get more organised (thanks to your previous post!!) I might make some day dresses too 😃
Thanks you! I’m trying so hard to get out of that jeans and top uniform outside work, it’s tough though. Things have to be practical (hence shiny brogues – at least I can chase the kids in those!) Day dresses are easier to make than going out ones through, the fabrics tend to be easier!
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Looks great – the pleats look like the ones on the Mortmain – I am incredibly impressed you did them yourself. I bet the kids lived seeing you in that dress. I’m on the hunt for Mad March Hare material – if you come across Amy, let me know!
The kids adore it and are eyeing up the excess metre I have left!! I can see there being a fight…xx
Err, ANY – know idea who Amy is!
I love it. You really suit that style and the fit looks spot on. I’m just getting into sewing properly too and starting my blog again, so I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts and following your journey. .
Thank you! Hope you’re enjoying sewing again!
Love this print! The pleats look great too – I need to pluck up the courage to start wearing my day dresses out and about more but jumpers and jeans are so much easier!
Aren’t they? I find it easier to wear dresses for work but I’m trying to wear them more outside work too. Weather like this has me reaching for jeans, jumpers and boots though!
Glad your wearing it out, deserves to be worn I think. Lovely dress.
That print is so cute. I love it! I prefer the pleats over the gathers too, especially with a heavier fabric. It is so difficult to get good photos at our house this time of year. Everything is so gloomy! Summer will come soon!
Thank you! I did find Lightroom made a massive difference even when the original is a bit dark: it must be designed for British winters and houses!
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Ooh what lovely fabric! And that Liberty Tana Lawn for your next Emery is fab. Definitely Yup, the pictures are lovely and bright (not that I thought there was a problem with your others), I’m a big fan of Lightroom as well. I think short sleeves for the next one. Excited to see it!
Thanks! I got some sewing done this week, very little as not well but I absolutely love the fabric. X
I love this fabric and you have done it justice in making this dress!! Great work – you definitely should wear it with confidence!
Thank you very much! 😊 don’t worry, I am wearing it regularly, I absolutely love it!