The problem with winter blogging? No natural daylight! I’ve had this post drafted for a few weeks now and have actually worn the black dress in question so often that the fabric is starting to bobble! So what’s a girl to do but make another one?……
You know those days where you need to look vaguely presentable, but it’s cold and really all you want to do is hibernate?
I’ve found the perfect dress for them! The Nina Lee Southbank dress is just the thing! (although it would help if my brain would remember that it’s SouthBANK and not SouthPORT!)
I impulse bought this simply because I was having just one of those days where I wanted to be snuggly warm and had totally failed to find anything smartish in my wardrobe that fit the bill. The pattern comes with three variations; a dress, a top and a cropped jumper (which I may well never make!) It recommends you make this up in different weight jerseys depending on the view you’re making.
I chose view A (the dress) and in my eagerness to get on, raided the stash for some black fleece backed sweatshirting I got from The Shuttle yonks ago with no specific pattern in mind. I used well under 2m for the full dress which was great.
It turned out that the fairly stable sweatshirting was the perfect match for the dress; it has sufficient body to not cling to every lump and bump. There is very little stretch in it so it is a little bit of a tug to get it over my head (admittedly, my head’s quite big!) but it’s totally do-able and completely comfortable once on.
As usual for me, I fell between sizes, so I graded one size up on the hip. The resultant dress is pretty short for me, but actually in this plain fabric with thick black tights it feels fine; any longer and I think it might veer into being slightly frumpy?
As it is, I’m surprised by quite how put together and smart this feels, considering it was made as secret pyjamas. I think the proportion on it work really well and it’s perfect for throwing on with smart boots before heading out the door.
The only problem I had was with the pockets. Now normally, I’m a pockets-all-the-way kind of girl, however on this dress, I didn’t feel that they worked at all. I chose to make them in a plain black single jersey (because I didn’t think that another two layers of my thick black sweatshirting placed at the hips would be ideal) but I found that even then, they showed through. They also caused the side seam to gape and in the end, I sewed the seam up over them. Next time around, I won’t even bother putting them in; imagine me not using the pocket pattern! Unheard of!
So there’s a fighting chance I might get to do the school pick up on my working from home day looking less like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards! Result!
(Apologies for the less than perfect photos; the combination of plain black and total lack of natural light at this time of year is a nightmare!)
So that was version 1. My second version took even less time to make as I decided to omit the pockets from the get go; I haven’t really missed them too much in the black version and I again chose a bulky sweatshirt fabric so thought they’d show through anyway.
The fabric here was a freebie! I was lucky enough to win the monthly prize from Laura’s Wardrobe Builder project a few months ago and was sent a £30 Sewisfaction voucher. Determined not to just blow it, I lurked around the site for quite a while, weighing up my options.
In the end I went for this quilted sweatshirting which I’ve seen in various shades of grey. However, I broke with tradition and went pink!
I don’t think this is my absolute best colour in the world but I think it’s good enough and the fabric feels amazing; so soft and warm, it’s quilted so it’s just what I want to wear in this weather!
So now all I need to do is crack on with version 3 (yes I do already have the fabric lined up!)
Pattern: Nina Lee Southbank dress
My measurements: bust 35″: waist 31″: hip 41″
Size cut: 10 on top grading to a 12 at the hips
Adjustments made: none
Fabric: Fleece backed sweatshirting from The Shuttle at Shipley
Quilted sweatshirting in pink from Sewisfaction
Future adjustments: Nope
Make again: Definitely! I got some knit textured ponte at the Knitting and Stitching Show for another dress and I need to try the top version in something with a lot more drape. Fantastic pattern!