One small benefit of being on lockdown and on a reduced income in our household like many others, is using this time to work through my fabric stash. I can’t really justify spending on fabric at the moment when I have a few pieces at home already.
Whilst rummaging through it last week, I found this lovely soft linen. I’ve had it so long I cannot remember where I bought it from, but I really wanted to use it to make a dress, especially as linen is so comfortable to wear during this warm spell that we are having at the moment.
The pattern that immediately sprung to mind was the I Am Patterns Perle. Isn’t it a pretty pattern? It’s one that I’ve had for a little while now, and luckily I had *just* enough fabric for it. How satisfying to have exactly the right amount of fabric with zero leftover!
It’s a simple classic wrap dress with a belt tie and ruffles around the neckline/dress front edge and cuffs. I absolutely love this design.
It really is very simple to sew, and if you like gathering then this is a dream! I don’t, but I absolutely LOVE ruffles, so it’s a necessary evil! The most time consuming part of making the dress by far, is evenly gathering the ruffle piece that runs around the neckline and down the front edge of the dress. This strip is about 3.5 metres long (before gathering) and so I sectioned up the dress and the strip and gathered it up in sections to make sure they would be as even as possible. It was totally worth all the effort!
I finished the edges of the ruffle pieces by using the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Perhaps not the best thread colour match, maybe a tad too pale, but at times like these you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got, yes? The neat finish of the finished edge was just what I wanted, and I quite enjoyed using my over locker for something different than I usually use it for. For this finish I needed to lower the blade and use 3 threads rather than the usual 4.
So that’s all well and good, but as this is the first time that I had sewn this pattern I needed to make a few adjustments for me which I will use the next time I make it. Take a deep breath – there are a few ..
Firstly, the sleeves were a little too wide at the cuff for my liking. Luckily I pinned these and tried on before sewing so I was able to taper the sleeve seam from the underarm to the cuff. Nothing major there. I might make them a little shorter next time too.
The main problem that I found after sewing was the position of the belt ties. This is probably something to do with the fact that I am only 5’2″ but they were WAY too low for me. I understand that the design of the dress wants you to tie the dress with a ‘tucked’ look, but let me show you how low the position was on me ..
The position of the waist ties needed to be raised by about 6 or 7 inches. Now ideally I would have shortened the pattern at some point above the position of the waist ties before cutting out, but as this was effectively my ‘toile’ it was too late. So to make it fit I had to take drastic measures. I cut off both the belts and saved the longer belt piece to make a separate loose belt. I sewed up the small openings in the side seams where the original belt would have been threaded through and attached slim ribbons inside that tied the dress from the inside securely before the final wrap and belt. These stop the inside front of the dress from dropping down below the outside cross over, Does that make sense – you know the sort of ribbons you often find inside your dressing gown.
By raising the position of the ‘waistline’ it has meant that the ‘skirt’ section of the dress is very much longer now. Again factor in my height, but I kind of like this length anyway. This of course would have been easy to shorten if I had wanted to.
Whilst not ideal, it fixed the problem, and like I say, I will make adjustments to the pattern piece before cutting next time. The only small thing now is the edge of the front wrap ruffle on the ‘skirt’ where the belt was originally attached is slightly shaped, rather than hanging precisely vertically, but this is barely noticeable and doesn’t bother me. You might be able to see that slightly shaped ruffle edge on the above mirror photo.
To stop the v-neck from gaping, I sewed a short length of stitching along the row of existing stitching to keep this neatly in place. I can still pop this on over my head. You could also use a press stud or something similar.
Necklace layering accessories are the gold mirror acrylic scissors from my shop and gold roman coin necklace from Missoma.
Last but not least, the finishing touch for any Lockdown sewing project, are these stunning ‘made in self-isewlation’ labels from the lovely Sally at Modista Sewing who is selling these cuties with all profits donated to the National Emergencies Trust. She has already raised over £1000!
I look forward to making more of these beautiful dresses in the future (when I can face all that gathering again)!
Take care, I’ll be back soon,