adult's clothing · sewing

linen Lily

I’ve lapsed into post-Christmas-pre-New-Year lethargy. Despite having plenty of photos up on flickr all awaiting blog posts, I’ve sat back and done pretty much nothing. Well, not entirely nothing – I have managed to cut out a flat cap for my Dad, which will hopefully be assembled this afternoon. And I’ve cut out a Cherish dress for my Mum – also to be assembled this afternoon. And I’ve cut out a Tiramisu and a sleeveless Lily for myself, and have been to Spotty to purchase some yarn dyed linen for summer pants – so clearly, I haven’t been stagnating completely in the crafty sphere. Just the computer sphere. The hook has been moving too.

But, I digress! My Christmas Day Lily dress was finished at around 11.00pm on Christmas Eve, after some issues with Stella’s Christmas Day dress earlier in the day that delayed sewing mine any earlier. Since I’d used the pattern before, it was pretty quick and I reckon that I had this dress assembled in around two hours (it was already cut out).

Tessuti Lily dress in Fabric Store linen - for Christmas day

Yes, I was happy with how this dress turned out. I love this dress! The colour is absolutely perfect for me. The linen came from The Fabric Store, and is a luscious burnt orange. I wish that I’d taken note of the colour description on the label though and remembered what they called it! There are few things that I did differently to the instructions, so I thought that for future reference I’d post them all here.

Lily dress in progress - back neckline stabilisation

Firstly, the neckline. I stabilised the neckline with Formband Bias Tape. I didn’t use the tearaway vilene stays described in the instructions at all. Instead, I ironed the Formband Bias Tape on to the neckline, both front and back, with the wider part on the seam allowance and the edge of the tape on the edge of the fabric. The line of stitching on the tape is pretty much where the neck binding will be stitched. The above photo is the back, and the below photo is the front.

Lily dress in progress - front neckline stabilisation

I then sewed the front and back together at the shoulder seams. The next step was to make the neck binding. The pattern piece seemed WAY too long, so I pretty much threw it out after taking note of the width that they suggested. I roughly measured the neck edge, and cut a bias strip 1.25 inches wide by a bit longer than the length that I’d measured. I laid this strip around the neck edge to determine the exact length, with raw edge to raw edge. Then the strip was cut to length, with a little extra for a seam allowance. The short ends were then seamed into a circle, and the band pressed in half lengthwise wrong side together so that there were two raw edges together along the length and a fold along the other length. Clear as mud?

Lily dress in progress - 1.25 inch bias band, measured to size, joined, folded in half and pressed

I pin marked centre front and centre back on the band and on the neckline, pinned the band to the neckline aligning the raw edges at these points, then pinned the rest of the band in place every couple of inches or so. I always pin perpendicular to the edge when doing this.   The band was then stitched in place with the recommended seam allowance, which I think was about 1/4 inch. I turned the band to the inside, and ironed it down. The bias cut allowed it to curve nicely around.

Lily dress in progress - neck bind attached, pressed to inside

Then I pinned this down – pins perpendicular once again, and edge stitched the band in place. This gives a nice finish on the outside and inside without any ripples and because of the tape it is quite stable.

Lily dress in progress - neck binding topstitched in place

When I make a sleeveless version – which will happen over the next few weeks – I’ll use the same technique to face the armholes. I love the effect that you get with a bias strip for these types of garments, and they’re much easier to wear than facings. I’ve also taken a couple of photos of the pockets in progress, since they are something that lots of people have had some difficulty with when making this dress. Tessuti have an extensive tutorial for this over on their blog here. First, the pockets with side and bottom hems pressed in place and the top hem pressed and top-stitched (the pocket on the right).

Lily dress in progress - pockets

And from the right side:

Lily dress in progress - pockets

Then with the top pleats/folds done:

Lily dress in progress - pockets

I think that the key with the pockets is to not over think and over complicate  it! But looking at mine as compared to the tutorial, I haven’t twisted them as deeply as Tessuti have.  Not that it matters much, but I must have skimmed over that part of the instructions!  The sleeves for this dress are super simple, but they are beautifully drafted and the sleeve cap eases into place perfectly with one row of easing stitches. I did take about one and a half inches out of the sleeve length by folding the pattern up a bit about half way up. Do make sure that you transfer your notch markings so that you can set the sleeve in easily.

Lily dress in progress - sleeves

The hem tucks are also quite easy – a few folds, staystitched in place, that are then stitched down when you do the hem. I used double sided fusible tape to secure the first fold of the hem and stabilise the bias of the skirt curve. The second fold up of the hem was top stitched down, just like the topstitching around the double fold of the sleeve hem.

Lily dress in progress - hem pleats

This was such a comfortable dress for Christmas – it didn’t matter how much food and drink I managed to consume, it still fitted – and it has really convinced me that I need to sew with and wear linen more often. You can see in this photo how nicely the back bias neckline sits against my upper back, despite my emerging dowager’s hump.

Tessuti Lily dress in Fabric Store linen - for Christmas day

It matched very nicely with my Elk necklace and bracelet, and I paired it with some Funkis clogs for the day. This solid linen is also a terrific background for contrast necklaces and scarves. I’m sure that I’m going to get loads of wear from it! As always, I love the pockets.

Tessuti Lily dress in Fabric Store linen - for Christmas day

It also went beautifully with my new Christmas gift handbag (from B.Sirius – and yes, I bought it to give to myself).

new bag from b.sirius

So that’s two Lily dresses for me. But there is a sleeveless one to come. And Mum and I went shopping yesterday and bought some beautiful linen for her to make one too. I know why this is such a popular pattern!  Perfect for the Australian summer.

Tessuti Lily dress in Fabric Store linen - for Christmas day
I’m particularly enjoying the end of year sewing review posts that some bloggers are doing. It’s very interesting to see what they’ve sewn, what their favourites are and what their failures have been, their inspirations, lessons learned, and future goals. I might even get around to doing that too – but with my current blogging lethargy it’s not likely to happy for a couple of weeks!


11 thoughts on “linen Lily

  1. I love the color of this dress and the fullness…like you said a great summer dress. But I have to tell you that it is so weird that it’s summer there and winter here…sewing really has become a global thing, has it?

  2. looks fantastic Lara, and so glad father christmas bought you a lovely bag 🙂 He bought my a rather expensive 2013 diary in a very similar colour to your dress. I understand he told the lady in the shop that sometimes, if you want the christmas shopping done just right, you really have to do it yourself. 😉 Happy New year.

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