Tessuti released the Gabby dress pattern some years ago – I think it was one of their first, actually, published back in June 2012 (thanks google for helping me to find that bit out). I bought a copy when an updated version was released recently with a contrast band around the bottom. The new version has a print at copy shop option as well as a print at home on A4 paper option. You can probably guess which I did!
My sewing mojo vanished last week, but watching a couple of episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee on youtube appeared to be the way to get it going again. This dress was cut out and sewn up in somewhere between two and three hours on Sunday evening. I am a little surprised that I hadn’t been interested in making this pattern sooner!
As is often the case, much of the success of this dress comes from the fabric. It’s a rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics, bought a month or two ago (not from the $2 table I’m afraid – and this print appears to have sold out very quickly). There are loads of great colours in it. When you look at it close up it almost looks as though the colours are imitating a woven print. My husband thinks that it looks like television static. Either way, it feels very silky to the skin and enables the significant flare of the dress to drape down nicely, giving a soft and slimmer silhouette. The contrast band around the bottom also helps in that regard. It’s a viscose/rayon as well, but an ever so slightly heavier weight.
It was pretty windy when these photos were taken, and it can be hard to see the true shape of the dress. There is a little more flare in the from than in the back. As I usually find with Tessuti patterns, the neckline sits smoothly against the body. I have a feeling that they might draft for the more “mature” body shape in some ways – my high rounded back isn’t a problem in most of their designs!
This time I cut the dress out in size Small through the neckline and armholes, grading out to size Medium from the bottom of the armhole down. I did the same with the sleeve, cutting size Small around the top of the sleeve but Medium in width and at the hemline. This is something that I’ve actually been doing for years and years with my sewing, but I don’t do it every single time. It can really depend on the pattern and the cut. I think it might be a usual thing for me to do with Tessuti’s patterns from now on though.
So, to the length. I made this exactly as per the pattern length for size Medium. It’s right on my knees – at the back it hits exactly in the bend. I am 158cm tall, and this is a great length for work. The pattern suggests that you lengthen or shorten at the hemline. Just remember that this will affect the total amount of flare and the hemline width of the finished garment. It is quite possible to shorten or lengthen at a different point in the garment, maybe halfway between the bustline and the hemline, if you don’t want to affect the total hem circumference. You’ll get slightly different results from either method. If I wanted to shorten this, I’d probably take a fold out of the pattern higher up so that I keep the fullness of the hem. It just depends on your personal preference and desired proportions.
So overall I think that this is another terrific basic pattern from Tessuti. You could make it sleeveless if you wished, or lengthen the sleeves, add a ruffle to the bottom, make it in a mixture of prints, make it in different wovens (although I’d prefer to stick to those with drape), make it in a knit; there are loads of options and a great deal of potential! If you google the “Tessuti Gabby Dress” you will find a huge number of lovely versions. Of course there is absolutely no waist definition in a style like this – which suits me down to the ground!