By now most of my regular readers know what style elements tend to attract me to a pattern. A V neckline is a good thing. No defined waist – or if there is a waistline seam, one that is nowhere near my natural waist. And in woven fabrics, nothing tight.
So, here we have the Tessuti Lois dress! From their website: Vintage-inspired,the Lois Dress features a v-neck bodice and a floaty, A-line skirt that falls to a flattering midi length. Finishing features include cuffed arm bands, a top-stitch detail around the neckline and waist, and an invisible side zipper. Recommended fabrics: silk satin or crepe de chine, viscose and rayon. See this post about making the Lois Dress in linen.
So, there are a few things to note if you want to sew this dress. See those fabric recommendations? They’re all for something soft, drapey and flowing. Linen doesn’t really fit that description, especially a medium weight embroidered linen. But I used it anyway. This linen came from Rathdowne Fabrics, and it’s been in my stash for a year or two. I strongly suspect that it was a remnant.
I really dithered about what size to sew. In the end I chose to sew size 14, but I really could have gone down a size in the bodice depth. I am short waisted, the pattern isn’t. That seam between the bodice and skirt could be a little higher for improved fit. The other thing to take note of if you want to sew this dress is the neckline.
Oh yes. It’s low. I had to ferret around in my undies drawer to find a bra that had a low enough bridge that wouldn’t show during wear. I don’t mind exposing a bit of cleavage, but note that there is no way that this would be work appropriate as it is. A camisole underneath would solve that though. The neckline could be raised, but I actually think that the depth works nicely with the rest of the style.
I went my own way a little with the neckline finish. I cut a strip of matching pink stretch woven, pressed it in half lengthwise, then attached it to the right side of the fabric with the raw edges together. This was understitched, turned to the inside, then topstitched in place. I wanted to be certain of the stability of the neckline – at that depth I wanted to know that it wouldn’t flare out but would sit close to the body.
As is often the case (clearly I will never learn) this dress would have benefitted from a short back-waist length alteration (similar to sway back alteration). Check out that puddling! One of the benefits of sewing the size 14 was that I omitted the side seam zipper. I can wriggle in to this dress without much difficulty. The centre back skirt seam isn’t in the pattern – it was due to fabric restrictions.
I wore this to the Melbourne sewing community Garden Party a few weeks ago. It was perfect for the weather and was actually quite comfortable to wear. I was aware of the neckline depth, but nothing got too exposed! I possibly won’t sew up this pattern again, but do rather like this dress on me.