I took these photos on an incredibly hot and dry day – you can almost see the heat radiating in the glare! Fortunately I sewed the dress from linen (from The Cloth Shop) which made it about as comfortable as you can be in those types of weather conditions.
I sewed Mum size 16, without alterations. This dress is a little shorter than her usual preference – although I think that it looks quite perfect at this length. Because I’d sewn it before, constructions was relatively straightforward – except for that large pleat at the back yoke!
From what I’ve read on blogs and instagram, pretty much everyone has trouble getting that pleat correct. I note that I think I have it as designed for Mum’s dress, but when I go back and look at how I did the pleat on my dress I reckon that I got it ‘wrong’ the first time that I sewed it. My tips: make sure that you have included EVERY marking. Have the pattern pieces close to hand. Study the illustrations. Pin the yoke to the ironing board to act as a width and marking reference. Pin the back piece just below it, aligning it with the yoke piece, starting at the outer edges until you get to the first markings. Then take it slow with the folds, patiently folding and refolding until all the marks line up correctly and the back piece is folded to the size of the front piece with all markings lining up as labelled. It does work in the end, trust me. But be patient!
In included the inseam side pockets – always handy for a hanky if you are Mum, or a mobile phone if you are me – and included all the topstitching as marked. Construction was mostly on the sewing machine, with the overlocker used to finish seam allowances. I hand-sewed the collar stand facing in place on the inside of the dress.
This dress has a number of details that make it a pleasure to wear. I particularly like the curved hemline, which works nicely with the slight fullness provided by the front pleat, as well as the back pleat. Note that the back pleat creates lots of room and airiness through the body of the dress, but the pattern piece narrows in again by the time it gets to the hemline so there’s not lots of excess there around your knees.
The lack of closures also makes this a very easy dress to wear – just slip it over your head and go!
When I sewed this for myself I wondered whether it would have benefitted from a high rounded back alteration – and I wondered whether I should have done one for Mum. It looks fine in these photos however. I’ll need to ask Mum how she finds it to wear. I really love the colourway on Mum, and the fabric was definitely a pleasure to sew. The more I sew with linen, the more that I love it. This dress should be perfect for summer in the climate where Mum lives.
And by the way – Happy Birthday Mum!