This is one of my favourite and most-worn dresses to date. It’s feminine, comfy, good quality fabric, perfectly fitting, and meticulously sewn! I made the dress to wear to a wedding last Spring and it has since seen a number of parties, meetings with dressmaking clients, dinners, photo shoots and even just shopping days or lazy days at home where I want to feel pretty. The beautiful colours, the texture and the floral design along with the classic fit-and-flare silhouette just really tickle me!
The fabric: I chose a magnificent stretch cotton from my local fabric boutique. It has this wonderful texture that I think really adds an extra dimension to handmade clothing. It wasn’t cheap at $30+ a metre, but I am of the firm belief that you get what you pay for with fabric qualities and a good fabric can make all the difference in a finished garment. I was originally going to use this fabric to make a second version of this Cynthia Rowley dress, but (clearly) changed my mind.
For the lining, I used a cream-coloured bemsilk. This is leftover from my wedding where we draped 20m of the stuff between trees to create an arbour of sorts. By “we”, I mean my awesome Dad and brothers – thanks, guys! You can see a photo of part of that here if you like (along with my handmade wedding dress and my husband’s vest). I have learnt that 20m of bemsilk goes a long way when it comes to sewing with the stuff, so I think I’ll be lining garments with it until the day I die!
The pattern: I used a slightly modified Burda Young 7308, one of my favourite patterns. After my first version, I made a few changes:
- I pinched in the princess seams under the bust to get a better fit all round the bodice
- I took out some of the body in the full circle skirt and made it more of a half-circle skirt
- I added about 10cm length to the skirt
- I added an inch to the length of the torso (this has become a standard pattern mod for me)
Finishing touches: it has become standard for me to catch-stitch my hems and to slip-stitch my lining down. I love the invisible finish and tidy look. Yes, hand sewing can be very time-consuming, but, similarly to buying expensive fabrics, I think it is an investment that really pays off. It just gives your garment that much more of a professional and neat look. Especially when you’ve spent a lot of money on materials and want to make the dress as lovely as possible! It’s definitely worth the extra effort.
So this dress was definitely a win! It’s so satisfying to make a garment that I continue to wear and wear. This is one of the only pieces I’ve made that I’m actually really happy with, have worn loads of times, and can definitely see it being worn many more times into the future.