After deciding I was, after all, in love with my first Emery Dress, I decided to make another one! I made it with some of the fabric I was given for Christmas – and promptly fell in love with!
I just love the tiny flowers with mustard yellow buds and blue is my all-time favourite colour. It’s been there through my brief dalliances with mustard yellow and pink, like a true friend. The shade of blue I lean to has changed over the years – it used to be an insipid pastel blue, but now I’m into more bold colours, so this is perfect!
I made a couple more changes to the pattern than I did in the first one. The biggest change (probably) was to shave 7cm off each skirt pattern piece, taking off 14cm from each of the front and back skirts. I did this mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric, but I actually like the slightly slimmed down version.
I also placed the front bodice pattern piece 0.5cm from the fold of my fabric, to add in a little extra room – which I added by adjusting the seam allowances on the first one. I think this worked okay as a lazy fix, but I didn’t really twig that it would lengthen the neckline at the front – a little more than I maybe would have liked. So if I make this again, I’ll re-muslin it to get a proper fit again with some extra ease built in.
Because I initially added the collar to the first version, I didn’t mess with the back neckline as then the collar wouldn’t have fitted, but without that as an issue, I took 1.5cm extra out of each back neck dart – I left them the same length, finishing as the original point. I’m actually really pleased with how the dress fits me across the back – as I’ve mentioned before, I have a narrow back and normally things gape or if they’re looser fitted, they look a bit too loose across the back (and I’m often too lazy to fix the issue). But apart from the darts, I didn’t change anything on the back!
I used a zip from my stash, which matches the mushroom-y sort of color on the flowers quite well. I didn’t intend the zip to be so visible, but since you can see it, it’s now a design feature!
The only other major change I made was to not add a lining. I didn’t really have anything suitable and as the fabric is quite thin, I thought it would be a nicer Summer dress without the extra layer of fabric. For the necklines, I drafted facings by tracing the bodice pieces and drawing a matching curve to the curve of the neck about 7cm away, to give me enough depth for a seam allowance and to make sure the facing wasn’t so small it wouldn’t lay flat. If you’re going to do the same, remember to fold the back neck dart closed before you trace the back bodice facing, otherwise you’ll have to sew the darts in the facing as well as the bodice piece. I used iron-on interfacing to stiffen the facings and sewed a fancy overlocking-type stitch around the bottom edge to neaten it.
Did I mention that I love this dress, by the way? And, rather lamely, part of the reason I love it is because I took so much care to make the inside look as nice as the outside. I French seamed every single seam, including the side seams with the in-seam pockets. I’d previously conquered most french seams, including on sleeves using Grainline’s tutorial, but had to google whether it was possible to do it with in-seam pockets as it was hurting my brain trying to think through how it would work. And luckily Deborah Moebes, from Whipstitch (who designed the Travel Matching Game I made) wrote this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew. So now the insides look like this:
I also sewed the hem by hand, using a catch stitch, which took a little while, but it’s worth the effort – I might be a convert away from machine stitching hems!
And to finish it off, I sewed in one of my labels which I also got for Christmas.
This seriously might be one of my favourite things I’ve made so far!
Well Amelia Wray, you are getting very good at this sewing lark !!!
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