I’m still building up my collection of patterns, and recently downloaded and printed this. I chose to buy the pattern because it looked straightforward and had several different options. It is also easily modifiable to add details such as trims and pockets. After my polyester-nightmare, I chose a better quality cotton that I’d bought 2 metres of for £15.
Strictly speaking I should have had 2.5 metres of fabric for the garment I chose (plain fronted dress with lower pockets and a belt) but I managed to adjust the pattern layout with the only compromise being that the belt piece did not follow the grain as it should have. Once the pattern was cut out I was able to use my fabric pen this time, and cutting out the pieces was quick and straightforward. Unusually, I had to do the hem first, and I chose the curved rather than straight option. Next, I’d opted to add two low pockets in the same fabric, which I really liked the process of making as well as the finished look. I think it could work nicely to also use a contrasting or plain fabric next time.
Next it was time to attempt French seams. I was not in the least convinced that I would be able to so then, never mind like them. I began with the shoulders, hemming from the RIGHT side (crazy) then trimming excess and enclosing from the inside. Beautiful! Easy and such a neat and professional finish.
Disappointingly, despite my enthusiasm, force of habit meant that although I fully intended to French seam the sides too, I’d already hemmed the wrongs sides before I realised my mistake. Next time!
This dress had both neckline and armhole facings. I did find the instructions a little sparse in places, although the pattern was labelled as suitable for an Advanced Beginner. The facings were the most time consuming part of this make and I’m not completely happy with how the neckline turned out, because there seemed to be excess fabric which led to puckering when it was sewn. This in turn led to wiggly top stitching, even more so than usual.

I added an extra line of top stitching to the sleeves, it wasn’t mentioned in the pattern but was needed to secure the facings. I think they turned out ok.

Lastly I made the belt, which was the simplest thing ever and a sheer joy to make, it was hypnotic almost sitting back and watching it slide through the machine. Maybe another time I would make it even longer, so it could be looped into a long bow instead of just tied. Here’s the finished dress, just don’t look at the neckline too closely!


As soon as I’d finished the dress, I was keen to try French seams on a different pattern. As I found the facings on the Zippy Top I blogged about here so straight forward, I’d started to wonder about combining the two patterns, and keeping the best bits of each. I’ve yet to get that far, but instead did make a Zippy in a fabric I’d initially bought one £5 metre of, then returned for a second metre so I’d have enough for a garment. This time I successfully managed French seams all the way around.

I tried not to rush and took time over all of the finishing, admittedly not my usual approach. I made a Large like last time, but I think it has turned out smaller than the last one due to the seams, which is no bad thing. It could probably be reduced further next time as it’s a swingy and loose fit. I tried to improve on the zip I did last time, but I realised too late that I should have measured it from higher up. I guess it’s good to always have something to improve on.

I really like how this turned out, and am looking forward to wearing it out.