To celebrate 200 Years of Jane Austen on July 18, the day I took my photos, I had to go take some photos of my new dress in a place I like to call “the Jane Austen Wood”, since every time I walk by I picture Regency ladies strolling in this park-like setting, all dolled up with bonnets and parasols. Since I’m probably not making a Regency dress any time soon, I took the chance to set these photos there instead!
This was a fairly easy make – no closures, just an over-the-head tunic design, cinched with a stitched-on tie belt. The various views give you the opportunity to do some pattern blocking with the front panels, yoke, contrast band and so on, as well having different sleeve and shirt lengths to choose from. For my dress, I decided on View B, a simple one with no colour blocking at all, short sleeves and a standing collar.
I thought this would work best with my oversize floral. I was a bit dubious when I started cutting, thinking that perhaps I’d chosen a fabric print which was a bit too large for this style, but once I got sewing it started looking pretty good to me, and as it turns out, I *love* this dress!
The linen-rayon fabric is a crisp one, with some body, and it stands up to the lines of this design well. Thankfully I also discovered when taking photos that it is not at all transparent. Yay! Due to the hand of the fabric, my gathers at the back yoke are not even, rather they look a little like pleats. But they are fine, and aren’t noticeably terrible which is really all I ask for 😉
The front gathers are fine, although I did have a little trouble with the techniques required to make nice neat corners at the bottom of the front panels. I had to do some hand stitching on those corners to get everything inside and enclosed where they were supposed to be. In fact, this pattern does require quite a lot of interior hand stitching to fasten down facings, collar etc. so if you hate hand work, be aware.
Luckily for me the interesting belt covers most of the seam line at the bottom of that front panel anyhow! It’s a narrow tie belt, and for this view, it is simply attached by stitching a straight line down the centre, on top of the centre seam between the panels. Easy as pie! I’m not usually a huge fan of butt bows but this one really works, I think — the dress is too full not to have a belt, and tying it loosely and with a knot instead of a bow, reduces the sweet factor. Also, I don’t think you’d be able to tie much of a bow unless you fastened it a lot more closely than I did, so if you are thinking of making this I’d recommend lengthening the ties if you want a bow.
I made a couple of minor adjustments. I shortened the bodice between shoulder and bust just a smidge, and I also raised the stitching line of the front pieces up by an inch so there would be no unfortunate gaping. Lucky for me I didn’t raise it any higher, as when I was putting it on I realized that if the neckline was much smaller I would have had some trouble getting it over my gargantuan cranium!
Of course, I also had to add some side seam pockets. With the fullish skirt, I couldn’t see a reason not to. I did insert a little lower than optimal but then I couldn’t quite assess where the waist would fall. They are still just about right, and very functional, so yay for pockets!
The only thing I’m not 100% sure about is the collar. It seems really high on the neck, at least with my short little neck, and I may still remove it and just bind the round neck with some bias at some point in the future. I’ll wear it a bit first and see if it bothers me. In any case, I love this beautiful Fabricville project – the colours in the fabric are bright and crisp, and it sewed up very neatly.
And Hurrah for Jane Austen on Jane Austen Day, whose immortal words resonate with me, especially these ones:
Well said, Jane.