So all we need now is summer ☀️
In order of sewing (and hanging left to right):
- Kew dress from Nina Lee
- Joni dress from Stretch book by Tilly and the Buttons
- Simplicity Amazing Fit 1800
The Kew dress is fantastic, a lovely fit in the bodice in the end. I did a FBA of an inch, but the darts are already pretty wide as drafted, so when I then did a dart to remove gaping at the underarm and rotated that into the existing bust dart it ended up huge. Like well over four inches huge. After a head scratching moment when the toile looked as pointy as I thought it might, I redrafted it for only 1/2″ FBA. I also split the rotated underarm dart between the waist dart and the bust dart.
And I’m really happy with the finished fit at the bodice.
The dress as a whole fits really nicely, in fact. A little snug round the waist but nothing the current diet won’t fix in another kilo or two!
The only thing I struggled with when sewing up this dress was the flappy bits (technical term) over the arms. I think I was just having a dense moment that day, but for the life of me I couldn’t see how to attach them so they went straight and flat across, rather than the twist you can see in these photos. I even took them off after basting and rebasted them. But I ended up with the same placement. The instructions and pictures aren’t super clear here (for me anyway, but see reference to dense moment above!), and you can’t entirely see how it is all going to come together when you have the pieces inside out and the facing still to attach. Basically I think it was me though, I’m sure others have worked it out fine!
So I gave up and just sewed them as they were. It’s a design decision of course. And now that I’ve looked at it all made up I think I can see how I should have done it. A duh moment.
Anyway, I will definitely be making this again so I’ll get it right next time!
The second dress is from Tilly’s new book. I’ve already made and love the Freya top with extended Polo neck. I wasn’t sure if the Joni would suit me given my bust, but decided what the hell. And I’m so glad I tried it as it is fab and really flattering. It was also really easy to sew up. I think the directions for the twisting could have been a soupçon clearer but it wasn’t too tricky.
As you can see, I went with one of the additional hack options from Tilly’s book, the self-drafted flutter sleeve, which I love.
The only thing I would say is that the circle mark at the neckline seems to be in the wrong place. The instructions have you clip to 15mm at the circle. But for most of the sizes the circle is much deeper into the fabric. So I had to decide whether to cut to the circle and fudge the rest of the seam allowance when sewing that area, or trim to 15mm not reaching the circle. It was hard to know what to do when trying to picture how it was all going to come together. I went with the latter option but this meant the neckline had an extra 15mm loose once it was turned and sewn, rather than the edges lining up neatly. I just hand-sewed these bits together and it looks fine, but it’s the first slightly unclear instruction I’ve found in any Tilly pattern. Unless I got it wrong, which is always a possibility!
The other thing is that the twisting seems a bit harder to do and still match up the centre seam for sewing when doing the bigger sizes, as there is more fabric in the way. Still manageable, you just have to tug and pull at it all to get it lined up.
Again, I will be making loads more Jonis!
And finally, the Amazing Fit dress. I wanted to try one of these as it has the separate bust pieces for A-DD cup sizes. These don’t translate to your actual cup size, rather it is the amount of difference between your high bust and your full bust measurements. Mine is 5″ difference which made me a DD Cup.
My version of the pattern only went up to the D cup option, so I went with that. I didn’t make any other changes as I wanted to see how the D cup fitted. And the answer is – pretty good, but I think the DD would have been better, or maybe I still need to lengthen the bodice a bit. I usually have to do this with bodice patterns / do an FBA which adds length, but I wasn’t sure if I would still need to given the multiple cup sizes. This pattern has more of an empire line, which doesn’t always suit me, but I sewed down the pleats for 1.5″ to make the waistline more fitted and I think this helped.
I wanted this dress as a more casual, throw on kind of option, which I think it will do well. It feels breezy, summery and casual, whilst still looking reasonably ‘put together’.
I did manage to add an element of drama though, with the overlocker eating the fabric! I was trying to play with the tension and wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. I realised with horror I had cut into the fabric itself, just by the side seam at the back. I rescued it, more or less, by ironing on some interfacing behind the cut, adding some Seam Fray and sewing around the hole to reinforce things. Fortunately the floral pattern helps to hide it too. What an idiot though! I won’t be doing that again <she says optimistically>
Ah well, it had to happen at some point and at least it isn’t too obvious!
I’m really pleased with all three dresses, hopefully they will all be useful additions that get lots of wear over the summer.