Tag Archives: dress

Polkadot Dress

One of my all time favourite fabrics has to be the polkadot.

It’s always in fashion, either on shirts and blouses or dresses and scarfs. I have chosen this gorgeous blue spot today, which I suppose is a little bit corporate. I like smart though and I think it works well in this style of dress with the half sleeves.

Polkadot Dress Fitting image
Polkadot Dress Fitting
Polkadot Dress Layout image
Polkadot Dress Layout

Although this is a pattern which I have used before and it is in my go to dress pattern pile on the shelf, it came out a bit snug when I did my fitting and I had to let the seams out about half an inch on each side, as much as I could reasonably squeeze out of the seam allowance. I must have put a bit of weight on recently!

Polkadot Dress Front
Polkadot Dress Front

The dress is not lined, as the weather is warming up, and I have simply finished off the neck edge with a facing which is under stitched and secured at the shoulders.

Polkadot Dress back fitting image
Polkadot Dress back fitting
Polkadot Dress front image
Polkadot Dress front

Vanity sizing

I get quite a few emails asking for advice about which pattern size to use. Few of us fit the average dress size or even the size on the pattern packet.

I’ve done some digging around on the internet and discovered that pattern sizing, along with ready to wear clothes sizing has changed a lot over the years and continues to change. It is often referred to as vanity sizing and reflects the growing size of the general population. Example, in 1931 the smallest standard size for women was a size 10 US, which had a bust measurement of 28 inches, by 1971, forty years later, the smallest available size was a 6, however a size 10 now fit a bust of 33 ½ inches. Now another forty or so years on a US size 10 is made for a bust of 36 inches and we have seen the creation of size zero and negative sizes to accommodate people who have a small frame. With all this standard size changing as well as variation in sizing between the pattern manufactures its hardly surprising we get in such a mess when it comes to choosing which one to use to achieve the best fit.

First of all you need to know your own body measurements. Don’t guess at this, it is well worth being honest with the tape measure and making a note of what you are in both inches and centemeters. Some European patterns like Burda and Ottobre are in cm. Take more measurements than you think you need for the pattern to make any alterations possible. For instance under the bust, around the upper arm (arm girth), around the thigh and the full hip, where the waist is larger than the hip.

If you are fitting for a dress it is best to use your bust measurement as the lead measurement. This will give you the best chance of the right fit around the shoulders and back as well as the armholes. Make your pattern alterations as you work down the body from the correct bust. For the waist, if you need to increase, divide the increase by four and add it to each side seam, if my waist measures 34 inches and the pattern is for a waist of 30 inches then I divide the extra four inches and add one inch to each side seam at the waist line. Draw a smooth line down from the armpit to the new waist. Repeat this for the hip measurement as well. If you need to decrease the waist, then you are lucky, simply adjust the pattern by decreasing at the side seams.

Working in this way will mean that the sleeves will still fit in the arm holes and any darts will be in the same place. Of course there are many different advanced fitting alterations you can do to get the perfect fit but this is just intended to be a guide to choosing which size pattern to use as a starting point.

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Happy Sewing

Smart Office Dress

I was in need of some creative sewing fun this week after the disappointment of my Blue Dress. Therefore I went right back to my favourite way of working which is to select a look as my inspiration and take it from there. The inspiring look I choose can sometimes come from the runway and other times from collections in fashion stores. In this make, the style of dress I have chosen as a starting point is this tricolour dress which was snapped on Victoria Beckham. I think it will make the perfect smart office dress.



Smart Office Dress Front image
Smart Office Dress Front

The pattern which I have chosen is from my existing favourites pile, therefore I have made the fitting alterations to it before and know it stands a fairly good chance of fitting me well.

Smart Office Dress Layout image
Smart Office Dress Layout

That said I went about cutting it up into pieces to give me the new pattern for the tricolour dress I wanted to make. When you don’t have to be concerned with the pattern fit because you already know it works you have the freedom to play around with it more and make it yours. If you do start cutting up your patterns however, please remember to always add seam allowance for the seams on the edges that will then need to be attached back together.

Smart Office Dress Layout image
Smart Office Dress Layout

The downside of making this dress with contrasting colours was that I had to keep changing the colour of the thread in both the sewing machine and in the overlocker/serger. I was uncertain what colour zip to choose and in the end went for a black regular zip with a lapped insertion, this seemed to conceal the actual zip quite well.

Smart Office Dress Back image
Smart Office Dress Back

Even though I have used this pattern before as I have said, I am not entirely happy with the look of the bodice. The bust darts are a bit too visible on the white fabric and draw the eye to that area too much. Guess I can always wear a cardigan like Victoria…

Smart Office Dress Front image
Smart Office Dress Front

Please leave any comments below. Also subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on google+facebooktwitterand bloglovin to keep in touch.

Happy Sewing

Smart Office Dress with Tape Measure image
Smart Office Dress with Tape Measure