I've been wanting to make this Anna Maria Horner 'Socialite Dress' pattern for a while but wasn't sure the style would suit me - it's quite a loose fit and being on the curvy side, clothes that are too loose often make me look, shall we say, pregnant! Then I saw a few lovely versions made up with belts - genius! Not little fabric scrappy belts but big, substantial thick ones that nip you right in at the waist, which for me, changed the whole look of the dress.
The pattern and fabric both came from M is for Make, one of my favourite fabric and pattern sites. It's run by the lovely Kate who has given me TONS of great advice and help ever since I started sewing. She also stocks gorgeous, unusual fabrics and patterns. I used one of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley fabrics which are all beautiful. It took me a long time to decide which one to use but the colour finally swung it (I like grey).
So here it is…..
I'm glad I went with the grey as I can actually wear the dress in the Autumn layered with a cardigan and boots (as I did today).
As this was the first pattern I've attempted without the help of my sewing tutor, I read the pattern all the way through about four times (seriously, I'm so sad!), just so I knew exactly what I'd be doing and I really think this helped. Size-wise, I went with a medium which was perfect (I'm a 10/12). Once everything was cut out it probably took two afternoons to sew, one uninterrupted and blissful, one with the kids whining down my ear the whole time so not quite so enjoyable. It's a great pattern for a reasonably confident beginner to attempt as it has no zips, buttons or fastenings of any kind - hence the V-neck and loose fit in order to get it over your head. The language is friendly and it explains every single stage, even down to back stitching at the beginning and end of each seam, which could be quite annoying for a more experienced sewer, but for me was fine. The gathering at the front and back took the longest, but this was because I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing! It came out OK though.
|A slightly better view of the gathers|
I'll probably make another one for wearing in the spring/summer, in which case I'll make it longer (there's an option on the pattern to do this). With tights, it's fine, but I'm not displaying my knees!