Long time readers of this blog will know that unselfish sewing is not normal behaviour for me. I find fitting and sewing for others far more stressful than sewing for myself and avoid it like the plague. But I couldn't say no to my latest project - a dress for my friend's daughter Emily. I first met Emily's mum Sophie when our children were just a few weeks old and she's since become one of my closest friends. Because of this I have a real soft spot for Em and when Sophie asked if I could make her a dress, I agreed at once.
Emily was inspired by the dress below, worn by Clara from Dr Who. She wanted to keep the fitted bodice and full skirt, but preferred plain, short sleeves rather than the gathered ones in the photo. She also decided against the collar. After a consultation with my Twitter pals regarding pattern choice, the general consensus seemed to be the Christine Haynes Emery dress. Emily liked the look of the pattern too, so we got to work.
For fabric, Emily chose this unusual navy and red firework print from Island Batik. We found it after researching 'firework prints' online and she fell for it immediately, preferring the navy and red colourway to Clara's original red. I couldn't find any UK stockists, so had to order from Fabric.com in the US. They've since sold out, but there's still some available here, if anybody's interested. The fabric is a medium weight quilting cotton and quite crisp to to the touch, even after a pre-wash. This actually worked in our favour and was a good match for a structured pattern like the Emery dress. The bodice is lined with a navy cotton muslin.
- Increased the back shoulder darts
- Made a ½" front neck adjustment
- Made a 1" tuck right across the upper chest, together with a small bust adjustment
There's still a fair bit of wiggle room built in, to allow for growth spurts! I also left a generous three inch hem on the skirt for the same reason.
I'm absolutely delighted with the finished dress and, more importantly, so is Emily! The dress has a very simple shape but I think the unusual fabric really elevates it into something special. She looks so pretty and elegant in it and so grown up! It doesn't seem that long ago that Sophie and I were taking her and Louis on their first walk - they were so SLOW, nearly an hour to walk from one end of the road and back!
Beautiful Emily, I hope you enjoy wearing your dress, I certainly enjoyed making it for you. x