For the love of lawn

Red rose print cotton lawn dress

What have you ByHandLondon girls done to me? How am I ever going to make another dress that doesn’t involve an Elisalex bodice?

red rose cotton lawn dress

To be fair, it was the fabric that led the dress time. A three metre bolt of cellophaned gorgeousness that has patiently lain in wait for about 18 months at the bottom of Fabric Mountain. It is a rose printed cotton lawn. So silky soft and so very light, in need of a failsafe design. I haven’t seen this print anywhere since and I wasn’t about to bugger it up in a moment of madness. So, having made some fine fitting adjustments to the Elisalex-with-FBA-test-garment, I was able to go straight to and cut.

red rose cotton lawn dress detail

I toyed with a sleeveless version but having seen a few with sleeves and knowing that I wouldn’t suffer the consequences of plastic under pits, I had to give it a go.

I knew the bodice would be an even better fit than the last one as this fabric has a magical elasticity about it. Not a strand of spandex to be had. Just to do with the fineness and high yarn-count of the weave I think. It really is such a luxurious material. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to use any.

red rose cotton lawn dress over shoulder

I used the whole 60″ width of the fabric to create the gathered skirt but it looks and feels half as poomfy as the vintage rose version. Just because it is lighter. Further confirmation that at some point I must make a full on layered petticoat. I say ‘make’, because I know I will find it impossible to go buy one, even though I am wincing at all that endless, time-consuming, middle-stare-inducing gathering involved!

red rose lawn dress in the park

The sleeves were easy enough to set in. Well if you inset them the right way round that is! I was wondering why, when I tried it on, the sleeves insisted on twisting round. I thought at first that the FBA had reduced the armscye somwhat, but oh no. Just a tired, dippy moment last night.

Note to self (and to anyone else who has ever made the same mistake): 
2 notches on a pattern piece indicate the back; 1 notch indicates the front

I had the moment of clarity, as I often do, standing in my blurry morning haze, under the shower head. A Eureka moment, kind of. So, following this one, I ran downstairs in a towel to check the notches on the sleeve. A bit tricky when you’ve clipped all the seams (doh!) but sure enought, that’s exactly what I’d done.

red rose lawn dress

You’d be forgiven for thinking that that was the end of my dippiness. But oh no no no. Having unpicked them and swapped them over, I then proceeded to pin the hem edge of one of the sleeves to the armhole. Can’t believe I openly admitted that. But better out than in, I say!

red rose lawn dress profile

Quite a bit of hand stitching re bodice lining to armscye and waist seams and hand hemming. Only because I feel like I’m cutting corners if I do otherwise. But I have temporarily machined the sleeve hems just because at that point, Mr O was politely tapping his foot with a camera round his neck.

Best not upset the photographer, hey?!

red rose lawn dress on the kerb

Speed sewing for summer!

vintage rose dress

I am so loving this heat. You won’t ever hear a moan from me, however hot it gets. I’ve had my fair share of cold to last me a lifetime. My pace has slowed, my skin is glowing, my nails… I’ve actually got some. Bring on that Vit D, baby!!

My only gripe – well it’s not even a gripe, really – is that I don’t have nearly enough summer dresses. It’s only ever been necessary to make 1 or 2 with such poor rubbish excuses for summers that we have.

I had a lovely Email from a very dear friend last week, asking if I’d like to take care of his aunt’s sewing patterns and best of all his aunt’s beautiful sewing box. A no-brainer of course. The patterns, the box and it’s surprise contents are so deserved of their own post but what I do have to show you for now is the dress I ran up in haste this weekend for our lunch date with Nigel.

I cut it out on the Thursday night, sewed it together on the Friday night (legged it down to the market on Saturday morning to get a zip) inserted said zip and hemmed it up before our lunchtime jaunt to a lovely converted cricket pavillion pub for lunch.

vintage rose dress

In order for that kind of magic to happen I had to use a tried and tested bodice. And that of course is all credit to the lovely Elisalex pattern, brilliantly crafted by ByHand London. I replaced the skirt with a gathered rectangle using the full width of the 45″ fabric, and making good use of the selvedges to minimise neatening of so many raw edges!

I’ve had the fabric in Stash Mountain for so long, it felt like the dress was for free too, which is always a bargain!

Of course there were corners to be cut, namely a machined hem and I dodged hand stitching the bodice lining to the skirt seam. Don’t judge, just yet! This will most definitely be rectified as the complete sewing snob inside of me cannot stand to see that stitching. It’s just not right!

vintage rose dress detail

I’ve got another in the pipeline too, using some lighter weight cotton in a red rose print. Only this time I’m going to take the sound advice of BHL’s FBA instructions and give the girls an extra inch!

Is anybody else speed sewing for summer?

When I got back home I had a good old rummage in that lovely old sewing box. It was hours before I came up for air!

sorting vintage buttons