Back in the summer I had a chance to be a pattern tester for the new Audrey and Me Pattern Company by Charlie of This blog is Not For You. Her first patterns are the Hepburn Dress and Skirt and since I wanted to get some experience in making a woven dress I chose to make the dress version.
The dress itself gives you a lot of options. 3 different necklines and the possibility to combine it with the Hepburn skirt to turn it into a fitted dress instead of a fitted bodice with a flared skirt with deep boxpleats.
I opted for the scoop neckline as I don’t like the look of higher necklines on me. The fabric I used is leftover from my Portside travel set and I’m so happy I ordered too much because I just love love love this fabric! I’m seriously tempted to order some more in this and the natural colourway (or the beige one, or the red one) for next summer! I also used a leftover metal zipper and I seriously adore metal zippers!
I’m very excited about this dress as it’s my first woven dress with a bodice lining and my first dress with an exposed zipper. Also the first time doing an FBA!
My measurements (bust 102cm/waist 82,5cm) put me in a size UK18, but after muslining that I had to take it in so much at the waist (I like my waist quite snug) that I decided to make a size UK16 and do an FBA.
On my first muslin (size 18) I took in both side seams from nothing at the dart to 1 cm at the waist and I enlarged both front waist darts with 1 cm as well. Which resulted in an overall loss of 8cm at the waist. I also shifted the CF to fix some gaping I had at the neckline, I took it in 3 cm grading to nothing at the waist (because of this it got to tight for the girls).
I did two bodice muslins for the size 16 but that was only because I made my FBA on the first one too large. I finally settled for a size 16 with a 4 cm FBA (2 on the pattern) and I took out the extra length the FBA added + I did a 3 cm swayback adjustment. These are all common fixes for me, I always do a swayback and I have a very short waist.
When I made my dress out of fashion fabric I noticed that under stitching the neckline and armhole openings didn’t really work (very very fiddly) so I unpicked the whole thing and cut the lining 2mm smaller on neck and armhole opening, this way it naturally favors the inside. That’s how I always do it.
I really tried turning the bodice like the pattern said (through the straps), but in the scoop neck version the combination of the narrow straps and my medium weight linen made it impossible. It might work with a lightweight fabric like a cotton batiste. Either way it won’t be an issue with the other versions as those straps are wider.
I unpicked the whole thing and just sewed together the neckline and side seams, turned the bodice and used faux leather piping to create a facing for the armholes.
I have no remarks about the rest of the dress, every notch and marking matched up perfectly so putting together the PDF and the dress itself was really easy.
It fit great when I made it – although I’ll probably deepen the front waist darts a bit for the next one – but since then I’ve lost some weight so it’s too loose now. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I have either narrow shoulders or sloping shoulders because the straps slide down and this is not the first pattern I’ve noticed this on.
Because of this I don’t know what to do with the dress. I really like it because it’s so perfectly finished and it has so many firsts but I’ll probably never wear it again as it’s too loose and the straps slide down. So my plan is to be happy with the experience and the pictures I got out of it but to take it apart and use the fabric for something else (probably a Moss skirt or a Nasha skirt) so that in any case, not all is lost.