Hi everyone, it's Kathy here from www.sewdainty.co.uk and today I am happy to share with you my Emery Dress from Christine Haynes Patterns.
I love this style of dress. I adore a fitted bodice and a gathered skirt, and love making dresses in this style. On this occasion however I wanted to mix it up a little, and decided to make it a little different by exchanging the gathers for pleats.
I recently did something similar with a vintage pattern, and loved it so much I wanted to do it again!
The fabric is special. The Huge Range of Fabrics at Minerva does not make fabric selection a quick process for me! Eventually I was excited to choose this adorable Cotton Poplin Fabric in a pretty shade of salmon pink. I was not disappointed when it arrived. It is super soft but still has enough weight to hold the pleats. Perfect!
I love the design on the fabric, and because it has a directional print I was careful to make sure that all the pattern pieces were facing the same way when cutting it out.
One of the lovely features of this pattern is that it has a lined bodice. You do this by simply cutting 2 bodices and using one for the outer bodice and one for the lining. Each bodice has a total of 8 darts however, so be aware that sewing both the bodice and the bodice lining requires a whopping 16 darts! Quite time consuming but so worth it for a great fit. The lined bodice gives the dress a really professional finish too I think.
The pattern offers the option to choose short or 3/4 length sleeves and you can also add a collar and a bow at the front waist if you wish. I felt that I should keep it pretty simple and let the fabric do the talking on this make and left it simply as a round neck and short sleeved.
The dress is fastened by a 22" invisible zip, which I was pretty pleased with, and there is also a small amount of hand sewing to finish off the bodice lining. I'm not normally a big fan of hand sewing but I sat in the garden on a warm sunny evening to do this and I really enjoyed it.
I should mention the pleats in more detail. I decided that I wanted 2 pleats at either side of the front and 2 pleats at either side of the back. To do this I simply pinned the skirt to the bodice at key points like the side seams, centre front etc and then used what fabric was left to create the pleats on one side. When I was happy with one side I took some measurements to make sure that the opposite side matched perfectly. I also made sure that the fold of one of the creases lined up with the darts on the bodice front and back.
Ooh nearly forgot to mention it has lovely deep in seam pockets. 
To  sum up, the dress does have some challenges - darts, gathers or pleats, invisible zip and set in sleeves, but all are explained very well and should not cause too much of a problem to someone with some sewing experience. Perhaps not a pattern suitable for a beginner however.
Thank you to Minerva for the lovely supplies, you will find links to all things mentioned in the side bar alongside this post.
Thanks for reading, happy sewing, and I'll be back next month!
Kathy x