Lady McElroy Linen Shift Dress
Posted on Friday the 5th October 2018 by The Unfinished Seamstress
Weight and drape. I’ve been sewing for I don’t know how long, but I’ve finally figured it out: the secret to a great garment is getting the right weight and drape for the pattern. No more, no less. When I spotted this beautiful Lady McElroy Linen Fabric
, I knew immediately that it was perfect for autumn, perfect for a dress to layer up over tights - the only problem was that I couldn’t decide what to make, because everything I could think of sounded equally perfect. It’s medium weight, I would say, but the viscose gives it a lovely easy drape. In other words, it’s great for everything I want to make this fall.
A little blazer? A midi-skirt? For a while, I had settled on a 90’s vintage pinafore dress, but at the very last minute I had concerns about the pattern (I may yet revisit the idea, in something like this emerald green Cord Fabric
?), and I was NOT wasting this wonderful fabric on something I didn’t absolutely love. So in the end I went for the simple shift dress pattern in the book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual by Gretchen Hirsch. It’s a 60’s-style shift, with the most perfect French darts (only sewists will understand what I mean when I say that this specific dart makes the pattern for me). I’ve shortened the length, and hacked the closure for a cute little keyhole (one of the ideas from the book), but otherwise it’s pretty much a straight size 12. I wanted a pattern that would let the print shine, and I think it does.
Linen is my favourite fabric to work with, and I return to it again and again. Yes, it creases a bit, but less so with a blend and it really is part of the charm. I feel like this floral print is beautiful with the character of the fabric, and with my style goals for autumn: romantic but slubby. Comfortable, botanical, with a punch of colour.
The original closure in the book is an invisible zipper, which is something I sew fairly frequently. They’re easy to install, and leave the clean, uninterrupted lines of the garment. They’re the anti-feature; you never notice an invisible zipper. However, this time, because this garment is so very simple (I’ve omitted a Peter Pan collar, I thought it was too twee for me right now), I decided to try a little rouleau loop and button closure, making a keyhole detail. The little loop is sandwiched between the dress and the facing, and then topstitched all around the keyhole:
I think it gives it a little extra something, and has the added benefit of making the dress more comfortable with no zipper tape against the skin. My only slight niggle is the hem - I’ve opted for a normal double-fold, machine stitched hem, and it has rippled slightly. I am planning on unpicking and re-hemming by hand, with a sneaky little catch stitch. Not only will it echo the super clean finish of the faced neckline and armholes, but it will keep that vintage feel. All in all though, a great little autumn dress, in a stunning print.
Before I go, I just thought I would share a little tidbit about my blogging process; I am never alone, and I take my own photos. So this guy likes to be in them lately. Photobomb!
As always, thank you for reading!