Hello all! For this months Minerva Make I picked out this gorgeous floral print for a skirt and some pink linen for a coordinating top. The plan was to have 2 pieces that would be great to mix and match.

 

Then my friend Amy threw a spanner in the works by sending me a picture of a dress with lots of straps making a feature at the back. The floral was perfect to make my own version of this dress so I decided to revise my plans a bit and to make the intended skirt into a dress and to just wear the top over it as an outfit.

First let's talk about the top. I used the Named Inari Tee pattern as drafted. This is the first time I've made the top in a woven, (I used a gorgeous pink Linen Fabric) and it was really interesting to see the differences in fit compared to the version I made in a knit. The issues are more pronounced and arm movement is definitely more limited. The top is definitely wearable, but they need fixing for next time.

 

Construction of the top was really quick and straightforward. All raw edges were overlocked, the hems were topstitched and I also made a feature of topstitching the facing down. Please excuse the un-snipped threads. No matter how hard I try to clip them all, some always escape my notice. The linen is really soft and cool to wear. The loose fit also helps.

Now onto the dress! I draped the bodice on my mannequin first of all. The fabric has a good amount of lengthways stretch so I made sure to stretch the fabric over the mannequin to ensure a close fit. I stretched it all the way from either side to meet at the centre back because I didn't want any side seams. After marking on where I wanted the neckline and the armhole curve to be I took it off the mannequin, folded it in half at the centre front and trimmed it so it was symmetrical. I ended up pinning in two darts on either side of the bust to get rid of some gaping. I'm really pleased with how snug the armhole fit is against the body.

The skirt is basically two gathered trapeziums from a pattern I had lying around. I gathered them to the bodice and then set about ironing some bias binding, cut from the leftovers of the fabric. I first bound the armholes from the top of the neckline, down to the centre back. The binding for the front neckline was a circle of binding with the seam falling at the centre back of my neck and the midpoint of the band corresponded to the centre front of the neckline.

The straps at the back are 3 narrow tubes of the fabric, folded over the band that continues from the front neckline and hand sewn in place. There's an invisible zip in the centre back and the hem was overlocked and folded over two inches then whip stitched into place.

I'm really really pleased with this dress. The Stretch Cotton Fabric gives a fantastic weight and drape to the skirt and I love the fun back. The colours are really fantastic and will transition well into Autumn. The skirt is longer than I would usually have it but I think it actually looks really elegant. The only thing I would change would be to add pockets. I always get far too into the flow of making and forget to put them in. I had great fun wearing both the dress and the top as an outfit around Basel, Switzerland and look forward to pairing them in lots of different outfit combos in the future.

Thanks so much to Minerva Crafts for providing the kit for these two makes, to Amy for giving me the inspiration for the dress and to Edward for taking photos!

Lauren xx