Hey Minerva Makers!

It’s Vicky of Sewstainability here again and this time it is with what I am calling my secret dress! I am sure you have seen this beautiful Atelier Brunette Stardust Fabric on social media. It is available in several different colours and looks beautiful sewn up into just about anything! I absolutely fell in love with this midnight colourway as with the embroidered gold dots it looks to me like a starry night sky. I wanted to have a nice dress to wear to Christmas parties and the idea of this dress was born.

I ordered 2.5m of fabric and started hunting for patterns to use, my requirements were – I wanted the style to be simple enough to show the fabric off but have a few interesting details to make the sewing fun! I also wanted to be able to wear this again and again as I love the fabric sooo much I didn’t want it to just sit in my wardrobe waiting to come out on special occasions. All the dress patterns I loved all seemed a little fancy and I really want to get some wear out of this beautiful fabric. That’s when I had a brainwave – if I cut my fabric out carefully I should have enough to make a top AND a skirt, both of which I could get loads of wear out of together and separately – and the idea for my secret dress was born!

As my requirements were for something simple with interesting details, what better place to start than the Tilly and the Buttons Stevie top/dress? It is a very simple design with some interesting design features and what’s even better – it doesn’t use up a lot of fabric! I cut the size my measurements fell into and I am super happy with the fit. It is boxy without drowning me and I love the sleeve shape and cuffs. I also think the back neckline detail adds just the right amount of ‘special’ to such a great wardrobe basic! It didn’t take me long to sew and I love it! I’ve already made another one and have plans for more!

My next challenge was to find a skirt part to make my ‘dress’ complete. I again wanted something simple enough to show off the fabric but with some fun details to sew. I also added the requirement that I wanted the skirt to have an elasticated waistband. My weight fluctuates and I don’t want to have made a beautiful skirt I can’t wear because it is too small or too big. By choosing a skirt pattern with an elasticated waistband I could be sure that my new skirt will fit me at any size for many years to come (can you tell I really really love this fabric yet?!)

After some research, I came across the Lawley Skirt by relatively new pattern company Elbe Textiles. It has an elasticated waistband, pockets with lovely little binding detail and a nice deep hem. It seemed to be the perfect pattern for what I needed and what’s more it’s FREE. Just what I needed! It’s always a risk trying out a new pattern company but in this case I was really happy I did. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, the pattern was beautifully drafted and fit me exactly as I had hoped. Obviously I can’t leave anything alone and even though getting a top and skirt out of 2.5m of fabric wasn’t challenge enough I also decided to add belt loops and a long belt that I could tie into this nice floppy bow.

I wore this ‘dress’ to the Sew Up North meet up a few weeks ago and have never had so many people ask me what dress pattern I had used. I had dressed it down with thick leggings and boots and had a little chuckle every time I told someone it was a top and a skirt, not a dress! It is super comfortable and I have also been having loads of fun styling both items separately!

Here you can see me wearing the skirt with a RTW knitted top on a very windy day. You can really see the fullness of the skirt and the versatility of this beautiful fabric. I sew a lot with blues, dark florals and jewel colours so there really is so much in my wardrobe already that goes with this skirt!

Finally, here are a couple of snaps of me wearing the top with a much more dressed-down linen skirt. As you can see, even though the fabric is a bit special because of those beautiful embroidered dots, there is no need to save this top for a special occasion as it looks just fab as daywear! It even looks great with jeans!

I think I have truly found my perfect garments and have been enjoying styling them both together and separately with other things in my wardrobe. Now I definitely need this fabric in another colour but can’t decide between the Forest Green or the Ochre…

Thanks again for the supplies Minerva! See you next month – happy sewing!