It’s not very often that you will find me in a mostly black outfit however this poodle print jersey fabric was too adorable to pass up on! I love a novelty print, and it doesn’t come much better than an adorable pooch-y print like this one.

As well as having the best print, this jersey is extra special because it’s a rayon-jersey mix, so in addition to the usual stretchy qualities, it’s also extremely soft and silky to the touch. It has a lovely medium weight to it so would be excellent for any drapey garments.

I don’t use a lot of stretch fabrics for sewing so I perused the pattern options on the Minerva website for some ideas and inspiration, and found the Meredith Dress from Sew Over It, which I decided would be perfect. The Meredith Dress is a classic wrap dress design with skirt length options of above or below the knee. I love wrap dresses in general as I think their style is so classic and elegant and always looks very ‘put together’.  Combined with the wrap dress style I thought the monochrome poodle fabric would look so chic!

As always with a stretchy fabric like this, cutting takes about twice as long as normal because you need to take extra care when laying your fabric out and making sure it’s not stretching or moving as you cut. Once cut and markings made, the construction was very simple. The instructions also have illustrations with them, which I always appreciate so I can check that I’m definitely doing it right!

For the neck binding the pattern recommends using a stretch interfacing if your fabric is particularly stretchy or if you’re new to sewing. This is to help prevent the neckline being pulled out of shape while sewing and makes it more stable when sewing. I used a stretch interfacing around the back of the neck but left it off for the side edges of the dress.

I was planning to make the length just above the knee, because I thought it would look more flattering with coloured tights underneath but as always once it was done and I tried it on, I loved the longer length. So, I made a 1 inch hem by turning the raw edge under twice but otherwise left it 2inchs below the knee.  I wasn’t aiming for the vintage aesthetic with this dress but the longer length definitely enhances the 1940s/1950s feel.

Alterations:

When checking my measurements against the pattern, one area I didn’t consider was the location of the gap in the side seam where the tie belt feeds through. Only after I had stitched my seam did I realise that the gap was too low on me and so the tie belt was over my hip rather than my waist. It couldn’t be hiked up because that made the top layer of the bodice front gape so the seam gap needed to be moved. It was only a case of unpicking and re-sewing it slightly higher, however with the stretch stitch I was using that does take a fair amount of time and concentration not to pull a hole in the fabric! Given this little misdemeanour I highly recommend measuring from your shoulder to opposite waist to make sure the dress will be the same distance.

I don’t usually wear low necklines and I wasn’t confident that the wrap overlay wouldn’t loosen during wear and become lower so I decided to add a snap fastening just where the two sides overlap on the chest. Others may not feel this is necessary but there’s nothing more annoying than constantly checking or adjusting your clothes, so I’ve added this as a precaution! As the finishing touch I hand stitched on a Kylie and the Machine 'handmade' label which I love adding to my growing handmade wardrobe! There are 8 labels in the pack so I've got a few left for upcoming projects.

I love this finished dress – it feels so Parisian chic and paired with red accessories is just dreamy! For when I’m not feeling so continental I’m also imagining it with mustard coloured tights and beret! This is definitely a dress that is going to transcend seasons so I know it’s going to get a lot of wear.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Rebecca

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