My dress for the Minerva Crafts Blogging Network this month has a definite vintage feel to it. I used the vintage inspired Eliza M Audrey dress sewing pattern which Claire, the lady behind Eliza M and Simple Sew patterns, gave to me for review purposes. I teamed the pattern with some of Minerva's delightful designer cotton lawn fabric in a retro print. I think it's a good pairing! (Coincidentally, Minerva now stocks Eliza M patterns, which is brilliant).
The cotton lawn fabric was amazing to work with. It feels so soft, it is light and drapes quite well for a cotton, and it behaves itself in that it doesn't seem to stretch or warp. The print is awesome, obviously (I'm easily won over by novelty). Best of all, the fabric is 60" wide, which means you don't need very much of it at all to make a dress. This dress has a full circle skirt but I used less than 2 metres of fabric. Winner.
I really love the design of the Audrey dress – the low V back especially. It isn't lined: the neck and armholes are finished with a facing, which I like because it keeps the cost down and it's easy to make. I actually used a plain black cotton fabric for the facings, in order to try and preserve as much of the main fabric as possible. By doing this I was able to make the dress in a size 14 out of 1m65cm of main fabric and 35cm of plain cotton for the facings.
The print of the fabric is two-way, so at the side seams of the circle skirt, the print is running horizontally, but I quite like this effect. The only downside to squeezing a circle skirt onto 60" wide fabric was that I was unable to lengthen it as it only just fit on. I'm quite tall at 5'10" and this dress sits a few inches above the knee – what might be termed as a "fun and flirty" length when you're no longer in your twenties! I think I can just about get away with it with bare legs in summer, so long as I'm wearing knickers with decent bum-coverage underneath just in case the wind catches the skirt, a bit like this:
In terms of alterations to the pattern, I didn't need to do much - I tapered out from the armscye to the waist from 5/8" to 1/4", and used a slightly smaller seam allowance at the centre back (3/8" instead of 5/8"). Next time I might lengthen the bodice slightly, which would also have the advantage of lengthening the dress overall without having to alter the skirt pattern.
I'll be writing a bit more of a pattern review over on my blog, if you're interested, but for now suffice to say I'm very pleased with my new dress (as always!) and want to say thank you to Eliza M patterns for providing the pattern and of course to Minerva for the fabric and notions! If you would like to make your own you can find everything you need in my materials list; fabric, thread, zip and the pattern.