5 October 2014

A fun, crazy-print Yaletown Dress


Here's my finished Yaletown Dress from Sewaholic Patterns. My garden looks quite damp in these photos and it is - I dashed out in between a gap in the rain this Saturday to take them. Pretty sure Autumn is just round the corner!

I had a lot of fun making this dress and I'm really pleased with it. The fabric is a gorgeous cotton lawn from The Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham - which I popped to when I had a long wait in between changing trains at Bham New Street station a few months ago. I've so enjoyed working with this fabric, and it's much more opaque than I initially thought - no camisole or slip needed to preserve dignity as I first thought. The print is certainly pretty loud but it's exactly the type of abstract floral type that catches my eye. It reminds me quite a lot of Quentin Blake and also weirdly of the teacher in the Magic School Bus children's books?!?

I was pretty keen to join in with the Sewaholic Sewalong for this dress, as I've never taken part in one before, and it certainly felt good to be sewing at the same time as everyone else! I could probably have completed this on my own, with just the instructions provided, but I picked up some good tips along the way nevertheless (including how to properly understitch - I was doing it wrong before!) 

I didn't make a muslin for this dress as I was fairly certain the loose, forgiving fit wouldn't pose too many challenges. However I did make quite a few alterations to this dress to suit my personal taste - to both the paper pattern and to the dress itself during the making process. And this time I kept proper notes!

I like reading details of alterations on other sewing blogs, particularly as they're incredibly helpful to me as a beginner sewist. I also like when they're all in one place, so I'll try and do this here.

Alterations to the pattern:

  • Graded between size 4 at the bodice and 8 at the waist. There are a good few inches of ease at the bust on this pattern, I didn't want too much loose fabric here for fear I would end up looking a little swamped.
  • I shortened the bodice 1 inch, in order to remove some of the fabric and therefore reduce the amount pooling at the waist. My waist is quite thick so too much fabric around that area makes me look like a bit of a rectangle.
  • Shortened the skirt a good 4 or 5 inches - I do this with all dresses. It's still longer than I would normally wear but I think it's very ladylike.

Alterations during sewing
  • Once I'd attached the bodice to the skirt I still felt there was too much fabric around the bust, so I shaved off about an inch from the bodice side seams in a curve that I simply eyeballed. You can see a pic of this below, just before I pinked the hell out of those seams.
  • I made up the belt and decided I wanted it longer so the ties hung lower when it's in a bow. I unpicked the centre seam and added another section to it which increased the length by about 8 or so inches.
  • I did a rolled hem on the skirt, mainly because I'd bought the foot for my machine recently and wanted to try it out. The fine lawn worked well with the tiny hem, and whilst I didn't get it 100% perfect it wasn't nearly as bad as the internet had led me to believe!
  • Finally, and probably the most obvious change, I omitted the flutter sleeves. I tried the dress on half way through and loved it the way it was (even though my sleeve pieces were already cut). I sliced off about 3/4 of an inch from both the top of the sleeve and the bottom of the armsythe and finished them with shop-bought bias binding. The print is so loud that I think adding sleeves to this dress may have been overkill, and having my shoulders on show alongside the deep V of the neckline keeps the dress flirty :) Plus, I find sleeveless dresses more wearable during the winter as it's easier to wear cardigans.
You can see the new side seam by my thumb and forefinger
So, quite a lot of alterations all in all. I'm pleased to have come out with a dress that really suits me and my lifestyle whilst also, I hope, staying true to the original design by Tasia. If I'd have wanted a sleek fitted wrap dress, I'd have bought a sleek fitted wrap dress pattern :) 

I'm looking forward to busting this dress out for the Christmas season with a pair of black tights and high heels, with a nice cardigan and probably a camisole underneath for warmth. 

I don't know when I'll next post, since my next 3 projects are all bridesmaids dresses for my Wedding next September. They'll be quite a challenge as I'm working with silk and sewing for other people, yikes! It remains to be seen whether or not I fit in some selfish sewing projects in between. Wish me luck (any tips much appreciated)!!


  1. This is beautiful! And just like you I like to read the adjustments others have made so I know what I may have to do.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I feel much more confident sewing a pattern if I've seen it pictured and written about on other blogs first :)

  2. Gorgeous dress! I love the fabric... and I totally see what you mean about it being Quentin Blake-esque!

    1. Thanks! Yes it was a lot of fun to sew and is to wear as well :)

  3. This is glorious! That fabric is ace for this pattern

    1. Thank you :) Yes it's colourful, soft and easy to sew - makes it a total winner in my eyes. Lots more sewing with cotton lawn for me!