I’ve been a ‘member’ of Sew My Style for the past year and a half and despite buying a couple of the patterns with the intention of making them, this is the first time I’ve actually made anything within the time frame.
There’s a distinct gap in my wardrobe for a casual summer dress that I enjoy wearing. I have short dresses that I can wear with tights in winter, but nothing really suitable for summer wear. The Quincy dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade caught my eye when it was advertised as one of the options for the June Sew My Style, and I decided to go for it.
I’ve never been wholly attracted to this style. It appeared too girly for me, and not so useful for day-to-day life. Well, Me Made May showed me that I actually do sometimes like to look a bit girly, and having a dress to wear would really enhance my wardrobe. Making useful basics all the time is all very well, but sometimes it’s important to have froth in the wardrobe too!
The Quincy is designed for an average height of 5’6″. At 5’11”, I am slightly taller than the block and so decided to add 1.5″ to the bodice length and 1″ to the skirt length. I was really worried about how this would sit! The bodice length, in particular, as I think it’s been a while since I’ve made a woven dress for myself. In fact, when was the last time?!
The only dress I’ve shown to you all is my Helen’s Closet York Pinafore, where bodice length wasn’t an issue. And… as I’ve now completely shrunk that dress (sob!) in the wash, the fit is beyond saving!
So, it’s been a while since bodice fit was a real issue for me, which means I did have nerves about how to make this up. Especially seeing as I was making it in beautiful wine-red linen bought at the same time as the linen for my jumpsuit. This was purchased from Fabric Focus in Edinburgh and I’ve just discovered that they’re selling via their website now too!
I cut a straight size 12, although for the skirt my measurements fell into a 10. This often happens, due to my body shape (36 : 31 : 39) but I thought a bit of extra gathering would be no bad thing. There is also stated ease throughout the pattern, and so I did not think I needed to make any other adjustments, although I also raised the pocket openings (and therefore the depth of the pockets) by an inch, as I thought they looked a bit low in the pattern photos.
I chose to make the cuffed sleeve, as the wee notch on the sleeve of my Moderne coat is one of my favourite features. I thought this little detail would look lovely on this too.
As my linen is medium weight, I decided to use some lighter-weight scrap fabric for the facings and the inner back yoke. I chose the gorgeous flowery cotton fabric. I don’t know the origins of this, but I have had it for years. It’s so soft and silky: gorgeous fabric!
I did have concerns about it being too light next to the linen, but thought I’d give it a try and if the worst came to the worst I could always swap it for the linen during the sewing process. I was excited though, as I thought the slightly-vintage look fabric would enhance the linen, and I knew I’d be able to sew it without any grey peeking out. These secret details make me very happy. When wearing my dungarees I still sometimes peak at the lining, just because I love it! #sewinggeekandproud
Having learnt a lesson from my jumpsuit, I knew just how fray-y this linen is. I decided to zig-zag all pattern pieces before sewing, so that even those enclosed seams would be strong. I am really glad that I did this, despite the extra effort required. I read each portion of the instructions and tried to plan so that the seams that were due to be trimmed would have the zig zag positioned further towards the stitching line. In all, it seemed to work, and in fact made sewing certain aspects much easier as the seams were already finished. To finish, I decided to top stitch along the skirt panels. I love this detail and am really pleased with the finished result.
It was a soggy, wet day today and I managed to get the whole thing completed. My mum phoned for a chat while I was finishing up the buttons and it made that task go a million times faster. There’s nothing better than having a blether while sewing!
I’m wearing the dress tonight with leggings underneath and feel comfy and relaxed. Despite not being 100% sure about the buttons at first, now I love them! And I still think my cord is too thick and could alternatively swap it for a colour that coordinates better with the buttons, thus making a feature out of the blues! We shall see what happens…
I am calling this one a success. I really, really loved the process of making this dress and really enjoyed sewing in a woven again. I find myself ready to tackle something more challenging next (trousers???), although my boyfriend does keep reminding me that I promised him some sewn goodies soon…
What have you been sewing recently? Have you participated in Sew my Style?
PS. These photos were taken on the beach on an evening that was probably a little too windy! Never mind, my dreams have come true: this is the perfect beach dress 🙂
An outtake: “this is my stuff, don’t get this in the photos!”