I have had these patterns for a while, and a wedding invite last January was a bit of an excuse to make them. It was for an April wedding, (last weekend) in the very west of Ireland (connemara). Both patterns are very simple, and were relatively quick makes (my favourite type).
I am especially pleased with the dress as I think the shoulders being slightly extended make it a very flattering cut for the pear shaped, and although I graded it out for my hips, I ended up having to take it in, and for all my ‘A-line empire line shift dress patterns’ this one is the best! I wanted to run up a ‘wearable’ muslin – and as luck would have it, I found a strange (I think 70s synthetic curtain fabric?) piece in the fabric cupboard in the community sew room – It had been there a while, and has a not-great feel to it, but has the look of thick linen, and there was just enough to get the dress out of it. There was not enough for the collar so I used some satin, and I didn’t fully ‘get’ the steaming of the collar first time, so I just bias bound it and simplified it.
Finding the fabric for both the coat and dress was a bit of a chore as the local fabric shop has only a small selection, and my favourite Dublin shop (Murphy Sheehys) now only does interior fabric, so I went online and got this from Clothspot in the UK. I was trying to keep within a budget (40stg was the total in the end), and chose a grossgrain (not my favourite fabric but knew the weight would work fine) in a red and a cotton in ‘pebble’ for the coat. The red dress was quick to run up and the collar much easier once kept steam ironing – I never did this type of collar before so was pleased with the finish. Basically its a straight strip of bias, folded and then steamed into a curve shape to mimic the interfacing, and then trimmed if longer than the interfacing. I omitted the pockets flaps/mock pockets as I really could not see the point and they seemed unnecessary.
I had been hoping to make a summer coat for a while as they really are useful, but finding the right weight of fabric was difficult. This fabric was slightly light for a coat, and creased easily enough, so I ended up interlining it at the last minute. I was unable to get a cotton voile so I just used vilene – I did not interline the sleeves as they are on the bias, and therefore should not ‘hold onto’ an elbow crease (I think this should be the case but will see how it wears in time). I lined the main part of the coat in some left over craft fabric and used regular lining for the sleeves (and not enough craft fabric left)
The collar of the coat is bias cut, and I had to do a pad stitch – which I never did before and wasn’t sure so out came Allyne Bane sewing book – creative clothing construction (one of my go-to books) and I am really pleased with the roll and sit of the collar, it sits away from the neck. Other than that, the only other issue was BUTTONS (I spent ages and ages and ages on them) – I could not figure one at all, but went with covered ones and they seem fine. I did keyhole buttonholes on the machine, as I had not chosen my buttons until after the coat was fully made. The side seams are slightly to the front on this which makes for comfortable in-seam side pockets, and the ribbon close just threads through under the arms. I think it looks a bit fussy closed, but I do like the way the ribbons drape at the side when its worn open. I stiched red gross-grain over wider plum gross-grain to make the ribbon-tie, and I have a blue brown one which I will use this summer to wear with denims!
I made the bag as well, but it was rather rushed as I did it the morning of the wedding! I used a noodlehead pencil case pattern, and then recycled a lanyard clasp.
Overall, it all worked so well. The day itself was incredibly sunny, but rather cool, so the coat worked out very well as most of the afternoon was spent on a windy terrace, and I got to wear my favourite silver shoes – so all good.