Despite the fact that this fabric has been stashed for so long it has actually always, from the moment of purchase, been intended for this project. The inspiration for this dress cropped up when I was idea hunting for Julia Bobbin's last Mad Men Challenge. I absolutely loved the neckline of Joanie's dress pictured above and for some reason all I could see it on for me was a La Sylphide dress! This plan festered in my head for months and months. When I finally found the confidence to draft that collar for myself I realised I didn't have enough of the crepe anyway...back to the drawing board! I still loved the idea of a contrast, monochrome collar and eventually realised that of course I could still do that anyway using the original pattern. I simply folded the neckline pattern piece in two and added a 1cm seam allowance along the folded edge. I cut one pair from the white, one pair from the black and sewed each white piece to the corresponding black piece before continuing as per the instructions! Simple! The white fabric is a synthetic crepe I had in my stash. It has a similar weight and drape to the crepe so it worked out well.
The pattern itself is a gorgeous unique design which I think looks great with opaque tights in winter, although I can't wait to make one in a flippy colourful print for summer! It's quite a challenging sew which I like, though in a cotton I imagine certain aspects would be more straightforward and so good for developing your skills. I love the three quarter length sleeves (stylish yet practical) although I'd be tempted to go sleeveless for summer. For winter wear this fabric weight is ideal, I wouldn't want any heavier. As it is the body of the fabric gives a bit of a lift to the skirt as I move and I love the way it makes the neck tie stand up around the back of the neck, where it might have flopped into a more scarf like effect if I had chosen a lighter weight.
The buttons I picked up in Simply Fabrics in Brixton with this project in mind. I tried out some different buttons when it got to that point in construction but I just couldn't get out of my head how much I liked the matching domed buttons on Papercut's envelope version. So black domed shank buttons it was for me! Plus I've totally conquered my fear of buttonholes, I got straight on with these with no hesitation and they were one of the quickest parts of the make!
I used my rolled hem foot as suggested by Lauren in the sew-along over at the Papercut Collective. This is the best rolled hem I have done so far - with the exception of where you need to stitch over the side seams. How on earth are you supposed to squeeze those extra bits of seam allowance through the loop of the foot smoothly?! Any tips would be very much appreciated... I was so frustrated because the rest of the hem turned out pretty much perfect first time! I've tried grading the allowances, attempting to roll that little section by hand...
As I started this dress before Christmas and therefore before my lovely Mum had surprised me with my overlocker, I used my favourite french seams throughout. This is super easy to do with this pattern as the sleeves are set in flat before the side seam and underarm seam are sewn up in one.