Thursday, 23 April 2020

Floral Viscose Shelby Dress

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lacing Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

The True Bias Shelby Dress pattern has been on my radar for a while. I love the nineties grungy vibes! However, it took until last month for it to get made and find a place in my wardrobe as I had a hard time finding the fabric I wanted.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

I really wanted a viscose, the drape of which would make the most of the movement in that full panelled skirt. I also wanted a print rather than a solid but didn't want anything too twee and girly as the Shelby style is already quite feminine. Viscose prints I want to wear are very hard to come by! I mulled over a fair few from Fabric Godmother (who do stock a really good selection of viscose and rayon including their own vintage inspired prints) before stumbling upon just the thing on the Guthrie & Ghani stand at The Stitch Festival. This was only at the end of February but the thought of being at a big crowded event like that such a short time ago seems so surreal to me now.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

I had initially thought I wouldn't want a floral but I feel in love with the deep, rich colours of this print when I spotted it on the shelf. Unfortunately I can't see it on their website so it must have sold out. It is a viscose twill and what is particularly nice about it is the weight and opacity. I'm always a little hesitant about buying rayon or viscose online as some (particularly crepes) can be really quite flimsy and sheer. I prefer a bit of body to my viscose and think some weight really adds to the beautiful movement. It was so nice to be able to look at this one in person at the show. It a joy to sew with this fabric and it is even more delightful to wear. It is cool and smooth against the skin and swishes about dramatically. I machine washed it on a 30 degree gentle cycle and so far it hasn't faded or pilled at all and it presses really well with a medium iron. I used a microtex 70 needle to sew this and it moved through the machine without much shifting about. It is worth taking your time cutting viscose and making sure everything is laid out flat and on grain as it is easy to end up with some misshapen pattern pieces.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

I cut the size 4 and it feels comfortably roomy, if perhaps just slightly too roomy across the shoulders. This might have to do with my fabric choice as viscose and rayons fabrics are quite delicate and do tend to stretch out a bit as you sew but the finished garment measurements do indicate a fair bit of ease. If making again I might size down to a 2. To prevent stretching I was careful to stay-stitch the neckline and press only with an up and down movement of my iron rather than side to side. I cut the ankle length version and as I'm quite short I envisioned taking quite a chunk off the hem to make it more of a midi length but once it was sewn up I loved it just as it was.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

This dress is a bit of a fabric eater but no where near as much as the fabric requirements chart suggests. My memory is a little hazy but I believe I bought 3m of this fabric and managed to squeeze it out. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the facings and the buttons are some beautiful shell ones from my stash. My mum (and absolute hero nursing on the wards at the moment) bought them for me years ago and as she's a big fan of Peaky Blinders I'm sure she'll be pleased that they have been used on such an appropriately named dress.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

The dress is formed of eight long panels which flare out into the skirt with a facing to finish the centre front opening. There is no waist seam but shaping is provided by a tie in the back which is inserted between the back and side back panels. When I was looking at inspiration for this dress I spotted a really interesting hack on the True Bias blog for a lace up back and opted to add that in. It was really quick and fun to do and I love the finished look - although it is quite difficult to see in a photograph when sewn in this print! You make the ties as usual but join them into one long separate tie. Then you make six little rouleau loops which you insert into the side back seams instead of the ties. I centred one of the loops on the notch marking where to attach the ties, and one above and one below this. I think this is a little lower than where Kelli placed them on her sew-along version.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

There are two styles of sleeve to choose from, a classic short sleeve or a cap sleeve with a curvier bottom edge. I went for the cap sleeve but slightly wish I'd gone with the traditional version as I think it better suits that 90s grunge feel.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

I added two slits by leaving the bottom of the seams between the centre front and side front panels open below the knee. I think I could have actually made these slits a little bit longer to match the length of the opening beneath the last button at the centre front. To finish the slits nicely I sewed the seam, backstitching a few times at the top of the slit for strength. I finished the seam allowances on the overlocker then pressed the seams open before topstitching around the edge of the slit to secure the seam allowances down. To add strength at the top of the slit where it might pull as I walk I added a bar tack.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Shelby Dress with Lace Back in Viscose Twill from Guthrie & Ghani

As I've come to expect with True Bias patterns it was a really enjoyable sew and I had no problems whatsoever with the pattern or instructions. Everything comes together just as it should and I didn't change anything about the construction methods. The pattern comes with the option to make it into a romper and I'd love to make a short romper version for summer; cute and practical! 

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful dress, is there anyway to watch The Great British Sewing Bee in the US?

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    1. I'm all ears in the US also! My only British channel is the BBC, and that's news only. I'd really love to see it!

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  2. I loved Liz's dress and I love yours! This view of the pattern is the bomb, especially with those slits and the 90s styling. Love!

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  3. Beautiful dress, and the rouleau Ties are so sweet. They really add to the dress!

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    1. Thanks! i really love the laced up back, so easy to do too

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  4. Your dress is stunning! I absolutely loved the one liz made on the sewing bee and I really want to try this pattern out now, I love the slits in the longer version. Also working on the sewing bee sounds amazing!!

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  5. That's really stunning on you!

    Do youknow which was Alex's pattern too?

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  6. Oh my goodness, your dress is fabulous, and I love the fabric.

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!