Sunday, 16 August 2015

Dahlia summer dress

A while ago (June!), I wrote that I would keep my blog more up to date with regular posts...What happened?! Well, mid-way through writing a new post my laptop died a horrible death and was never resurrected, that's what! Hmmm, obviously I still have that blog post, hanging about in my drafts, but my photo's were, stupidly, saved to the desktop and therefore lost.  The good news is that I have a new (to me) computer and desk (made by me and my husbands fair hands, no less!) and I've retaken the missing photos so I can start posting again. 

Whilst on my 'break', I only managed to make a couple of items of clothes because we've been busy with constructing a desk, upcycling other furniture, gardening, and trying to enjoy a bit of the summer! Then (playgroup) school was out for (7 whole weeks, we've still got 2 to go!) summer and my sewing time has almost vanished! I missed blogging a lot, so here's my first post after my 'break' - a Dahlia sun dress.

I love reading Heather's blog and I've followed her for a while on IG, so I was easily swayed into her Sundress Sew-a-long when it popped up in my IG feed! You still just have time to join in if you want to... I decided a summer dress was just thing I needed to make for my holiday in September.
grab button for Handmade By Heather B
I used the Colette Patterns Dahlia dress, which I have made before, but not the sun dress version. Unfortunately I haven't worn this sun dress yet because the summer hasn't really shown up! However, there was some sunshine this morning and I did get some photos done, although, I had to change into something warmer afterwards! It's COLD!
Dahlia Pattern. Image from
OK, the pattern used mostly different pattern pieces for this version (2) of the dress. I think I prefer the skirt of version 1, which is three pieces, not six, and has some lovely gather details where the skirt and yoke meet. Not sure it would have worked for this fabric though, as it's not as drapey as the rayon I used for the version 1 dress. 

I re-drew the front and back bodice pattern pieces so that they would cover my bra straps. I made a muslin and adjusted on this and transferred my adjustments to the paper pattern after.
I lowered the neckline on the back bodice by 5cm. However, I didn't curve it enough - not sure this straight line across my back works on me! But it does cover (most of) the bra straps up!
I sewed the bias binding around the arm and neckline in a different order to the pattern. I decided to do it differently, because of the more angled join of the straps to the back bodice piece. However, I wouldn't do this again. I would redraw the curve of the back bodice neckline and then sew the bias as directed. This way the front straps won't gape (it's only a slight amount, but it matters to me!).

I lowered the the front pattern piece neckline by 1.5cm. Also, I feel like I have a long body, I'm not entirely sure if this is true (except that swimsuits never seem to have enough length in them!) Anyway, for this reason I thought it a good idea to add 2.5cm to the length of waist yoke. Looking at the photo's, I'm not convinced it works. Although it looks better than the muslin did according to my husband!

I cut a size 8 for the bodice, grading from an 8 to a 10 at the waist yoke, then a 10 at the top of the skirt to an 8 at the hips. I also took the skirt side seams in by 5cm at the hem. I just seemed to have some extra fabric, perhaps more than I like to wear, maybe I would only take 2.5cm out next time.  
Colette Patterns Dahlia Dress Version 2
It's from The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley. They don't sell on-line, but if you are local to Hinckley (Leicestershire), it's worth a visit as the service is excellent! It's a very floral cotton (maybe not 100%?) fabric, it feels like a lawn, but it also feels like it has a very slight horizontal stretch. Hmm, I love looking at it, but, I'm not sure it's entirely me. But I tried something different and I will wear it. I do love the shape of the dress and will probably be making another soon, maybe the top of version 2, bottom of version 1. I just need to find some 'me' fabric. Maybe a solid colour would work well and would let the gathers sing out. The fabric was lovely to work with and my bias binding was beautifully easy to make (just the sort of practice I needed).
Neckline detail
I overlocked my raw edges on my new overlocker! I made the purchase a few months ago and I'm still getting used to it. I do love how speedy I can sew up clothes now though!
I do really love our garden. We've worked hard to make this border this year. It still needs loads more plants in it, but we're chuffed with it so far!
I'm very much looking forward to wearing this in warming climes (Spain!)...before September I've got a bit more holiday sewing planned. I've nearly finished a skirt, maybe I will fit in something else, I'm not sure what though. Have you been sewing for a holiday or are you bypassing and beginning your autumnal sewing already?!!!


  1. In all honesty, I'd not paid much attention to the Dahlia dress but actually, your sun dress looks lovely!

    1. Thank you! It's a really nice pattern & one which has some lovely details on it.