Goodness Grace-ious Me!

At least that’s what I hope people will say!

This is my first make of 2021, following on from the Ava Skirt. This pattern is another beauty from Sew Over It, and is accompanied by online tutorials as part of their Stitch School subscription. I had printed the pattern and instructions ready to go back in July, and traced a straight size 10, but for a number of reasons I’ve only just got round to making it ready for Spring/Summer 2021.

Starting with the fabric choice, I had loads in mind for this from my favourite Love Fabric, however there was very limited stock at the time and in the end I opted for a Rose and Hubble cotton poplin in pale blue with a small floral print. Jennie was also able to provide me with a 22 inch cream concealed zip so I have been ready and waiting for the right moment to start making this. And the time is now in a cold and dark January in lockdown!

Rose and Hubble in Pale Blue

Having now made quite a few items of clothing, including the Emma dress with princess seams and my shirt dress, I felt quite confident approaching this. I’d also in the meantime revisited my sewing machine manual and realised that I had an Overedge foot for my Janome, which meant I had a lovely easy way of finishing any raw edges without an overlocker. Oh the benefit of experience!

It started well

Starting with the bodice, I stitched the front and back sections at the shoulder seams after finishing the raw edges, and did the same with the facing as instructed. This is where I came unstuck. Sewing the facing to the main bodice was fine around the neckline, but then I got so stuck when it came to sewing it round the arm holes and I couldn’t for the life of me work out how I was supposed to then turn it through. I stitched and unpicked several times before I realised I needed to walk away and get some sleep. Little did I know that this was one of those moments which was going to cause me to lose sleep!

Or so I thought…

Google to the rescue! I found some great videos which showed me how to sew the facing to the bodice. They started by laying it out flat with the facing on top, and then showed that to turn it through meant jimmying it through the narrow gaps in the shoulder seams. Never in my life would I have worked that out, and the printed instructions are very vague. The youtube videos that SOI provide that I could find in my strop were for different dresses, and seemed to do completely different things to their written instructions (at least to a novice they do).

Back to it the next day, and I’d cracked the bodice, and the rest from there was fairly plain sailing. Sew the front and back skirt pieces together at the side seams. Put some gather stitches in and gather the front and back skirt pieces. Sew those to the bodice and voila – ready for the concealed zip!

Zipping through it

I’ve only done one concealed zip so far, again for the Emma Dress. That was an OK first attempt, but still to this day it haunts me because it wasn’t as concealed as I wanted it to be. I started the zip on the Grace dress when I was tired, so only sewed one side before walking away from it. When I came back to it a few days later, I felt fresher, and the second side was a lot more concealed than the first! On finishing the back skirt seam up to the bottom of the zip, and after sewing the tie belt, I hung the dress up to find that the zip was just going to bug me unless I sorted it out.

A couple of days later, I finally came back to it. I simply put the concealed zipper foot back onto the machine, and attempted to stitch even closer to the teeth on both sides, which seems to have done the trick. I’ve also sewn in a label, and slip stitched the gap on the tie belt to now complete the dress.

From start to finish, this dress has taken me about a week. I started it on a Sunday evening by cutting out all of the pattern pieces, and finished it after work on a Monday evening, sewing in the weekday evenings in between. The fit overall is lovely, however the shoulders don’t quite sit right, and I think it’s because I have at some point incorrectly stitched the facing together, but I’m not entirely sure – oops! It still looks gorgeous and I am really excited to prance around in it when the warmer weather gets here. It’s definitely a pattern I will make again.

Happy prancing!

Em x

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