Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lonsdale Dress modeled

Sharon is pleased *WIN* and that pleases the dressmaker *WIN*

And she said she didn't like being photographed!  Honey, if you've got it - flaunt it!

Good for spinning.
Deets on how I made the dress:
I wanted to know if I could take measurements and make flat pattern alterations, then sew a dress without sewing a muslin first.  One of my sewing idols, Ann Rowley works this way.  She doesn't blog, but she is active on Stitchers Guild sewing discussion forum.  If you search around there, you can find her Flickr album.  Ann is a classically trained dressmaker who learned as a young woman, before women wore trousers, as she puts it.  She will be the first to tell you there are multiple ways to approach fitting and garment construction;  this is just how she does it.  We all find what works best for ourselves as we gain experience.

Factors contributing to the success of the project:
  • No shoulder fitting required for this dress style, only these torso measurements:
    • upper chest
    • full bust
    • waist
    • hips
  • Easy fit model
    • Sharon buys lots of clothes off-the-rack, so she is not a challenge to fit
    • I see her at work and at the gym every day, so I have some instinctive knowledge of her figure. This is more important that it may seem.  I had to rely on my gut while making decisions along the way.
  • Love the pattern - motivated me
  • Love the fabric - motivated me
Here is the sequence of steps to create this fitted dress:

  1. Record Sharon's girth and length measurements necessary for this style
  2. Compare her measurements to the actual pattern and adjust as necessary.  I did a petite adjustment.
  3. Cut dress and baste it together, including a zipper, using a long basting stitch. 
  4. One meeting with Sharon for a fitting of the basted dress provided this feedback:
    1. Size 10 was too big!  Even though I had compared the measurements, and assumed no wearing ease in the bodice, I still had to take it in about 5/8" (1.5 cm) on both sides.
    2. The waist needed to be levelled - it was fine in center front and center back, but it dipped on the sides
    3. The skirt also had to be taken in about 5/8" (1.5 cm) on both sides, and tapered to the hips.
    4. It was way too long and I foolishly neglected to take a measurement for what the finished length should be.  This is where I went on my gut and cut off "a goodly amount", as my mother would say.  It worked.  Oh!  All except for the part where I messed up!  Yeah, there was that, ha!
    5. There was gaping at the upper edge of the bodice, so I devised an elastic treatment to keep the edge snug.
  5. Adjust pattern for the alterations.  (I am not sure if Ann does this part, but I wanted to record the changes back to the paper pattern)
  6. Remove basting stitches in dress
  7. Use altered pattern pieces to recut dress.
  8. Sew
This has been a very fun sew-along with Tasia at Sewaholic and it was rather impulsive on my part  something my Sewing Mojo needed.  There is always a little stress when sewing for someone else. The MAIN PROBLEM being you can't try it on to check fit. And I am really not sure I have the patience to schedule extra fittings, you know?   On the other hand, sewing goes fast if you aren't stopping at each step to try it on.  I do that a lot, do you?

Hats off to home sewists because we indulge and appreciate ourselves, don't we?
Happy Sewing!


  1. Looks absolutely fantastic! I really like this length too!! YAY! Definitely a win-win

  2. Great dress, Robin! She looks very pleased!

  3. Just perfect - she is lovely and looks very happy with the dress!

  4. Really, really, REALLY beautiful dress. Perfect fabric for that pattern!

  5. That is a brilliant fit and fabulous use of the fabric print. I'm currently making a dress for a friend, so appreciate your outline of the process you used. Oh, and your friend has a FABULOUS figure. As you say, if you've got it ... you know what to do! Indeed a win, win situation. Your friend must be delighted.

  6. Beautiful dress and the fabric is awesome.

  7. Spectacular result. Wow, Robin, this worked out wonderfully. Terrific use of the fabric and pattern combo and such a happy grateful friend.

  8. Fabulous. Fabulous. Fabulous. Fabulous. You did a great job, Robin, with everything and especially the fit, but also the marriage of pattern to fabric. And you can see how much she loves it. She looks amazing in it. :D

  9. Sharon looks great! The halter neckline really emphasizes her great shape. Nice job, Robin!

  10. First Sharon looks amazing in this dress - simply amazing! Next you did a fabulous job on this!

  11. That dress looks even better on, if that's possible. Really a terrific project! Congrats to you both!

  12. The dress is perfect on her. She looks absolutely beautiful. Great job!

  13. Oh, very pretty! Are the straps just twisted in the center front instead of being tied? Nice variation. Beautiful dress and beautiful model. Well done!

  14. I was hoping you would show photos of this dress on a person. It is beautiful and your friend is gorgeous and looks so happy in it. I am glad you were able to find more of the fabric.

  15. That dress is a great fit and soooo pretty! Love it!

  16. That looks great on her! What a wonderful fit and overall look.

  17. That dress is a real winner, Robin. Your friend must be so delighted with her custom-made garment. I really enjoyed reading all of the sewing details/decisions for the dress in this post.

    This is one of the prettiest sundresses I've seen all summer. Hearty congrats!

  18. I missed the fact that you were making this gorgeous dress for someone else. I love it and would love to know where I could buy the fabric from. It would make a great summer/spring kaftan top.

  19. Gail, maybe you missed seeing the links I posted - the fabric is available at Gorgeous Fabrics.
    It would look great with your coloring!

  20. I love how it turned out. And the fabric is great!


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