Just Sew Helen’s #sewthisischristmas Lena dress hack

Sam #sewthisischristmas, Clothspot fabrics, Pattern Review 0 Comments

Welcome to my first post on the Simple Sew blog and I’m really pleased to join the team of sewing bloggers. It was exciting to have a free range of the Simple Sew patterns & similarly fabrics from ClothSpot.

My pattern of choice is the Lena Wrap Dress, a classic style with a wrap bodice, waistband and flared skirt.  The pattern has a nice envelope with a fold at the side which will allow the pieces to fit back in easily once cut and refolded. The pattern itself is printed on good quality tissue paper.

The fabric arrived beautifully packaged in aubergine coloured tissue paper with a couple of complimentary fabric swatches.  I had chosen a rich winter Ponte – a dark background grey with bronze accents, namely, ‘Aviary’ charcoal & bronze printed ponte Roma jersey fabric.  There is also an alternative fabric that is very similar, ‘Floreat’ – chestnut & violet printed ponte Roma jersey. 

I pre-washed the fabric and dried it flat on the airer. The fabric became quite heavy when it was wet, and I had to be careful that the fabric didn’t pull out of shape or ‘dent’ from the edges of the airer. There were a couple of dents, but these ironed out with a bit of steam.

There is a right and wrong way up to the fabric, however, I didn’t pattern match on this occasion due to the wrap front and the subtle design of the pattern.

I’m not keen on wearing flared skirts and replaced the skirt with one from a pattern I have used in the past, The Joni Dress.  I like the waist pleats, being a bit different to standard darts. 

The pattern pieces were accurate and the instructions easy to follow.  After making a toile, I made my usual adjustments which included –

– a FBA (full bust adjustment)

– slightly lengthening the bodice

– taking in the nape of the neck

– grading up a size over the hips

I originally made the skirt with pockets but as the fabric is quite thick, I didn’t think it hung well across my hips, so I reluctantly removed them. I had added elastic across the pocket fronts to reduce any stretching out and similarly added elastic to the shoulder seams, neckline and waistband which all help to prevent any stretching of the fabric when wearing the garment.  Again, due to the weight of the fabric the bodice didn’t need lining which is detailed in the pattern.  Consequently, I opted to sew a narrow hem along the neckline which would otherwise have been finished with the lining.

For a simple FBA I follow the advice of Melly Sews.

The sleeves fitted the armscye perfectly and didn’t require a gathering stitch across the head of the sleeve which is usually required when inserting sleeves.

I used a lightening stitch throughout for the seams and neatened all of the seams with a zig zag stitch. I do have an overlocker that I inherited from my mom but have yet to use it.  Maybe next time I make this dress, I’ll have a go with the overlocker, which, once mastered would make this a really quick make.

Although I’ve made this dress as part of the Simple Sew #sewthisischristmas festive makes, this isn’t a party dress but a really comfortable classic shape that has plenty of give for my Christmas dinner.  The finished dress is quite heavy due to the lovely winter weight of the fabric and I will store the dress folded to avoid any stretch from coat hangers.

Helen’s little helper!

I’m really pleased with how the dress turned out and send huge thanks to Simple Sew & ClothSpot for the pattern and fabric.

Helen – JustSewHelen.com

We love Just Sew Helen’s Lena Wrap dress and it’s versatility not only for Christmas but also for the winter too, due to the heavy weight Ponte jersey from Clothspot. They have a range of quality Ponte Roma jersey’s, so take a look below at some of our favourites. For more details on suitable fabrics, sizing see the Lena back pattern envelope below. And if you fancy hacking the skirt to a more fitted style, as Helen has, why not use the Simple Sew Scarlett Dress pattern, which has a darted pencil skirt.

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