Hello, I’m Linden from Vine Lines Creative (www.vinelinesquilting.com &www.instagram.com/vinelines). I’m a quilter, quilting teacher, pattern writer, tester and editor. This is my first project with Simple Sew and I’m excited to be on their new blogging team.
The fabric and pattern were provided to me courtesy of Simple Sew – all opinions are my own.
I’ve got a soft spot for tunics and long dresses at the moment. Spring has just started here in Australia so I’m looking forward to building my summer wardrobe. On the day these photos were taken it was about 10° so the photo shoot was short and sharp because I was freezing!
The pattern is aimed at beginners and that’s very appropriate. There are five pattern pieces and not a lot of seams. The waistband takes some concentration; I would recommend reading the pattern well and pinning all seams so that you can see the way the waistband builds up as you go. I made an error with the buttonholes but the way the waistband is constructed I was able to hide the incorrect buttonholes within the waistband.
Here I must make a note. MAKE A MUSLIN FIRST! Why yes, I did write that in CAPS. I had my measurements taken recently and sat in between Size 16 bust and Size 20 hips according to Simple Sew’s chart. As this dress has so much ease, I didn’t worry about a muslin and just made a standard Size 16. It’s very big and I think I could have actually fit the Size 12. For this style of dress it really doesn’t matter as it just means the waist is tied in a little further but it does mean there’s a lot of extra fabric floating about.
I also took 5” off the length. I’m 160cm tall so not terribly short and this wasn’t a big deal because I just trimmed it off right at the end.
I used a directional, ‘striped’ fabric. It’s a 100% cotton from Art Gallery – they have such soft cottons which wears so nicely and drapey. I wanted the stripes to match up so I took some extra time with matching the pattern pieces.
Here’s a quick tutorial for how to match the front and back stripes.
- Trace the pattern pieces in my size onto some medium weight interfacing first.
- Lay out the back pieces first (it doesn’t matter if it’s back or front first), aligning the grain line. Pin the interfacing to the fabric. If you have a large ruler, make sure the grain line is parallel with the selvedge by placing it down on the grain line.
- Cut the back piece out but keep the fabric attached to the interfacing.
- Take the front piece and lay it out on top of the piece you have just cut, so that the seams match the back piece. You’ll be matching the bottom hem and the side seams.
- Mark important sections of the fabric onto the new pattern piece. You’ll see in my example that I marked a couple of lines and flowers.
- Lay the front section onto the fabric, aligning those parts of the design you’ve just drawn up.
- Cut out the front section and you’ll find that when you join the pieces, they’ll now be aligned.
I have recently bought a binding foot for my Janome 6600P machine so I used it to attach the binding. I found a satin binding which matches perfectly and I was lucky enough to find some cord for the waist ties that also matched perfectly – I love the pop of dark pink. I love using binding as an alternative to hemming and was going to attach binding to the bottom hem but instead, I used a rolled hem on my overlocker. I love the way it sits; it’s perfect for this soft fabric.
What would I do differently next time?
- As I mentioned earlier, I would definitely make a muslin!
- I’d like to make the top next time – I love it as a full length frock but I’d really like to have a shorter version for wearing over a skivvy and leggings for in between seasons.
- I would use a polycotton binding rather than satin – satin was hard to manipulate through the binding foot.
This pattern is definitely suitable for beginners – some concentration is required but it’;s very achievable.
Go forth and sew