The Reworked Olivia Dress

This dress is the Olivia Dress, another member of the Cotton and Chalk family for Simply Sewing magazine. It’s sister being The Rosie Dress. I was disappointed with this make for a few reasons, which you shall see throughout, but I think this was probably more down to my skills than the pattern.


4 Metres Purple Large Paisley Dress fabric. 58" Wide. (End Of Roll)

So… I thought the dress looked really hippy-ish and I went for the first view, which is long and has 3/4 length sleeves. I had some purple paisley viscose which seemed to fit the bill nicely; turns out I was wrong…

There was something oddly satisfying about cutting out the big lengths of fabric needed for this. However, much less satisfying was the neckline, which nearly finished the relationship between me and my machine. The poor thing took some abuse on neckline sewing day, though clearly it’s my fault as I’m the human who was completely unable to work the facings out.

I stepped away from my machine for a walk with my Mum and her dog, Murphy, and felt much better about the whole facing situation. Not before my Mum got the ‘bad workmen blame their tools’ saying in though! I’m glad I did because I restarted and I’m much happier with it, I’ve even managed to pattern match the facing!


Once I worked the neckline situation out, the rest of the construction was pretty easy. Check out my super neat, contrast elastic casing!


However, as promised, there was another problem… because I did have to insert elastic, it was hard to fit this to my shape along the way and the dress was too big in the end. Also, because the pattern is so busy it just felt too frumpy and unflattering, which just goes to show the importance of fabric choice.

not impressed…

My husband gave me that look that suggested he was dreading me going out of the house in it and said I looked like Demis Roussos. If you are thinking you don’t know who that is, like I was, let me help you out…


Yep, a 1970’s Greek singer, who is apparently well-known for wearing over sized dress style garments! Charming… he is just so constructive in his criticism! Sadly, he did have a point.


So I took it back to the machine after a month or so of blatantly ignoring it. I took the arms and sides in by an inch and took 9 inches off the length (I managed to keep a little bit of the original side slit, which I like as a feature). It’s not a big change but enough to completely change the look of this dress for the better and make it in to something far more wearable. What a winner!

much shorter side split, much whiter legs

I wore this with tights and my blue wrap cardigan to a gorgeous meal with my amazing hubby at The Mizen Head in Bamburgh. We went for a walk on the green by the castle, where you can hear the sea and the air is so fresh. It is quite literally my favourite place in the world.


Yes, I did eat all that! YUM!




received_10153973179631200Definitely a happy Friday for us in the most amazing place with some of our family.x

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