The Florence Dress from Sew Over It came with issues 30 and 31 of Simply Sewing Magazine as a Sewalong. I was unsure at first as the waist-line looked high and I thought that it might swamp my figure and not nip in at the right places. In short, I wasn’t going to bother. Then on a whim I thought of the lovely, bargain Mermaid print that I had 5 metres of and cut the top out. The fabric was so cheap that I wasn’t too worried if it didn’t work out and it was so easy that I couldn’t see a reason not to. The pattern came with inserts in the magazine but with a promise that it would be released later this year.
I was also spurred on from seeing Jenny of Crafty Sew and Sew in Dorset putting hers together. It looked great and it inspired me to give it a go. She decided against the sleeves and made bias binding instead and I think it looks great.
As with all the Sew Over It patterns, the construction is simple and clever and the instructions were lovely and clear. I put the top half together easily and then only had to wait a few days for the next magazine to come through my door! On another whim, I kept red thread in my machine from another project so I could practice some top-stitching.
In the end I was won round by the bodice, I often think that shirt dresses look a little too stiff for casual wear but this look quite soft and relaxed. So I progressed to the skirt, which, again was nice and simple. I tried to line the pattern of the waves in the fabric up along the seams and felt this was pretty successful but the fabric is quite light and slippery so it doesn’t always meet!
The bodice and skirt are attached and create the channel for the elastic, you don’t have an extra stitching round the waistline. It’s clever details like this, which always work out which makes me like Sew Over It patterns.
I tried it on at this point and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked the fit and that the elasticated waist was in the right place. I was going to try leaving it sleeveless like Jenny but I couldn’t bring myself to do it – I’m really not a fan of my arms! So I shortened the sleeves and added a short sleeve instead. I didn’t have much fabric left at this point so I wasn’t too precious about the pattern matching but I think it looks fine.
I added more top stitching to the collar and placket at this point so that it looks more like a feature, rather than a possible mistake! I love navy and white with red. I tried it on again to ensure I got the button hole placement right, I din’t want gapeage, which is what happened a little with my last Shirt Dress make. I then asked for opinions on Instagram to help decide on buttons and I’m so glad I did – it got a huge response and the Vintage Glass Buttons that I was desperate to use anyway won over! They were small so I used four instead of three as the pattern dictates but I make my own clothes so who cares?! (Don’t you love that about it?) I hemmed it and it was complete.
I was completely taken aback with this pattern, I really thought it wasn’t going to be for me, but I absolutely love it! I can completely see myself on the marina on my holidays next year in this and can’t wait to make another, I think I might even embrace sleeveless and maybe a small leg split too! It just goes to show that it is well worth thinking outside the box with sewing. What do you think? Have you ever made a garment which made you do a U-turn like this?
I wore this to my mum’s in a day of rare sunshine. My sister has asked if I’ll make her one and I intend to make another so I’ll be busy. My Mum’s dog, Murphy is gorgeous but not much of a poser!!