Today’s make is one I have returned to… The Rosie Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Mag was one of my first free patterns and one I tried pretty early in my sewing. The Cotton and Chalk patterns are massive on the ease and the dress I made was a little dodgy (with a very wonky zip) and it was definitely too big. I also didn’t use sleeves, which isn’t something I wouldn’t do anymore as if I make things for myself, I’m making them to hide the bits I don’t like!
Anyway, I got this lovely navy tie dyed style fabric, which reminds me of the Shibori style of dying from a shop I recently discovered called Fibers to Fabric over on Etsy. They sell some beautiful, bright, ethnic style fabrics! This fabric is a lovely light cotton and although I sewed this up on a rare snow day from school, it had my thoughts in spring. It presses and handles a treat and is beautiful and rich in colour. I decided it would be perfect for a remake of the Rosie dress.
I sized the whole pattern down by a size, even though the measurements say I should be an XL, I knew it would be too big, so I used the L. The pattern has subtle gathers at the shoulder and bust and a waist-band which is pretty flattering.
It comes with a bias binding neckline which you stitch in place before you join the front for a really neat finish. Anything that use bias binding it a winner in my eyes (I mentioned I hate facings, right?) The construction of the bodice was pretty easy but a little lengthier than usual as you have the extra features. I was lucky the the patterning on the fabric is pretty random so I didn’t have to worry too much about pattern matching.
The sleeves are interesting as they have a little gather in them also, this is created by a 2 inch piece of elastic which you pull as you sew.
Having seen that the fabric took pretty easily to the elastic, I decided to try a little trick… Because I was essentially too lazy to put a billion gathering stitches about the waistline and I know the dress needs A LOT of gathering, I decided to try the method for gathering that the Moneta uses, which is to use clear elastic to gather the waistline.
I measured the bottom of the bodice and cut elastic to that size and then I stretched it as I sewed it to the top of the skirt piece whilst stretching the elastic. It worked an absolute treat, it was so much easier and it has made for really neat gathering. All I had to do then was attach it to the bodice, no gathering required! (winner). I’m not sure this would work with all fabrics but because this is a light, soft cotton, it worked a treat!
I distinctly remember making my first Rosie dress and it’s meant that I have really felt how much my dress making capabilities have improved. I’m really happy with this gorgeous dress, it feels floaty and feminine and perfect for spring and summer.