The Megan Dress

9 Nov

A week or so ago I needed a dress to wear to a wedding, having scanned all items in my wardrobe I came to the conclusion I just didn’t have anything appropriate for an Autumnal wedding, albeit an indoor Autumnal wedding, pale florals and light weight dresses didn’t seem right. So I headed into town and after failing to find anything suitable or that fitted me I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get my sewing machine out.

I already had some mid weight cotton fabric in a lovely green colour, which I had bought to make a Hawthorn dress (then decided it’s not quite right for the pattern), but determined not to buy yet more fabric I decided to check whether the fabric would work for one of the lovely dresses in Tilly and the buttons book Love at First Stitch, I was in luck!

Love at first Stitch - Nettynot Blog The Megan dress.
I do seem to work well under a small amount of pressure; I made the decision to make the dress on a Wednesday to wear for the wedding on the following Monday, not much of an issue if I didn’t have a full time job. By getting stuck in and doing a little each day I got it finished without having to rush.

Megan Dress - Tilly and The Buttons - Nettynot Blog

On the Wednesday (my day off) I bought the only I item I didn’t already have, an invisible zip, I traced and cut of the pattern, made a toile of the bodice, adjusted it and cut the fabric for the main dress .

Thursday evening I sewed and pressed the darts.

Friday is cinema night so no sewing that evening.

Saturday (I work) however I did tack the dress together  so I could try it on, to ensure that I wasn’t going to spend time making something that wasn’t going to fit or look good, but I needn’t have worried, it was a good enough fit to continue.

Sunday – I worked my way through the whole pattern steadily and it took me pretty much all day, but I enjoyed it thoroughly:

I did have to make quite a lot of adjustments to the pattern and my dress. I am one size smaller on the bust to the waist and hip measurements (I usually am with most patterns) so I just drew lines from one size to the next on the bodice pieces and this seemed to work. I have a short torso for my height and therefore a high waist, when I shortened my toile bodice on the shorten/lengthen line it really didn’t work so I stuck to the original shape for the bodice, but still needed the curve of the hips to be slightly higher, so I just applied a little common sense and took 2 cm off the top of the skirt section instead and this did the trick.

When it came to the zip and sewing up the back, I tacked it all together first, including tacking the zip in place so I could actually zip up and see what it was like on before the proper sewing. I was surprised to discover that the dress needed quite a bit of adjusting. It was quite wide, so I pinned and tacked what needed taking in, 1.5cm off each side which I drew on and pined and sewed. I re-tried the dress on with the back still tacked and found it a much better shape on me. However the zip was curving in and out in strange places so I did a bit of adjusting, pinned, tacked and re-tried on before sewing. The majority of the adjustments were fairly minor, just to smooth everything out but I did have to take in the top of the dress, at the back of my neck by almost 7cm on each side, I don’t really know why it was so far out, when the front of the dress was fine. The adjustment worked well and the finished dress fits, even if the neck still gapes at the back slightly.

My invisible invisible zip - very pleased with this, especially since I don't have a zipper foot for my machine.

My invisible invisible zip – very pleased with this, especially since I don’t have a zipper foot for my machine.

I decided due to the fact I used a plain fabric that the dress really needed something decorative on the front. So taking inspiration from Tilly’s variation of an added placket I decided to do my own version, I decided on the shape and size and created a template. I must admit a winged it slightly, I pressed the seam allowance in on my custom shape (I had to do a bit of snipping into the seam allowance to make it lie flat). I found a length of black lace that would fit around the shape and tacked it on, gathering it slightly around the curves. I positioned, pinned and sewed it to the dress with a line of top stitching close to the edge of my shape. I didn’t do the top edge with my sewing machine, I did that afterwards my hand, as I didn’t want to add extra machine stitching to the lovely neckline and neat facing. I then found two lovely vintage buttons from my extensive collection of buttons which I thought finished it off nicely.
Make it your own - Megan Dress - Nettynot BlogMegan dress top - Nettynot BlogMegan Placket - Nettynot BlogThe dress went down very well on its first outing at my friend’s wedding and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to say, “I made it” when friends complimented my dress and I enjoyed even more their reactions of “No! Really!?” and “Oh, wow, I thought you’d bought it”, makes it all worthwhile!

Unfortunately I didn’t get many photo of the dress in progress, mainly because I was in the ‘Sewing Zone’ and got quite focused on what I was doing, I didn’t want to get distracted from the sewing, thought a few snaps here and there wouldn’t particularly of the adjustements I had would have been useful, never mind, I shall remember for next time! I also failed to get any of me in the dress at the wedding. However I did manage get a friend to take some photo’s of the dress’ second outing at my Friend Sarah’s birthday this week.

Excuse the creases, the fabric creases a little too easily. But I love anyway, and another learning curve.

Excuse the creases, the fabric creases a little too easily. But I love anyway, and another learning curve.

I am feeling so much more confident about sewing and making my own garments now. I bought Tilly’s Coco sewing pattern earlier in the year and enjoyed that too, which made me want her book too. It’s such a great collection of patterns, and perfect to build up your sewing confidence. I am a competent sewer, I just get the fear before making an item, if I mess this up or it doesn’t fit I’ve wasted all that fabric, there’s no taking it back. Which I think is one of the reasons I enjoy knitting and I’m a bit more relaxed, if something doesn’t work, you can unravel it and start again an all that’s lost is your time and a sometimes your sanity. So one main thing I’ve learnt from this project is that it always pays to make a toile, tacking and trying an item on as you do will potentially save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. Hopefully I’ll be more fearless with future sewing projects.

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10 Responses to “The Megan Dress”

  1. Linda Wilgus November 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Simply gorgeous!

    Like

  2. Britney November 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    So cute! I love the ruffles 🙂

    Like

    • nettynot November 12, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Thanks, I wasn’t sure when I first thought about adding the lace whether it would be too frilly and over the top, but once I tacked it on it looked like it was supposed to have been there all along.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Britney November 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

        I love when that happens!! I love when things just come together

        Like

  3. Louise November 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Well done, a great make! I love the fabric and buttons you used.

    Like

    • nettynot November 12, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      Thank you Louise, I really enjoyed making it too!

      Like

  4. Emily November 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Lovely – very you, I think.
    (Don’t forget the boot toppers!)

    Like

  5. navybluethreads November 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    What a beautiful version of this dress! Love your trims 🙂

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lilou Dress | Nettynot Craft - August 16, 2015

    […] at first Stitch book, I thought the style should suit me and having previously sewn a Coco top, the Megan dress and the Margot pyjamas, steadily building up my confidence I thought I’d be alright having a go […]

    Like

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