I made another dress because I’m all about dresses at the moment. Simple, no fuss dresses that work well with tights and boots are my go to Autumn through winter. That’s my style.
But this dress was quite a different silhouette from my usual. I’m all about fit, darts, shaped, in at the waist, belts. I have avoided all smock, trapeze and nightgown dresses these past couple of years when almost everyone else seemed to be going crazy for them. In a moment of weakness last year, I bought the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo dress and made all but the sleeves and tried it on and hated it. Just far too much dress going on for me, plus the fabric and bodice fit weren’t right. That bad experience further convinced me to stay away from big smocks. Then three things happened.
1. Emporia Patterns sent me the Cassie dress in response to an Instagram story I posted. Very kind of them!
2. When I got the pattern, I felt that it would look great in a baby soft cord and I just happened to have some velvety red needlecord in my stash. I bought 3 yards of it at a very good price at the Stitching and Knitting show last November when the world was normal. I intended to make a shirt dress with it but I felt in the mood for a far more simple make.
3. I saw this on pinterest:
It’s from themomedit.com and they told me that “this dramatic corduroy dress is everything!” And I believed them. See how happy they look!😁
So I got to work. I made a few changes to the Cassie pattern. Pockets, of course. Dear Emporia patterns, if you ever relaunch this pattern please make pockets a standard feature. I made the sleeves longer because it’s an autumn dress and I like elbow and 3/4 length sleeves very much. I used bias tape to finish the neckline because I try to avoid facings whenever possible. And I added an inch to the depth of each tier.
As I was making the dress I kept thinking “what are you doing?This isn’t going to suit you, it isn’t your style!” But I kept going. It was a really simple, quick make. I made it in three sittings as I’m a grab 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there kind of sewist. Nothing was tricky in this make and no unpicking occurred, a rarity. The construction was a little different but very sensible, it made the gathering process easier. Basically you make up all the front panels, then all the back panels then stitch the front and back together. The grown on sleeves meant that no tricky or time consuming setting in of sleeves was necessary. I added about 9 inches to the length of the sleeve of the t- shirt bodice. They are a little tight, I should have widened them, an adjustment I often do for sleeves to accommodate my muscle!
So what is the verdict? I’ve made a smock dress and I really like it! I didn’t feel the urge to add some ties to bring in the waist as I thought I would. I sewed a straight size 14 and the fit is good, it’s really comfy. I like the swishy feel of the dress, I like the generous pockets I added, I like that there is room to grow! I have to confess that because I love to get a good, close fit with my garments, I do have a few too many of my clothes languishing in my wardrobe waiting for me to adjust either my size, or the size of the garment!
I am pleased I made this ‘not my style’ dress and I know that I will wear it a lot. Even as I write, I have worn it 2 days in a row, today layered over a jersey top and leggings as it’s so cold. It’s already proving to be a versatile dress.
Do you have a ‘look’? Are you one for sticking to your tried, tested and true patterns? Do you feel in a rut? Or are you eclectic, ever adapting your style? As I rifle through my me-made wardrobe I don’t see myself as being in a sewing rut. It’s just that I know my style, I know what I love to wear and that’s what I make. I have strong suspicions about things I think won’t suit me. But this make has taught me that sometimes it pays to try something new and prepare to be surprised!