Plenty of mornings I want wardrobe choices to be mindless. And what’s easier than a dress!
I follow a lot of U.K. sewists on blogs and Instagram. No offence intended for North American designers, but those in the U.K. and Europe do dresses way better than we do on this continent. When I was over in the spring I made a point of picking out a dress pattern, and the Sew Over It Zoe dress made the cut.
Whilst buying the pattern (in for a penny, in for a pound!) I checked out the fabric in Sew Over It’s Islington shop and there was this medium weight Antique Florette crepe (94% polyester, 6% spandex samba crepe) that seemed perfect for this dress. And the colours were right for autumn, so I picked up enough fabric for this particular pattern with the intent of making this up for autumn.
In reviews of Sew Over It dresses, it was mentioned that the designer, Lisa Comfort, tends to draft narrow shoulders, so I made the assumption that this would follow that standard so just cut to fit my waist and bust. The sizing turned out to be just right. I only made one adjustment to the pattern, and that was to lengthen the dress by 4″.
The specific details on this dress that I like are princess seams, the inseam pockets, and three-quarter length sleeves. I also like that this is a grown-up, adult woman’s dress. Yes, it has a vintage vibe, but it’s not Sandra Dee or Joan Holloway … it’s neither juvenile or overtly sexy. I won’t go so far as to say that this is a maiden aunt dress, instead, it’s a dress that a woman in her 40s or beyond can wear and look professional but still stylish. That’s exactly the look I was going for.
The pattern itself is quite easy. There are no tricky bits or questionable processes. The fabric was very easy to work with. All of the seams were stitched with my regular machine, then I serged the seam allowances. The fabric does have a bit of bounce, so I had to use a pressing cloth and wooden clapper to make the seams crisp.
I sewed most of this project while at a sewing bee hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, and one of the other attendees at the bee showed me how to crimp the sleeve cap rather than using a gathering stitch. This is a slick trick, and I’ll be happy to post a quick video in the future if there is interest.
One of the things I’m most proud of in this particular make is the invisible zipper. Honestly, this is the best I’ve ever stitched! I didn’t use any wonder tape or trickery, just took my time and pinned well, then followed the directions provided in the instruction packet that came with the pattern. It’s worth noting that the instructions were very good, as seems to be the case with indie patterns.
I won’t gush too much but suffice it to say that this is my best ever dress. I love it! The shape is right, it fits well, and the style is comfortable. The front inseam pockets are perfect, and they don’t gape open. I am short waisted and the back fits without any alterations. Not a crease or fold anywhere. Yes, the hip area is a bit big, but I’m proportionally narrow through the hips so there’s always extra room there. If that bothers me, I’ll just take in the seams a bit at some point in the future.
This project is manageable for a beginner sewist. I recommend it, especially with a fabric like this crepe. Don’t you think this pattern would be pretty for the holidays in a rich, beautiful colour? Maybe I need a full wardrobe of these so I have a reason to plan some events for the husband and me 😉