A Tartan Emery Dress

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Well I am finally sharing a sewing make for me on the blog. I just had a look back and the last time I had a finished outfit for me was nearly a whole year ago - gosh!! I guess I have had other priorities over the last year. But I have a feeling there will be quite a bit more selfish sewing as I have lots of plans and things I'd like to make before I go back to work in June.


So I finally managed to finish the tartan Emery dress that I had given you a sneak peek at in my last post. I had initially planned to make this dress to wear on Christmas Day, and had put most of it together by Christmas Eve. I probably could have pushed myself to get it done on time, but I had already decided that it really wasn't my style (see my previous post for more on this) and I would rather spend my Christmas Eve with my family than on my own in my sewing room!


I was pleased to discover that my measurements corresponded quite closely to the garments sizing so I decided that I probably wouldn't need to make any alterations (probably one of the things I like least about sewing to be honest), but on looking at the length of the bodice I decided to add about an inch as I often find the waists of things can end up a little higher than my natural waist (which I find so strange, because in my mind I have a short torso...??) - ironically, I probably should have just cut it out as it was intended because there is a little too much fabric in the bodice, as you can see in the shot of the back below:


What I would say though, is that extra fabric gives a nice amount of movement and the dress is quite comfortable to wear.  So I would say that the Emery dress is really well drafted and that is probably one of the reasons for its immense popularity - I mean, the bust darts stop at exactly the right place for me...and that hardly ever happens, so thank you very much Christine!!


Even though I realised quite soon into make this dress that I probably wouldn't get much wear out of it, I still took quite a bit of care in making it. Why? I don't know - I guess I was just enjoying the whole creative process. This is actually something Carmen mentioned in the comments of my last post. She said that she has lots of things in her closet that she doesn't wear very often, but it doesn't bother her because she enjoyed the creative process in making them. And with regards to this project I can totally relate. I took great care at the cutting out stage to try and get the pattern to match up as best as I could - and, even if I say so myself, I think I pretty much nailed it!

Back of dress, with hand picked zip
Side seam of dress, with front of dress to the left (see bust dart), and back of dress to the right
Because I wanted to get the pattern to match up as well as possible, I decided to go with my old faithful hand picked zip method (which I learnt from Tasia a few years ago). You can get so much control by inserting the zip by hand, and to be honest, I find it so relaxing and satisfying!
Unfortunately, because I went a bit off piste by choosing to insert a hand picked zip rather than an invisible zip as the instructions recommends, and because I had decided to fully line the dress (apart from the sleeves), I was a bit confused as to how to attach the lining to the zip. In the end I decided to sew the fully pieced lining to the neckline of the dress, then hand pick the zip to the fashion fabric (the tartan) and then slip stitch the lining to the zip and the arm hole seams and finally anchor the dress and the lining with a few stitches at the waist. What do you guys think, was that the right way to do it? A fair bit of hand sewing, which it why it was taking my a while to finish.


One final thing that I changed was the length of the sleeves. I decided that I wanted elbow length sleeves and hemmed them accordingly. I'm not sure how I really feel about them now though. I think they would look better/ be a little more flattering, if they were narrower.

Overall I am really pleased with the finish of the dress, inside and out. It's just a shame I'm not much of a fan of it on! To be honest I know it is really down to the fact that I haven't come to terms with my weight gain, and I know I have gone on about this a bit on my blog already so I won't go there again - just stating the reason for not loving the look (and definitely NOT looking for reassurance/sympathy/whatever).


I have been thinking a lot about my shift in style lately, and I really enjoyed everyone's comments on my last post, so thank you for chipping in with your thoughts. I have lots of sewing ideas forming, which I am really excited about because I'm hoping it will lead to a lot more wearable me-made things in my wardrobe!

By the way - I believe I now own an Emery twin with Paunnet, and completely by accident!


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