I have long been a fan of Sew Over It patterns and have several in my stash. During the meet up SEW SOUTHAMPTON a couple of weeks ago, I saw several of the ladies wearing this dress and so I decided that I would make up this style.
On my return home I printed off the pdf and the instructions. I checked my fabric stash and originally thought I would use the cotton print that I purchased in Fabricland, Southampton branch.
However, no matter how I laid out the pattern pieces, they would not fit.
I checked the yardage requirements and following a browse on the internet ordered some beautiful Blue background floral print viscose from Fabrikate. I ordered 3 metres of the 150 cms wide fabric at £4.95 per metre, post and packing free. The fabric arrived very swiftly and is absolutely beautiful.
Too good infact to use for the very first ‘trial’ make of the Penny dress.
I re-visited the internet and purchased 3 metres of 150 cms wide stretch viscose JERSEY from ‘cheapest-materials-uk’ on eBay. Cost £4.95 per metre, free post and packing.
As soon as the fabrics were received, they were laundered and were now ready to sew and go.
According to Sew Over It, the Penny Dress is a simple, easy-to-sew and utterly gorgeous shirt dress. Stylish, wearable and flattering for so many shapes, Penny is a summer wardrobe must-have.
Penny features a sleeveless button-up bodice, flat collar, pretty gathered shoulder panel, easy-fit elasticated waist and on-trend midi-length skirt. The flattering dropped shoulder offers a nod to the 1950s whilst her simplicity will keep you looking contemporary and cool.
Though shirt dresses can often be fiddly, Penny makes for a refreshingly simple sew. With no darts, zips or collar stands to contend with it is a simple project, perfect for sunny summer days.
I checked my measurements against those of the pattern and decided that the only changes to be made were to extend the length of the bodice by 2 inches, add a little to the waistline of the skirt and also cut the skirt at the size 16 length (I could not accommodate a longer length skirt on the fabric!)
The pattern piece for the skirt is very large and cut on the fold – for a moment I was not sure if it had to be cut once or twice but having referred to the layout was assured that it needed to be cut only once on the fold. I had intended to add a small amount to the seam of the skirt to allow for my ‘larger than average’ waistline but unfortunately I forgot!
Construction was fairly plain sailing until I got to the part where the facing is under stitched and then folded so that it forms the button placket. Again I referred to the pattern information and discovered that there was a ‘sewalong’ for this section of the dress.
All was now clear and I progressed with the construction.
With the thickness of the jersey fabric combined with layers of interfacing I decided to forego buttonholes. I top-stitched through all the layers of the button placket from the point level with the apex of my bust. I hand stitched the buttons in place – purely for show as the dress easily goes on pullover style!
When it came to the point where the skirt is attached to the bodice, I discovered that there was insufficient width at the waistline of the skirt to match up correctly with the bodice. Ho hum, how to proceed?
What I did was some gentle gathering of the bodice to fit the skirt. On completion I found that there was no need for an elastic insertion. The bodice has a slight ‘blouson’ effect and the skirt is fitted at the waist and over my hips before flaring out into the full circle. However, I have marked up the pattern to ensure that when I make up the woven viscose, there will be sufficient to have an elasticated waistline.As the fabric is jersey and does not fray, for the time being I have left the hem unstitched. I will see how it fairs and if necessary will turn up a very narrow hem and edge stitch in place.
Making the dress in a jersey fabric has worked out fine. There is a lovely drape to this fabric and the dress is really comfortable to wear.