My regular readers will know that I love a novelty print so when I came across this skull print on a Cerise Pink background, I just had to have it! I ordered 4 metres as I knew that I wanted to re-visit the Penny Dress by Sew Over It. I have previously made this dress in a jersey fabric back in August of 2018. Now I wanted to make in the fabric recommended by SOI – a woven.
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 laundered the fabric and within a day or two was busy cutting out the pattern. I increased the bodice width slightly to accommodate my tummy but forgot to add to the waistline of the skirt – more of that later.
Construction was straightforward but once again I had to review the video tutorial on sewing the facing in such a way as to make the top-stitched button/buttonhole placket. The end result is very neat but narrow, insufficiently wide enough to make my preferred horizontal buttonholes. Instead I placed the buttons on the top placket and stitched them through all layers. There is no problem using this method as the waistline seam has sufficient ease to allow the dress to be put on pullover fashion.
Although not included in the pattern instructions, I cut four of the narrow shoulder yoke so that there would be a lining in this part of the bodice. I used my preferred method for attaching the collar that does away with the need for a separate back neck facing. I did however add a piece of half-moon-shaped fabric into the back neckline that carries my pre-printed label ‘Carousel’.
Having completed the construction of the yokes, button placket and collar I turned my attention to the armholes which form a small cap sleeve. The instructions suggest that you turn up a narrow hem and top stitch in place before joining the front and back bodice at the side seams. I dislike the ‘unfinished’ look of this method so instead made some self bias binding to neaten the armhole sections before completing the bodice. I shall certainly be repeating this method in future as it has turned out very well.
Now, joining the skirt to the bodice. This is where I made an error. I forgot to add sufficient width to the skirt so that it would match the slightly extended bodice. As the skirt was just wide enough (with a couple of inches of ease) at the waistline, I simply made some tucks (where there would normally be darts) in the bodice so that it matched the skirt panels. Having reduced the width of the bodice and skirt there was now no requirement for elastic in a channel to give the dress a close fit at the waist. Perhaps next time I will remember to extend BOTH bodice and skirt so that an elasticated waist can be included. Alternatively, I may replace the tucks with body darts for a more streamlined effect. The other omission was that I forgot to stitch in my side seam pocket bags. A real nuisance and maybe I will go back and put them in although it will be a tiresome and time-consuming task to unpick the overlocked seams. So maybe not to be undertaken – I shall have to live with no pockets in this dress!
Apart from these minor niggles I am delighted with the dress. I see that this particular print is also available with a beautiful Teal background but perhaps I should concentrate on using some of the ‘miles’ of fabric in my stash……