Belated Birthday Dress – Tester


It has been my practice for the last 40-odd years to make a new dress to wear for my birthday. What with one thing and another, this year this has not happened in time!

Prior to the birthday I had decided to use some lovely floral border print cotton that I purchased recently from The Fabric Godmother. As the fabric was so good I did not want to make any mistakes with the dress so thought I would make a “test” garment to my desired design of a fitted bodice with scoop neckline and possibly sleeveless. To make the tester I would use some Duck Egg Blue floral print from Fabricland.

I drafted the new neckline onto my TNT bodice pattern and noted that the armholes were sufficiently high enough that should I go sleeveless I would not be displaying my underwear! The fabric was cut and the bodice sewn to first fit stage. The neckline looked great but I decided then that I would not go sleeveless, so cut and fitted the usual sleeves and sleeve linings. When fitting the sleeves I found it necessary to reduce the width of the shoulders which has made them rather narrow so next time I will re-draft the neckline to provide a bit more width at the shoulders – this will also prevent the dress from slipping off the shoulder and displaying my bra straps. There is also some slight “gaposis” in the neckline so the re-draft will help remove that problem.

The bodice is fitted but is not so close that I need to have a zip at the back, so scrub that and I stitched up the centre back seam of the bodice and skirt. The skirt has concealed pockets in the side seams – again my TNT pattern where the pocket bag is stitched into the waistline seam and prevents them from flapping about inside skirt. The skirt is gathered for a very feminine look which in this fabric seems to suit better than the unpressed pleats that I have used previously. The skirt has a 1.25” hem which is hand stitched.

Result is a wearable tester dress which has helped me to identify a couple of areas for correction before I sew up the Border print – Belated Birthday Dress!