I have had the Shelby dress pattern by True Bias for quite a long time but it was only after seeing the 6 versions made by Andie of So Andie Sews on her vlog that I decided to get on and make my own version. The pattern is very reminiscent of the ‘grunge-style’ dresses that I used to love in the 1990’s. It is described as a princess-seamed dress or romper with four views. Each has a V-shaped neckline, front button opening, and back waist tie. There are two different lengths in each style.
I knew that the dress at long (but not quite maxi) length would be ‘fabric-hungry’ and therefore ordered 5 metres of viscose from Rainbow Fabrics (I had misread the fabric requirements on the instructions!). The fabric arrived and was duly laundered.
Back to the pattern information – using my measurements I printed off View A in the ‘D’ cup in sizes 20-24. I then graded from a 20 at the shoulders to a 24 at the bust, waist and hips. Having checked the length of my other dresses, I shortened the above waist length of the bodice by 2 inches and ended up with a the total back length 45 inches inclusive of seam and hem allowances. I did not reduce any of the amount of flare at the hemline. I also downloaded the free puff sleeve hack and printed it off.
As the roses print was not a one-way design I was able to nest the pattern pieces and therefore used only 3 metres leaving the remnant 2 metres to be made up into a blouse at a later date.
As this was to be a wearable toile, I first basted the main panel seams and inserted the narrow tie belt into the back panels before having the first fitting. Wow! This dress was so big it was like a little girl wearing her granny’s dress! The shoulders were so wide that they needed to be reduced by at least 1½ inches and the overall fit of the dress could easily be taken in by around 4 inches all around. I duly reduced the width of the shoulders by taking out equal amounts from the panel seams before grading away 1 inch at each princess seam at the bust and waist before grading back to the size 24 hips. Second fitting – so much better! I then stitched and overlocked the seam allowances before adding the front and neck facings. I inserted the puff sleeves and used 15 inches of ¼ inch elastic tied in a knot. That allows for a snug but not too tight fit.
I finished off by overlocking and double turning a narrow hem. I ignored the pattern piece for button placement. I was delighted to find that I could get the dress on and off without undoing the fastenings. I stitched 9 buttons 2¾ inches apart through all layers. I had originally planned to use the Red sparkly buttons but found they competed with the Red of the roses, so back to Black!
Conclusion: Although I was very disappointed at the first fitting stage this was very soon forgotten as I am now delighted with the dress. I have altered the pattern and there will be many more of this style with variations of the sleeves. The only other change will be to stitch the buttons a little closer together as there is some slight gaping between buttons 2, 3 and 4.
Project no 15 completed 13th March 2023