I have loads of events going on in September and October including a hen do, wedding, christening and my PhD viva (exam).
I set my mind on having some very special dresses for these events. I originally wanted to make the Betty dress as I loved the circle skirt and the back bodice detail. However, the toile had a lot of gaping at the neckline and I didn’t know how to fix it, or the time to do it!!
So I had to find a quick alternative…
Now I am sure everyone has heard of, and probably sewn, the Emery dress by Christine Haynes! It is a very popular pattern, with a flattering fitted bodice and gather skirt. I have sewn the Emery quite a few times now, including a special dress to wear to my big brothers graduation. When I started this project I knew I hadn’t perfected the Emery bodice (it also had a bit of neckline gaping), but I knew I was closer to having the emery right than the Betty dress. So there really wasn’t any question which I would rather use.
The theme to the hen-do was vintage dresses (perfect) and bold prints. So I searched my fabric stash and picked out the boldest print I could find…
This is a lovely light weight Liberty cotton lawn which I got from the Knitting and Stitching Show in 2015. While it was the boldest fabric I had, I still do not think it’s very bold. Plus the idea of it being Liberty made me hesitate too. But after pondering for a while, I dived into the project.
I cut out a size 8 with only two alterations:
*I raised the bodice up at the shoulders, as my body is actually quite short (so I did it to make the bust sit right!). But this then meant I had to lower the underarm to make more room, and also lower the neckline. (This is an alteration I have done since my first Emery dress so my pattern pieces were already altered.)
*And I also took out 1cm of width in both the front and back bodice necklines. This was done to reduce the gaping I had in previous dresses. (This is a new alteration for this dress.)
As always, the emery dress sewed up quickly, but I still feel that darts are my weakness (after all no one wants a dimple at the end of your bust dart!!), but hopefully it isn’t so noticeable.
I really love that Christine has put in little details, like using the lining to encase the zip edges, which make the dress construction look really professional!! I think it is one of my favourite techniques! I didn’t pattern match at the back for two reasons really. Firstly because I did not have the time, and secondly because the fabric print is quite busy, so I thought it didn’t look so obvious, or terrible, that it wasn’t matched.
I still really wanted the full circle skirt, so I took this from the Betty dress. I have never sewn up a circle skirt before, and I heard about it really dropping at the hem line, but mine never actually dropped. So must be something to do with this type of fabric, as the hemming was so simple (the hem was probably the thing I was least looking forward to about this dress!).
The width of the betty dress bodice must be slightly different to that of the emery, as I did have to do a fair amount of easing (more than I would expect anyway). This, along with the tight deadline, meant attaching the skirt was somewhat stressful.
With all of the alterations I have now done, I am super happy with the fit! I truly love the emery, and I will definitely be replicating this dress exactly for the wedding.
For the hen do, I then paired this dress with a gorgeous vintage broach that the bride gave to me a long time ago, and I think it looks like they were always meant to be together!! (The fox bow is because the bride is Miss Fox by the way).
Sorry I didn’t take many pictures of me actually in the dress… I will do soon and edit the post.
Hope everyone has a good week,
Love, Abigail x