A dress and a bonus top

I thought that I might like to return to dressmaking this year. In my teenage years, I made a lot of my own clothes, but that desire slowly waned because I had a number of fashion disasters that did not encourage me to continue; my french seams and the fit were just fine, but the fabric colours I chose made me look ghastly. I became discouraged.

Feeling brave (and a little bit desperate to try to replace a favourite work top), I bought a handful of sewing patterns in the Christmas and New Year sales. Thanks to age maturity, I am a little more confident about the clothes that suit me, and I plan to play it safe with colours and fabrics that I know I wear. To avoid fashion disasters, I am also doing something a little unusual: I am taking my husband with me to veto my crazier ideas when I go to buy dressmaking fabrics.

To start, I chose a very simple shift dress pattern, McCall’s M6102. The pattern says it can be sewn in an hour, but it takes mere mortals like me that long just to hand stitch a hem. It took me longer than one hour.

It is, however, so simple that it requires neither buttons nor zips. I just pull it on over my head. By necessity, therefore, it is a bit loose, but I wanted a comfortable and cool linen shift for the summer heat. Because the linen is white, I fully lined it with a soft cotton voile to minimise transparency.

McCall's M6102, view C, made in white linen

This is my very simple linen dress.

Hubby’s help at Fabulous Fabrics was vital. I knew I wanted a printed linen. I eyed a gorgeous floral fabric longingly; he pointed out that it did not suit me, and I bought the spotted linen instead. Teamwork.

As I was cutting out the dress, I realised that I had enough fabric to make a top too, so I cut out New Look 6344 at the same time. I knew if I left the fabric for later, it would be forgotten in my mountain of UFOs or cupboard of shame. What a deal: a dress and a top from 2.2 metres of 135-centimetre wide fabric!

New Look pattern 6344, view A, made in white linen

I did not line the top. I can wear something under it if I am worried about show-through.

I am now feeling much braver about making my own clothes again, but two questions still puzzle me:

  • Are the spots on my dress navy or black? I have peered at them and peered at them …
  • Why do I pronounce voile like toile or voila and not like toil?

If the spots are navy, I made a complete fashion faux pas by wearing it with black shoes today. As for voile, I have checked my dictionary and both pronunciations are listed, but why am I such a rebel when it seems that everyone else says it differently?

I am still on the hunt for the perfect fabric to replace my favourite silk blouse for work.

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11 thoughts on “A dress and a bonus top

  1. wow! I love both the dress and top – great sewing from you and great fabric choice by your husband!
    as for “voile” and “toile”: they’re both French lol so you’re perfectly correct to be pronouncing them the way you are ^^

  2. That dress looks great on you, and the top is also going to be both elegant and comfortably casual. I think those spots are ‘ink’, rather than navy or black; a really midnight blue. And I say vwahl rather than voyul too, Francophones of the world unite!

  3. Both are lovely and cool looking! I would also have been tempted by the floral, but clearly dots were the way to go!

    Take the fabric, a blue show and a black shoe out into the sunlight. That should help. Or just wear white shoes with the dress!

  4. Both the dress and the top look very nice! The dress fits you well, congrats, that’s hard to achieve. If you can’t tell if the spots are black or navy, it’s okay to wear the garment with either. Most of us don’t have navy shoes so we wear our black shoes with navy, so no fashion faux pas there.

  5. That dress looks fabulous on you. Well done. And a bonus top. Black, navy…what’s the difference…and who cares. LOL

  6. I was always taught that toile is pronounced “toil.” Of course, I was raised in the boonies so I could be totally wrong. Great sewing!

  7. That is a lovely fresh summery dress. In the last 12 months I have gotten back into making clothes for myself, and I’m loving making things in the colours and styles I want to wear, not what retailers say we should be wearing, Looking forward to seeing more creations from you.

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