I finally finished my Lonsdale Dress!
Just in time for… rain and cold. Well, the weather here changes on a dime, so I may yet wear this dress this year. It’ll be just right for late late late summer (aka January). I muslined the bodice (gasp! yes, I really did) and cut my fabric way back in August as part of a cutting frenzy, but it got pushed to the back burner in the face of easier knit-type projects for Hawaii and Self-Stitched-September. It’s not that I didn’t want to make it, it was just that without a specific event in mind to wear it for, it kept going to the bottom of the pile. And when I finally pulled it out to finish it up, I couldn’t find the pattern piece for the loop, so that stalled me for a bit until I was saved by Tasia, the Sewaholic herself, who emailed me a pdf of the piece! (And of course, as soon as I was done with the bodice, I picked up the ironing board off the table and there was my loop piece… naturally.) Complicating matters further was the fact that I forgot to fill in the pocket when I cut the skirt lining, so rather than cutting a new skirt front lining I decided to try interlining the skirt by cutting a lining piece for the pocket as well and treating the fabric and lining as one throughout the construction (including hemming it as one). I thought that would make the skirt drape weird, but because both fabrics are so lightweight and they stuck together well, it worked out great and adds a nice weight to the skirt.
Overall, this is a fabulous pattern. I loved the design from the first moment I saw it – I mean, it’s a halter strap that connects to the bodice in the back! No fear of falling bodices, which is the only thing I dislike about halter styles. And the way it works is ingenious, with the straps tying in front to shape the bodice then hooking through loops in the back and tying in a bow above center back. It’s so cute and creative! Here’s a back view:
Also, pockets. It’s just a great pattern.
I’m pretty in love with the fabric too. I will admit that part of the reason I kept delaying finishing the dress is that I was a little afraid of messing it up and wasting the fabric (which, frankly, is something that haunts pretty much all my projects and that I need to get over). This is a cotton “lawn” from Fashion Fabrics Club, which I loved when I first spotted (ooh, bad pun) it but didn’t have a project in mind for until Tasia announced the Lonsdale Dress, and I knew it had met its match. The print has a strong stripe feel that I wasn’t anticipating, so I really should have been more careful matching lines when I cut it out, particularly on the front bodice. But I like the chevron-y effect on the skirt seams, and I think this pattern would be really cool in an actual stripe too. The (inter)lining is something FFC called “voile”, but it doesn’t have the soft drapey hand of the nice voiles I’ve encountered – it seems like more of a very lightweight batiste, I guess. I bought a ton of it because it was on sale and it’s so hard to find light cotton lining fabrics. I’ve got maybe another dress and a skirt’s worth left for next summer’s voiles!
Anyway, my full pattern review is here. If you are making this dress (and I recommend it!), check out the awesome sewalong archive for it – it’s a wonderful resource and makes the clear instructions even clearer. I must say that I in no way possess the patience for the lovely finish work Tasia does so well, so my seams are serged rather than French or bias bound, my skirt is attached to all the waistband layers together to avoid slipstitching the waistband facing, my hem is machine blind stitched, and I used an invisible zipper because I find them easier and faster to install. I also had a bit of trouble getting the center front point (where the ties meet at the top of the center seam) to lay right because I wasn’t as precise in sewing it as I should have been. But it’s fairly well disguised by the print and the knot, so I’m not worried about it. So don’t worry, even lazy sewists like me can make this dress and have it turn out well!
Thus ends (truly) my summer sewing, and I really will get onto my fall list… really. But before I do, gratuitous action shot!