On Friday we took delivery of the new range of Cotton Lawns from Dashwood Studios. Lawns are a new venture for Dashwood and the first two prints to get the lawn makeover were from the September Blue Collection by Susan Driscol.
I popped an instavid comparing the weights of the traditional Dashwood cotton with the lawns over on Instagram and as I was making the video I got thinking…..I need to make a dress from this lawn!
Let me tell you a) I am quite impulsive, b) I have never made a dress before in my life. Yes a couple of skirts or tops here or there. But a dress which requires fitting to my shape nope, I’ve always intended to but never quite got around to it.
Handily I had a few dress patterns on hand thanks to the Colette Sewing Handbook which I bought last summer and had been since consigned to the bookshelf. The book comes with 5 exclusive Colette patterns, 3 dresses, 1 top and 1 skirt.
After a quick flick through it I decided to make the Truffle dress, only without the ruffle down the front. Each pattern comes with detailed step by step instructions in the book and so I began!
I took my measurements as suggested by the book and was a little stumped when it suggested I was a Size 4 (UK Size 8) on top and a size 8 (UK Size 12) on the bottom. I would say I’m a fairly consistent UK Size 10 or US Size 6 . Based on what I know about my figure I know I have a small bust, a broader back and a longer torso, so I decided to ignore the Size 4 top and go with a Size 6 but stick with a Size 8 bottom just in case!
Before I started making the dress I did something I never do and that is pre-wash the fabric! Dashwood Lawns are new and I wanted to see how they held up to washing at 40C I’m happy to report they held up just fine and felt as soft coming out as they did going in! If there was any shrinkage it wasn’t obvious but I did have a few threads tangle at the end which is to be expected.
So I set to cutting my pattern, I made one adjustment to the top pieces and extended them by 1 inch to take account of my longer torso. I traced them onto Baking Paper and included the extension there rather than cutting the pattern and inserting an extra piece. I have virtually no shop bought dresses that sit on my natural waist so I felt this was one adjustment that was reasonable to make for everything else I left it as is.
Based on the instructions in the book it suggested that I would need 2.5m of lawn fabric, in fact as I dropped the ruffle and thanks the extra wide yardage I was able to comfortably fit all the pieces on 1.25 metres of fabric! The picture below shows the fabric folded in half which gives you a sense of the scale.
There were two things that made me nervous about making the Truffle and that was the bodice lining and the invisible zip. I used a cheap beige cotton poplin for the bodice lining which gave some structure to the dress but also meant I could have a practice making the bodice before cutting into the Lawn!
The trickiest thing for me was installing an invisible zip which I have never done before and since the book recommends an invisible zipper foot and I don’t have one, that was always going to be a problem. But I used my regular zipper foot and sewed as close as I could to the zipper and amazingly I have an invisible zip!
So here are a few photos of my finished dress, just to let you know it was my other half taking the photos and since he has the attention span of a nat when it comes to taking photos I popped my camera on to automatic and the result is that the dress looks a lot brighter and lighter in the photos than it does in real life. The photos of the fabrics above are much more representative of the shade of blue of the fabric.
This is the only back shot I have of the dress and as you can see, my zip really is invisible!
In general I found the instructions straight forward to follow when I didn’t understand something I found an answer in the book rather than having to google it! I loved that the book was spiral bound so that it always lay flat, why aren’t all craft books spiral bound its so useful?
So do I love the dress? Yes I do the style is a bit Bodenish, which isn’t a bad thing, I have a lot of Boden, with the high neckline it would have been perfect as a summer dress for my old city job. Will I wear it again? Absolutely the lawn is lovely, its cool, soft and perfect for this time of year and I am going to be the smartest looking order packer ever!
If I were to make it again I would try sizing down the bodice to the Size 4 (UK 8) as I think a Size 6 is a little large for my bust (they were right after all), I would also extend the waist darts higher to compensate for the extension I made to the bodice. I would probably keep the Size 8 (UK 12) bottom as thats spot on and try and make the neckline a little lower.
So whilst its not perfect for my first ever dress I’m pretty chuffed! I loved working with the Lawn and I cannot wait to see what other Lawns patterns Dashwood have up their sleeves, I feel a series of Dashwood dresses coming along!
If you fancy making a Truffle with or without a ruffle you can find the book here. I used the Blue Bird & Bud Dashwood Studio Lawn with Beige Cotton Poplin for the lining and Aurifil 50wt white thread.