This is my December dress. Also known as my “fancy-ish dress”, or the “don’t let the cats near the lace-dress” and the “if all fails I can always become a romantic heroine in a Gothic novel-dress”. December seems to be the month in which a lot of makers either start to make tacky over-festive Christmas outfits, or fancy party wear. This year I decided to jump on that bandwagon.
Initially I wanted to make the Ava Dress by Victory Patterns. It is one of the patterns that caught my eye when I just started to get interested in dressmaking, but was way (WAY) beyond my skills at the time. It wouldn’t be stretching reality too far if I said that Ava is one of the reasons why I wanted to become a better seamstress. So I decided that this year I would take the incentive of a Christmas dress as an opportunity to actually make it. But then Pauline Alice released the Seda dress in November and turned my plans upside down.While both have a lace yoke, the rest of the dress is considerably different. After a couple of days turning it over in my head, I decided to go for the Seda Dress, as it had the sleeves in favour and a more casual neckline which I felt slightly more comfortable with. Also: I tossed a coin and Seda won. Ava will have to wait for a little longer.
I ordered the Seda Dress directly from Pauline Alice. The pattern was swiftly brought to my door. Two days after I ordered it, it landed in my mailbox. I was impressed, I’ve waited longer for patterns ordered in my own country. The package of the pattern is beautiful! A large cardboard box, with a pretty illustration of the pattern on the front and pattern details at the back. Inside you’ll find a multi language (Eng, Fra, Esp) pattern instruction leaflet and pattern sheets. The pattern pieces are printed on sturdy paper, which makes tracing the pattern much more pleasurable. I’m always happy to find pattern companies that print their patterns on sturdy paper instead of the see-through paper most companies use. In my experience, European pattern companies are most likely to print on sturdier paper, and American companies on the other variety. My guess is it’s because tracing patterns is more common in Europe, and in the US most people just cut out the actual pattern. Aside from all this paper excitement, I think the overall package is just really beautiful. I can see that a lot of care and though has been put into it and just as with a pretty book or LP cover, I appreciate that.
Pauline’s patterns had been on my radar for a while, she has a couple more that I’d like to make such as the Cami dress and the Turia Dungarees. I was anxious to try one of them, so I could see how I’d like her instructions and such. Sewing the pattern went really well and I didn’t run in any problems. The pattern is classed as intermediate, but I think that view A (the off the shoulder look) is harder than view B, which I made. The pattern instructions are not overly extensive, for some of the techniques she assumes that you know them. This wasn’t an issue for me, but beginners might need to google a couple of things here and there.
I picked a medium weight cotton to sew my version. I wanted a thicker fabric, because it’s a dress for winter temperatures. Or it’s supposed to be, today we hit 15 C making it the most unusual winter I’ve ever experienced. Finding suitable lace was harder. I wanted a lace that with a lot of motives and would give some more cover. I found lots expensive bridal lace online, but didn’t really liked most of them. Eventually I went with this cheap lace that I found at the market. It works well, and because the dress bodice is high cut, modesty isn’t really an issue.
I’m really pleased with the end result. I think it can be both dressed up for fancy wear and dressed down for a more casual look. I’m a big fan of the fit and flare dress silhouette and wear it quite a lot. I think the dress has the best finishes of all my sewn projects so far. I upped my serger game and overlocked all the seams, which has made all the difference. The inside just looks much more professional. Finally, any dress that has big pockets is worth an extra star.
That’s all I wanted to say about this dress. Now all that is left for me to say is send you warm wishes. I’ll be popping back in here before the end of the year, but in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely holiday and want to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas.