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Esther’s “Polished Pebbles” dress

Esther was very happy to receive the Luxury Box this month and used her Lady McElroy fabric to make a completely unique dress using a few different patterns.

The excitement when I received this month’s box was next level. I’ve been doing some sewing here and there, mostly with knit fabrics but I’ve not been bothered to make a fitted bodice and make the adjustments needed. However, as soon as I touched the fabric, I knew I had to come out of my sewing slump and make something wonderful! It was love at first sight for me with this fabric. I loved the feel, the weight, the colour, the quality of the fabric. Everything! This is my first Lady McElroy fabric and it did not disappoint. I was so excited to have some awesome fabric in a longer length.

I didn’t have a hard time choosing a pattern. I almost immediately decided I wanted to recreate a dress I saw on Instagram. However, as I was pressing the fabric, I started to reconsider. The fabric is so gorgeous that my mind just kept churning with ideas I could sew. I considered abandoning my initial idea and making the Sew Over It Eve dress, the fabric has such a beautiful drape that a wrap dress would have been an awesome choice. I also thought about the Winslow culottes, with a cami to create a faux jumpsuit look. I even thought about the By Hand London Anna dress, as well as a shirt. I also thought about the Elodie dress by Closet Core. Can you tell how excited I was by the fabric! But I decided to stick with my original plan.

As always, I started the process by pre-washing the fabric; after which, I gave the fabric a good press. I pressed it with some spray starch to make the fabric as stable as possible for cutting. Then the journey began to recreate a dress I had seen with no pattern ideas. Looking at the inspiration dress, it was easy enough for me to figure out what to do with the bodice, sleeves and skirt; but the skirt had an exposed ruffle tier. This technique was new to me so I asked the lovely people on Instagram for help. Turns out it’s a technique used in the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo dress, so I was on my way to create what I hoped would be an awesome dress.

The bodice and sleeves are from the Mccalls 7279 pattern. The sleeves in the pattern are fitted so I slashed and spread the sleeve to create volume for the balloon shape. By Hand London has a tutorial on their blog on how to do this. The skirt is a simple a-line shape, I used the New Look 6346 pattern for this but it can be drafted with minimal ease. The frill is 15″ in height and I’ve used two pieces the whole width of the fabric. Creating the exposed ruffle tier was easy enough using the instructions from the Indigo dress. The dress is fully lined which is my preferred way to finish dresses.

I usually get my sewing inspiration from sewing patterns or other sewists, I rarely start my projects with a ready to wear garment as inspiration so it was nice to be able to recreate a dress I saw online. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring more creativity with this piece. Did I mention how much I love this fabric!!! It was so beautiful to cut and sew. I can see this dress getting a lot of wear from me.