Lucy from the studio has made this stunning dress using one of the new fabrics from the AW20 collection – Private View. This is one of my favourite fabrics from this collection – I love the William Morris connection (it was inspired by the Morris Honeysuckle design) and this new interpretation has primulas and fritillaries in soft watercolours.
I asked Lucy about the sewing project.
I love the fabric you have chosen – Elm House A – what drew you to the design?
“When I first flipped through the sample book for the Private View AW20 collection of Liberty fabrics I was immediately drawn to the Elm House design. All three colour ways are so striking and bold with such beautiful depth of colour. I especially love the striking, magenta fritillaries, you really don’t see them often enough in a fabric! The warm sunshine oranges and yellows against the fresh white background of this particular colour way, along with the sky blues and grassy greens just screamed summertime to me! The design itself appealed so much to me because although it is so intricate and symmetrical, it still somehow manages to include just the perfect amount of ‘swirly chaos’ I love in a fabric!”
Which pattern did you choose and why?
“I decided it would be perfect for a party dress, however, with social distancing set to stay put for a while longer this summer, it would also need to be a comfy dress I could wear with flip flops and a cardy. With such a huge range of colours in this fabric I knew that finding a cardy to match was never going to be a problem!” I chose to use McCall pattern K4097. I chose this partly because it has very few pattern pieces, and the fewer the pattern pieces, the less pattern matching and the less fabric needed.”
Was it easy to make and did you adjust the pattern at all?
“I am not a huge fan of boat necklines and capped sleeves on myself so I decided to make the v neck dress, but re- draughting the pattern with a round neckline. I also added 2cms onto the side seams of the bodice pieces to reduce the armhole size (as it seemed a little gaping compared to other sleeveless tops I have). I decided that I wanted a slightly looser, more relaxed fit around the waist, so I decreased the size of the open darts in the bodice and skirt to achieve this. I also decided to fully line the dress, ‘bagging out’ the bodice, as the white background to the fabric meant that it could be slightly see through.”
Your pattern matching is amazing – how long did that take you to do?
“The dress pattern itself was nice and straightforward to follow. The only real challenge was when cutting out, to make sure that the design on the fabric, with it’s big round pompon clusters of flowers, was not positioned ‘inappropriately’….this was achieved by holding up sections of the fabric in front of me while my teenage daughter shouted out “higher” or “lower” like a TV game show contestant!”
Are you pleased with the dress?
“I love how summery this dress makes me feel, despite the fact that it was really cold and gloomy here when Laura took the photographs! And I really love that it has pockets! They’re perfect for my essentials…phone, face mask, hand sanitiser. I’m also very pleased with how well the pattern matching turned out, it really wasn’t too tricky once I got my head around it. My only regret is that in a hurry to get it finished I used some pretty poor quality lining I had lying around at home, rather than using some better quality cotton fabric to line the dress. It’s a little static and stiff and I think something like a plain Tana Lawn would have looked and felt much better.”
This is such a great example of how a beautiful fabric can really make a garment ‘sing’. Lucy’s pattern matching has worked so well and makes the dress a triumph for the wardrobe. I hope that one day we get to go to parties again too!