Thursday, 27 February 2014

A Good, Winter Airelle Dress

Almost as soon as I has finished making my Airelle blouse I envisioned making this dress- I planned it out and bought the material from Leicester Market before Christmas, and let it sit in my stash box until just the other week.  After buying a little bit too much fabric in the new year, and working my way through my sundress pile, it's really only sensible that I made a dress more suited to the current climate.  I finished this dress a couple of weeks ago now, but had to wait for a sunny day to get it photographed.  I've worn it a few times, usually with tights, not the bare legs you see here! 

It's super comfortable, and when I'm just hanging out about the house, I don't even ware the belt with it.  It's certainly a break from the full skirted, or 'fit and flair' dresses I've made a few of recently.  I do love the shape of those, but it's just nice to have a bit of variation in my wardrobe.  I have just a couple of dresses in this shape, which I always wear with a belt to ensure I define my waist.  I think they're really comfortable and give a smarter look than a gathered waist.  Despite loving a full skirt, I worry that they make me look like a child, especially given my hight and my baby-face.  People often think I'm in my late teens.

The fabric is a wool blend suiting I got for £8/m, and the lace is the same as I used for my velvet shift dress I made just before Christmas.  No zip and using black stash thread meant this dress cost me just £16 to make.

I traced the Airelle pattern pieces and carried the side hem down an additional 10" to dress length.  I took it out as it went down to ensure that the bottom would have enough ease for walking etc.  And I chose to make a contrast yoke piece.  To ensure enough ease to get it on and off I left off the back and front darts.  This was exactly as I planned it when I first had the idea back in November, and I'm so pleased with how it has turned out.

I left off the collar this time- it didn't need it with the lace yoke, quite enough going on there all ready.The instructions suggest that you sew in a piece of elastic around the waist when making up the Dress Airelle, but I really hate elasticated waists, and knowing I'd wear a belt with it, I didn't include that. Other than those changes I sew'd it up following the instructions.  The side seams are finished with French Seams, and the arms are finished with pinking shears.

A couple of things I need to work on came up in the construction of this dress, for one, I really struggle to get gathers even.  Other than lots of practice and experience, any one got any tips for improving that?

It's a great dress, a perfect addition to my wardrobe and I don't feel silly wearing it in the colder weather- Win, Win, Win!


  1. this is really lovely! re gathers - do you sew more than one row of basting stitches? 3 works well for heavier fabrics. or you can zigzag over dental floss? i normally gather in stages, putting marker pins in for CF, CB and side seams and making sure gathers are even in each section (by comparing to the bodice length you need to match).

  2. I was going to say the same thing! I hate sewing gathers, but three rows get you perfectly even spacing. Even in lighter fabrics! A lot of times I skip and do one or 2 rows, but if it's something I really want just right I do 3. The middle row is your sewing line, and the rows above and under it act as stabilizers. I love your dress! The lace yoke is really pretty.


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