A Slate blue Drapey Dress for Keeps

I have sewn so many Drapey Dresses that I could pretty much make them with my eyes closed. I made the first prototype version for the Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion in Fabric book last summer, and I even got to cheekily wear it out for a weekend before returning it for pattern development purposes. Then I sewed something like 6 more over the next year, including both the blue and stripey versions seen in the book, and the lovely pink one CL wore to promote the book during her February “Bee Mine” challenge.

But I still didn’t have one in my wardrobe to call my own! It’s definitely saying something about the greatness of this pattern and design that I still even wanted one – I mean, I’m usually sick of a pattern after making it 2 or 3 times!

Having seen this dress in all colours and prints imaginable, it made it all the harder to pin myself down to this “duck egg blue” ponte from Truro Fabrics. Theirs isn’t the cheapest ponte out there, but it’s really nice quality and doesn’t tend to bobble as quickly as others I’ve bought elsewhere. I made this Burda vintage wiggle dress using a Truro ponte three years ago and the dress still looks great, despite constant winter wear.

With all the practice I’ve made making these in the past, there’s not much to add beyond the fully illustrated instructions included in the book, really. I sew pretty much the entire Front and Pockets using just my sewing machine, then only use my overlocker (serger) for the shoulder and side seams. This is a really easy one to make entirely on your sewing machine, though, so don’t shy away from it if you’ve not got an overlocker!

I think part of what still draws me to this dress after all this time is the unique shape. It’s wide in the shoulders and slim in the hips, yet also surprisingly slim when viewed from the side despite the loose fit and pleat.

Here you can see the pleat in greater detail. Someone online mentioned hearing rumours that the pleat was difficult to achieve, but I’m honestly not sure what they’re on about? It’s pretty self-explanatory if you follow the instructions – I just make sure all the CF notches match up and the pleat kinda takes care of itself.

And what’s better than a comfy dress with pockets, eh? So long as you follow the instructions and be side to understitch the pockets after attaching them to the middle front piece, the pockets stay nicely tucked inside and really don’t get in the way at all. Plus you can jam your hands in them and look 100% cooler.

This dress has been a long time in the making, but I haven’t been this excited to wear something I’d made in a long, long time. I actually finished the hem and sleeve hem before work one morning and then wore it in that day! I may even stretch to making yet another version and adding the long sleeves on for winter…

This pattern is included in the 3rd series Great British Sewing Bee book, which has a lot of other freaking great patterns in it too. For a whole £12!

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