Sylvie, The Hobbs Wool Shift dress

Sylvie in all her wooly glory. Worn with wide elastic Topshop belt

I've made a few of the projects from the Great British Sewing Bee book, and loved the photo of this shift dress in the book. 
from The Great British Sewing Bee book

I was going to full-on copy it and get a nice plaid to make it in, but all of the ones in my local fabric shop were a bit schooly - I know I'd look a bit like an overgrown school girl in them. That's when this lovely Hobbs wool caught my eye - grey with flecks of brown, blue and orange - perfect for a winter shift dress. And very soft too. 

The beautiful "grey" Hobbs wool

My mission in making this dress was for perfect fit. I've made quite a few well fitting dresses (before this blog existed!) but I've also had my fair share of dresses which look slightly sack like. In that instance I usually alter as much as I can to get it to fit. I never used to make a muslin. Now, however, my number one aim is for perfect fit in everything I sew. What's the point in making something specifically for my body, only to end up with something that doesn't fit? I'm on a quest now, to spend much more time and energy at the preliminary stages of measuring, pattern altering, muslin making and altering again. And that's just what I did on this dress.

I'm so glad I did, because the pattern had no finished garment measurements, and therefore no indication of how much ease is allowed. That's my greatest bugbear with the Great British Sewing Bee book. 

I ended up basically chopping it down 2 sizes at least. And then I took a big wedge out of the bodice neckline both front and back. I guess really what I should have done was make a smaller size and do an FBA. 

I'll probably wear it with a cardigan (and a goofy face)

But when I made up my real dress having done all those alterations, it fit marvellously. It has a centred zip, bust darts and waist darts at the front and back. Deep purple lining was an awesome choice (by my other half! Good call love!). It reminds me of Quality Street and in my experience that can never be a bad thing.

Lining and all-in-one neck and armhole facing

I love the finished result! It's quite smart so I'm not sure how much it's going to get worn - in hindsight the plaid would have been more casual. I'm sure it will get some wear because I'm so pleased with the fit! 

It clearly needs an iron

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