A Tartan Emery

or: "the dress that did not want to be"

The Big Ol' Machine dress (Christine Haynes Emery pattern with pleated skirt)  
Hi folks! I hope you've all been having a splendid March. And April. How the devil did time whizz by so quickly?! I am bemused.

Naturally I chose the time of year when we all start to feel that Spring is finally making an appearance to sew up this lovely Winter dress (a dress I have been meaning to sew for the past TWO Autumns and Winters). 

It's another Emery with a pleated skirt, and it was a gigantic pain to sew. It just fought me ALL THE WAY. But, in the end, it has turned out pretty well. However It is a bit (nay, a LOT) mysteriously small in the bust - perhaps down to using a poly lining this time which has no give? I don't know, but I only realised when I had at long last finished it. I was so fed up with sewing it I seriously could not entertain unpicking it and letting the seams out. Maybe I will at some point! So apologies it is not being modelled by me here. I did try and take some pics but couldn't inflict those on the world. Poor squished boobs!!

So, why was it so awkward to sew? Unsurprisingly it wasn't due to pattern matching, that all turned out pretty well, all things considered. It was mainly my stubbornness in wanting a fully lined bodice (ie lined sleeves as well), which I bodged three times. The first time I thought I had figured out the order and method of construction and merrily went along my sleeve lining way - only to find  a twisted mess when I tried to turn it out. So I unpicked and switched my brain on, worked out a way of doing it that would work, but then the sleeve lining was all misaligned and was pulling the main fabric in funny ways. I swore. Banished dress to naughty corner. Had a cuppa. Calmed down. Unpicked again. Redid it. The sleeve still doesn't sit perfectly, which I know is down to the lining, but it's so much better than it was. 

I still maintain that a Winter dress in a heavy-ish fabric like this one needs the sleeves lining, so no regrets. No one wants itchy pits. To be fair it was the fabric that caused problems too, it just frayed like nobody's business. I overlocked every single edge as soon as I had cut all my pattern pieces though and that kept it in check (haha).

So I'm sorry to say that I really didn't enjoy sewing this, but I actually do like the end result. It's just a shame it doesn't fit me!! I've almost finished a sundress (using the lovely yellow floral print in my projects in the pipeline post), so hopefully this one will play nicely and, you know, fit me and everything! 


  1. Such a lovely plaid - some projects are so annoying how nothing seems to go smoothly. I love those pleats, I've been wanting to try out a skirt like that.

    1. The Emery skirt is actually supposed to be gathered, but I don't really like gathered skirts on me. It might be worth trying to move the pleats on an existing pattern to try it out?

  2. It looks really lovely, such a shame it doesn't fit. Are you going to alter it once the trauma fades?

    I've got some of that fabric (that has been patiently waiting for a year and a half to become a Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress) so it was handy to know about the fraying.

    1. It is SUCH a shame! The trauma still hasn't faded... perhaps I will alter it when I feel emotionally stable enough about the whole thing (ha) - it would be great to actually be able to wear it! Good luck with your Megan dress x