A Tea Dress Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee

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I was inspired by the 1st episode of season 6 to make a tea dress & challenged myself to make it from patterns & fabric that I owned, (see last weeks blog post). I used Simplicity 1777 & a teal green silk/acetate mix crepe de chine bought from Fabworks earlier this year, sadly I didn’t have enough of the ditsy print to fit the pattern pieces.

While I knew that I wouldn’t be able to complete it in the 5 hours that the contestants had, I wanted to see just how far I would get. Including cutting out & grading between sizes, I had the main bodice attached to the skirt but needed to add the zip, sleeves, facing & hem it.

I took time finishing my facings properly on the inside & had a lot of faffing about getting the pleats & gathers in the bodice right. I wish I’d seen Black Tulip’s post last week before I had started it, as I agree, I really don’t think pleats & gathers are necessary. I think I pulled this out 3 times before I got it looking right. I struggled getting the pleats even with the gathers in & I just didn’t like how the bodice sagged out like that, it was very unflattering. So I really took my time to complete this dress & hand stitched the hem & sleeves. I think that it took me another 5 hours with all the unpicking & hand stitching but I would rather do that than rush it & not get a finish that I like & then not wear it.

I still don’t find the front bodice to be very flattering, it makes me look as though I have a roll of fat where I don’t have one, (I have enough of those without any extra!) I did consider top stitching the pleats down but decided against it. I was originally tempted to make the V neck version, as that is my usual preference but I felt that the round neck looked more vintage but it is quite high. I may put some covered buttons down the front yet but otherwise I’m pleased with it. It has some nice dart details in the sleeves & on the back shoulder & I may put some buttons down the front to give it some more vintage details for our next outing to a 1940s event. But as it is, it fits well & is comfortable & doesn’t crease up nearly as much as I had expected it to. The photos were taken after wearing it almost all day.

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