Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lunching in my Lonsdale Dress

- front -

Well, these photos aren't exactly of me lunching, but standing on the beach opposite where I had lunch.  Today I spent a few glorious hours with some girlfriends lunching at Palm Cove (ahhhh the tropics!) The gathering was to celebrate a friend's birthday, and let's face it, there's nothing like a special date on the calendar to motivate me to get a garment finished.

Here is me in my Lonsdale dress by Sewaholic. It's made using a lovely French cotton/silk voile purchased on Emma One Sock during the Christmas break. The fabric is very light and very airy. Which is perfect as the weather is absolutely, unrelentingly stinkin' up here at the moment.  

- back -

- front bodice - 

- full length back -

Rather than just share descriptions and images of my finished product, I've decided to put a bit more effort into sharing my alterations. I always find it interesting reading about other's alterations so I thought it was high time I gave it a bit of a go. I've even included some photos...woohoo!

Making Toiles

I began by making up a toile using an old white doona cover picked up at an op-shop for $1. My sewing teacher encourages her students to begin by making up a toile of garment out of calico (I prefer something cheaper such as doona covers). The toile only includes the basic pieces. All additional bits such as ruffles, hems etc are omitted. I then make all alterations to the toile. All the alterations are recorded on one side only of the toile. The other half (unless of course the garment is not symmetrical) is later discarded. I often use these discards to cut out smaller pieces of future toiles.

Once fitting is complete, changes made and markings added, the toile is then deconstructed. This toile then becomes my pattern. From this point, I no longer use the pattern paper, unless of course I need to cross reference something. I store my toiles in ziplock bags with the original pattern. That way, if I reuse the pattern at a later date, I jump straight into cutting my fashion fabric, confident there will be no fitting issues.

So here's what I did with the Lonsdale:

Alterations - Bodice Front:

I shortened the bodice front at the side seams, tapering towards the centre.

There was a lot of gaping along the upper edge near my shoulder. I eliminated this gaping by removing a dart-shaped piece from this area.

Alterations - Bodice Back:

This photo shows the new bodice piece on top of the original pattern piece. As you can see, I removed fabric from the CB, tapering down to my waist. I also did a sway-back adjustment.

After making these alterations to my muslin, I iron them flat, effectively changing the shape of the pattern piece. I then cut my fashion fabric from this new piece.

 Other changes:

As the fabric is sheer, I lined the skirt in white cotton voile purchased from Spotlight.

I also had to add approx. 7cm to the waistband. This wasn't actually an alteration, but more an error to the original pattern.

Overall, I'm happy with how this dress turned out. I was doubtful whether the style would suit my body shape (you know with my wide hips and all) but it has turned out OK. Not knock-em-dead fabulous, but good enough that I felt comfortable and a bit groovy wearing it. Oh, and I did receive quite a few nice compliments during school pick-up (yes it's not all glamourous) which is always nice.


  1. It looks fresh and cool for a sunny day on he beach. The fabric is fantastic! Thanks for sharing your alterations.

  2. I love it! Great style on you, and super fabric. Thanks also for sharing your toile and alteration process. I rarely do toiles but know that I really should.

  3. I think it's gorgeous and looks really well fitted - well worth the effort with your muslin. If it feels not completely OTT dressed-up then you'll probably actually get far more wear from it :)

  4. That looks so cool and light, just what is needed at this time of year, and the fit is very good. A lovely dress.

  5. I think you look lovely - it looks so light and airy. I can just imagine you sitting there enjoying a fun lunch, I'm sure you had a blast.

  6. Well you can't have too many cool, summery dresses at the moment and this one looks perfect for summer lunching.

  7. You've made this beautifully. I was quite envious of the beach shot too. We've had so summer at all down south.

  8. You look so pretty, and light and airy! What a gorgeous dress, and your fit is spot on..
    We are having an unrelentingly bout of stinkin' hot weather right now too :S)

  9. What a beautiful dress - the fabric is perfect. You look gorgeous - I agree with the others - the fit is perfect.

  10. Oh this dress is gorgeous on you! The style is a winner. I always have such trouble trying to visualise patterned fabric into the finished thing, so I never buy it. You've done great work with the print here!

  11. Great job with your alterations! The final dress is so pretty. I really love the print you used.

  12. This is a really pretty dress. I might have to have a go myself next year.