english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

Time For Tea (Dress)


Handmade Tea Dress
This week the new Library of Birmingham and the refurbished Rep theatre opened. I had a family trip to the theatre with my family to see the new Alan Bennett play People so got to have a little look around. It was really busy (there was a queue to get in, which can’t happen very often in a library!) so I’m planning to pop back for a better look around soon.

Speaking of libraries, I borrowed The Great British Sewing Bee book from Coventry City Council’s Main Library (having previously borrowed it from my Mom to make a blouse with peter pan collar!). This time I decided to make the tea dress pattern from the book. This was a pretty simple make. In fact the most difficult thing was deciding which size to cut. According to the size guide in the book I fell between a size 12 and 14. I was a little suspicious of that sizing. I know that RTW sizing is inaccurate and minimised but a size 12-14 sounded quite large, particularly as the patterns in the book only go up to a size 16. I was also suspicious because I made the blouse pattern from the book in a size 8 (as I didn’t check the size guide that time & just assumed an 8 based on what I typically fit in RTW, oops!). However, the tea dress was a slightly more fitted make than the blouse so I was concerned about cutting too small. Obviously what I should have done was cut a muslin, but being lazy I decided to cut the dress out in a size 12 and then size down as required. The fabric was a relatively cheap floral cotton from Barry’s Fabric (purchased during the Birmingham blogger meet-up) so I didn’t feel too bad basically making a wearable muslin. I pinned the dress pieces on and found that the size 12 was way too big, no surprise! I wonder if the size guide in the book is actually misprinted as it’s miles off. I trimmed the pieces down to the size 10. The dress is still quite loose so I think the size 8 was probably a better fit but by cutting the larger size I avoiding adding a zip. Yippee!
Handmade Tea Dress
It’s quite a sweet simple dress and I like the capped sleeves so I might make it up again in a smaller size, perhaps altering the neckline slightly as personally I prefer a slightly higher neckline in front and back.
Handmade Tea Dress
I’m off to Istanbul tomorrow for a business trip – my very first outside the UK! I’m planning to pack some hand sewing for when I’m sat in the hotel. I’d like to do some fabric shopping too but I’ll have to see if there’s time.

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Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

7 thoughts on “Time For Tea (Dress)

  1. Lovely dress! I have the book but haven’t made anything from it yet but will definitely pay close attention to the sizing.

  2. This dress has been on my To Do list for ages now and I finally decided n fabric for it the other day only to change my mind and assign it to a new project as soon as I saw the T Blouse is the new thing for autumn. So once I find something suitable (again!) I will crack on with it! Thanks for your info in the sizing – I suspected as much as the tunic was way out for me, but then the blouse was too small. If only they had just gone with measurements not RTW sizes …

  3. Lovely dress, fabric and buttons beautiful too.

  4. Pingback: Salme Kimono Top with Added Zebras | flossie jamieson

  5. Pingback: Me Made May Week 3 | englishgirlathome

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