Pattern Review // About Time! The New-to-Me Emery Dress

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I must be the last person in the sewing universe to finally try out Christine Hayne’s Emery Dress pattern. This timeless fit and flare pattern has been a favourite of many serious sewing bloggers and beginners alike! Just look at Roisin’s gajillion versions and the cornucopia of Emerys that appeared during Me Made May and you’ll see what I mean.

I’d bought the Emery Dress pattern over a year ago as it seemed like the perfect pattern from which to build a bodice block, but never got round to using it as the idea of having to do a SBA really sapped my sew-jo. Thanks to Indie Pattern Month 2016 I’ve FINALLY bit the bullet and muslined, altered and made up a final version using an Indonesian batik with a border print that I’ve been hoarding for ages.

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Without further ado, here’s the lowdown on this make and my entry to the IPM 2016 New-to-Me contest!

Pattern: Christine Hayne’s Emery Dress Pattern

Fabric: 100% cotton Indonesian batik purchased in Medan, Indonesia

Notions: Black 16″ invisible zipper and yellow bias binding to finish the neckline and armholes

Pattern alterations: (1) SBA, (2) narrowed the shoulder straps by 1/2″ tapering out to nothing at the middle of the armsyce, (3) altered the slope of the shoulder strap on both the front and back bodice by removing 3/8″ from the neckline tapering down to nothing at the shoulder point.

Design changes: Created a V-back by starting the zipper 6″ down the centre back and cutting a straight line from the shoulder strap to the zipper start point. (Would you believe that the idea for this v-back hack came from my boyfriend?! Who knew he was such a fashionista…) I also chose to forgo the skirt pattern and to create a dirndl skirt using the width of my fabric in order to use the border print. It ended up being a little too long, but I like the midi length! Very modest, if not a little stiff looking as the fabric hasn’t yet relaxed with repeated washing.

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Comments: All in all I thought it was a great pattern. Right off the bat I expected I would have to do an SBA (as the pattern is drafted for a B cup and sadly I am a definite A) but thought that I would do up a muslin just to see if I could get away with it. I shouldn’t have second guessed the instructions – I needed it all right! The great thing about this pattern is that there is a sew-along readily available on Christine’s website City Stitching and it has a really wonderful SBA tutorial that walked me through the process without a hitch. Apart from the SBA only minor adjustments were needed that were no problems at all – even the bodice length was perfect for me which is a first!

The instructions used a lining but I chose to forgo it and left the dress unlined to preserve the breathability of the cotton batik. I finished the armsyces, neckline and v-back with bright yellow bias tape turned under and top stitched. The skirt is simply gathered and attached to the bodice and the zip I installed from memory. I did skim through the instructions, however, and they seemed clear and easy to follow.

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Things I loved: It was easy to alter and fit to my body shape, particularly with the sew-along as a guide! It’s a great pattern for showcasing a printed fabric and works well for pattern hacks and alterations (swapping out the skirt, hacking the back etc). Also, extremely versatile! I can imagine making dresses for work, play and glam events using this same pattern.

I’ve already got 3 more emery dresses/hacks in the work so you can bet you’ll see more of them soon 😉