I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this flipping excited for a pattern release! I had been drooling over the Dashwood Soirée rayon collection since it arrived at Escape and Create and had been waiting for the perfect pattern. As soon as I saw Indigo, I knew I’d found it.
Rumana looking like an absolute babe in her Indigo dress
I had agreed to make one as a shop sample so I knuckled down to some speedy sewing on release day. As we get to keep the samples after they’ve been displayed, I figured it was still worth making a toile. I recently did Elisalex’s Bodice Fitting Masterclass at Like Sew Amazing and it was so pleasing putting what I had learned into practice.
Hard at work at the Bodice Fitting Masterclass
If you can’t get to a class, By Hand London have just released a Bodice Fitting Companion E-book which has been so handy to refer to and I highly recommend it:
“Do you really need to toile such a simple boxy bodice?” I hear you ask!
In my experience, yes! Bust, waist and hip measurements can only tell you so much. I fit pretty neatly into their size three (UK 10) measurements but that doesn’t take my high bust, shoulders or height into consideration. As the bodice pattern only had bust darts and no fastenings, I knew it would be really quick to whip up a toile and I’m so glad I did!
The top row is the original pattern, and the bottom row is after my 2cm narrow shoulder adjustment. You can just about spot the marking I made on the original toile to show where the shoulder seam should sit!
Satisfyingly, a narrow shoulder adjustment also fixes the gaping at the front and back neckline. Looking at these photos, I’m not sure the fit around the bust is quite perfect, but it looks much better in my lovely drapey viscose than it did in an old duvet cover!
I also lengthened the bodice by 2cm and added some waist ties, as these were adjustments I wished I’d made to my Megan Nielsen Sudley dress, which is a similar style. You can read my blog post about it here. I actually really like the fit of the dress without the ties, but it’s nice to have the option.
Apologies that these photos are all a bit bright - it was a ludicrously sunny day but I knew this would be my only chance to take pictures this week!
Making the Waist Ties
- I wanted my ties to be approximately 1cm wide so I cut my strips 4cm wide. I worked out the tie length by measuring from the side of my waist to my centre back, and estimating how far I wanted them to hang down and adding seam allowance. I went for 80cm but I probably could have made them a little shorter.
- I cannot abide turning tubes of fabric inside out, so I pressed each strip lengthways, then pressed the two edges into the middle to make a 1cm wide strip with enclosed edges.
- To get a nice finish on the exposed end, I sewed the end and the last couple of centimetres right sides together with a 1cm seam allowance, trimmed the seam allowances and corner, and turned it right sides out. I used a point turner to get nice sharp corners.
- I topstitched the length of the tie approx. 3mm from where the two edges meet.
- I basted the unfinished end of the ties on the side seams of the front bodice using a 1cm seam allowance, 1.7cm up from the bottom edge to ensure they didn’t get caught in the waist seam.
Even taking into account making two toiles, adjustments and re-drafting the facings to fit my altered pieces, it still felt like this came together relatively quickly. I went for the simplest version of the pattern: bracelet sleeves rather than ruffled and no exposed ruffle on the waistline. I love the ruffles but I was pushed for time and didn’t want to overcomplicate things!
Obviously one of my favourite features of Indigo is the POCKETS! I loved the addition of interfacing to stabilise the openings as pockets and viscose don’t always play well together! I couldn’t resist wearing my “it has pockets” necklace:
Shop the complete It Has Pockets Collection here
Tilly’s patterns often come up a bit short on me, but I didn’t lengthen the skirt as I had added two centimetres to the length of the bodice, and I actually ended up shortening the skirt a little. The pattern suggests a 1.4cm hem allowance but I went for 2.5cm. I know I SHOULD have allowed the hem to drop, but I really needed to get the dress photographed that day and knew a bigger hem would give me a bit of wiggle room if I needed to trim and re-hem it!
Gathering is usually one of my least favourite sewing tasks but I did three rows of gathering stitches as suggested and really took my time which produced a much better result than usual.
Naturally I had to finish it off with one of my "contains cat hair" labels, available here.
I used Made By Rae's facing trick to get this lovely neat finish
(EDIT: I later top-stitched the facing down because the weight of the gathered skirt plus the lack of weight-bearing/fitting at the waist means that it flips out constantly and it's REALLY ANNOYING).
I cannot overstate how much I LOVE this dress and it was honestly so hard leaving it on the shop mannequin! I know I always say it, but I will definitely be making more Indigo dresses. It’s such a great base for hacking and I’ve already got loads of exciting plans in mind. (EDIT: It's a shame that TATB now want you to pay for hacking suggestions, rather than having these freely available on their blog, as they did previously).
The fabric and pattern were provided free of charge by my employer, Escape and Create. The finished garment will be displayed in the shop and I will be allowed to keep it afterwards. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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