Yep, like I need another one in my wardrobe too, but how could you (I) not resist doing justice to this lovely number, which is no longer available and out of my budget anyway. And what’s the point of sewing if you can’t make what you want, when you want it, right?
So I dug out Simplicity 1801, which, other than the sleeves, was a pretty good approximation of what I wanted, and started on the supplies.
Fabric . Higgs and Higgs do a good range of broderie anglaise/eyelet mostly in white.
Lace insertion – this was more tricky and I ended up ordering it from the USA, to get the look I wanted. It’s called all sorts of different names, entredeux being one of them.
The lining was some white cotton lawn I already had in my possession.
Once my supplies were together I set about warming the colour of the broderie, from it’s original bright white, to a pale ivory, which is much more flattering for my skin tone.
And, since there are no commercial dyes available to get the colour I wanted I ended up using good old British tea! After testing on a few samples to get the shade I wanted, I filled a very hot bath, added 15 teabags (no sugar, ha!) and gave it 5 minutes, swirling the tea around to distribute the colour. I then removed the teabags, added fabric and left for 30 minutes, again swishing things around. It was then rinsed in my washing machine and dried.
The colour change is subtle. Time will tell whether it remains colourfast. It took a while to get the stains from the bath, in case you want to try it.
Making up was fairly time-consuming, since I had to make small adjustments all over to allow for the extra width of the insertion lace. Also adding a lining the bodice, so the lace remained a feature, involved some head-scratching and I ended up finishing some of the seams by hand.
Inside shot. Front bodice, lined, with lace insertion. You can see the comparison of white lining against the dyed broderie much better here.
I finished most of the seams with my overlocker, since they can be made pretty narrow and won’t show through. I did consider french seams but my sanity was already at risk on this project.
There were a few pattern alterations too. I used the sleeves from another pattern, can’t remember which, I just measured the armscye to make sure they’d fit.
Fitting below the waist was fairly straightforward with all those gathers. I took of 3 inches from the back length, to accommodate my sway/erect back. I also took in about 2 inches in total from the waist at the side seams, which I don’t normally do, I guess this pattern runs big around that area. I also added an inch at the centre front as it was too low cut for my tastes. Others have done the same.
The fabric is quite stiff and I did wish it draped better. That’s my only regret really. Other than that I’m delighted with the results.
We have a few special occasions coming up later this Summer where it’ll come in handy. Bonus too, for not worrying about spilling tea down the front, for a change, either!