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Shelby dress

Ever since I saw Liz’s ’90s ditsy grunge’ tea dress in the Great British Sewing Bee, I'd been planning to do something similar. I used to live in black dresses of that ilk when I was a teenager. 

But I also don't want to buy new fabric now - I have plenty! So instead of a black dress, I've done a summery dress with cotton lawn fabric from a Sew Hayley Jane box. 

The Fold Line suggested the True Bias Shelby as the pattern that Liz had been using. So I grabbed a PDF of that, and got to sticking/cutting. I'm using View A, which is the mini-dress. I am also interested in the full-length romper (View D). 

Sizing and adjustments: 

I normally manage to cover 3 different sizes with my bust/waist/hip measurements: but my waist and hips fell on the same size in this pattern, with my bust just one size smaller. Bonus! And with the princess seams going up to the bust I decided to just do a single size, and adjust the princess seam if needed.

On the model the skirt seems a little too short for my preference, but as I'm short I also decided to leave it at the pattern length, hoping it would be about right.  

Both of these non-adjustments worked out really well for me. Perhaps I should have graded the upper part of the pattern, but it really fits well, so I'm more than happy!

Sewing up:

For the overlocker I threaded a bright yellow, as I happen to have a lot of thread that colour. I swapped colour for the flat bed machine, with a more tan colour that wasn't quite as glaring!

The next job was making up the rouleau ties for the back waist. This was a beast to turn the right way out - do not overlock the pattern pieces - it just makes it twice as hard. In the end I had to re-cut the pieces and used a method from By Hand to turn the ties. I have a loop turner - it was not helpful for this!

When sewing the ends, the pattern suggests using some paper to help. I used some tissue paper to help keep the bulk of the end from slipping. 

I wanted to be perfect on this, so I pinned everything before sewing, even when I was confident I didn't need to! I overlocked the outsides of the facing pieces, and sewed the back facing down at the overlocking - allowing me to insert my vanity label. 

I also swapped the order of operations little, sewing the sleeves on before I sewed the side seams. In the past that's allowed me to cover mistakes in my project, at the expense of the armscye. However there were no issues with fitting. This was an amazingly good sign! 

I had to stitch in the ditch to secure the facing to the shoulders. This is the best job I've done.. still not great though!

I used the pattern guide for button holes, which was perfect. And used the stripy buttons from the same Sew Hayley Jane box. 

I am super pleased with this. It fits so well, and swirls so nicely!




True Bias Shelby 


Summer Splendour Cotton Lawn from Lady McElroy

Lesson learned:

Don't overlock rouleau!

Audio book:

Sandman - Neil Gaiman ⏳


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