After measuring myself and debating which size to cut out - I decided to err on the side of caution and traced and cut out a size 12. I also thought that the skirt looked a bit short, so I added 3 inches to the bottom of each skirt panel. I found some fab floral cotton on ebay (and also some cool teapot fabric that I shall make a second dress in the Summer) which was a bargain of £6 a metre. I also decided to add pockets to the pattern and used the pocket pattern piece from my Sewaholic Crescent Skirt - cutting these and the contrasting cuffs from some sky blue polka dot fabric.
|Ready for Tea Dress Number 2!|
However, by some fluke, I managed to set my sleeves first time. I put this down to a combination of using lots of pins (as the instructions suggest) and I also used my machine to do the gathering stitches rather than hand sewing. This meant that the tiny gathers stayed in place, rather than moving about. I set my stitch length to the longest I could and then gently pulled on one of the threads, moving the gathers along so that it was even.
|Sleeve details - buttons & ric rac|
|All those tiny gathers|
The one thing that really bugs me about women's clothes is the lack of pockets - so I decided to add some to this dress - it was a bit of an experiment, as I didn't really have any reference points. The pocket pattern piece had a notch in where it was matched up on the skirt pattern, so I decided to match this to a similarly placed notch on the skirt of the Tea Dress. It worked and although you probably couldn't put much more than a handkerchief in them, at least I've got somewhere to put my hands! As the pockets where not sewn into the waist line - I added some supporting ribbon, so that they would lie flat under the skirt.
|Pockets view from the inside|
I did managed conquer the invisible zip on this dress - I decided that buying a new foot for my machine was a good investment and although I could have got a cheaper one, I went with an official Brother foot. As I decided this would be better in the long run. As I had made a size 12, I did have more fabric that the 1.5cm seam allowance, thankfully I had my husband on hand and he was tasked with pinning me into my dress to get everything sitting nicely at the back.
|My invisible zip - first time!|
|Button detail on the bodice|
Mad Men Joan Dress!