Looking back, I think it was the cover shot that sold me on the Tea House Dress pattern. It goes without saying that the model looks just beautiful but I was equally struck by the red fabric. It reminded me of fabric that I had in my stash. So of course, I snatched up the pattern. Because when you already have the perfect fabric just languishing in the closet, you have to buy the pattern and give life to the fabric. It’s honestly so rare that I see a pattern and realize that I have the exact perfect fabric waiting in my stash. It’s a rather kismet sewing experience.
So where is this magical fabric from? Well, about a year ago, I made my first, and so far only, trip to the Pendleton Outlet in Portland, OR. It was really fun to visit and I loved the fabric they had in stock. They are most known for their printed wool fabrics but I'm unfortunately allergic to wool. So I was really delighted to find a fair amount of wool-free garment fabrics. I bought this red cotton print, a blue and white check cotton and a blue print crepe. This red fabric is the first of the batch that I have used. It feels so special that I didn't want to waste it on just any project.
The fabric is very soft with a nice drape. It's so soft that it almost feels delicate but it's not thin and has no show through (yay!). My skin can be pretty sensitive so I am very pleased that the fabric is so soft. Did I mention that it's soft? hee hee. Like most cottons, it was very easy to work with. On further inspection of the photos on the pattern product page, I think this exact fabric is used in one of the samples!! I now wish that I had taken a closer look sooner. In the photos, I can see that some of the pattern pieces were cut on the cross grain to create contrast in the subtle dashed stripe pattern. I totally would have copied that if I had noticed earlier.
As mentioned, the pattern is the Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven. I hadn't heard of this pattern company before this dress and I'm very glad that I discovered it. This pattern was the first one I used from them, although you might remember that I posted about their Nehalem Pants a couple weeks ago. By the way, I've also bought their new pattern, the Toaster Sweaters, again because I have the PERFECT fabric for that pattern. I was actually thinking about looking for a sweater pattern with set in sleeves and then I saw theirs. So of course I bought it.
Anyway, back to the dress. This dress is fairly simple with kimono sleeves and no zipper or other closure. However, there are a lot of pattern pieces because there are a lot of great details in this dress. There is a yoke in the front and back, a back pleat, angled patch pockets that are cleverly sewn into the seams of the skirt and a tie at the waist. I made view B with a waist tie that is wider and attaches to the front yoke.
For the size, I cut a size 10 at the bust and tapered to an 8 at the hips. My measurements are roughly bust=38, waist=28 and hips=39. So there’s about 5.5 inches of ease at the bust which seems like a lot but because the design has kimono sleeves, I figured I’d need a little extra.
During construction, I made a few notes on construction. To help topstitch the pockets, I glue basted down the flap. Because it’s cut on the bias it was getting really warped without the glue. I trimmed more seams than the instructions indicated, just doing what I normally do. Specifically, in on step I trimmed the yoke facing down and folded in more than 1/2 inch before hand stitching in place.
I wouldn’t mind this dress being longer. I was actually a little surprised at how short it was when I first tried it on. Isn’t that silly? I think my original plan was to cut the shorter length because I thought the longer length would be overwhelming, with the loose fit and the bright red fabric. But when I went to stitch the side seams I realized that I had cut the back at the longest length. whoops! Anywho, if I make this again, I’ll add at least an inch so that it sits right on the knee. I’m 5’11” so I usually need extra length.
I haven't worn this dress yet and I'm not really sure what occasion it would be right for. Maybe a daytime party? I do think it's really pretty and I'm really glad that I made it. Between that super soft fabric and the generous fit, it's very comfortable to wear. I'm sure I'll be able to find an occasion or three to wear it. The design is really classic and looking more at the photos on the product page I'm thinking that the top would be fun to make too. Have you tried this pattern?