Whenever the workroom gets a shipment of new fabric, it takes a lot of restraint to be a responsible adult and not go over there and hand over all of my money. But I, like many of you, am a Liberty of London addict. And so when I see that a Liberty shipment has come in, all restraint goes out the window and I head right over to get my fix.
I decided on the Midnight Pink and Sandy Ray (both are tana lawns), without a particular project in mind. I knew I wanted something pretty simple though (smaller chance of messing up - Liberty ain't cheap!) and then remembered the April Rhodes Staple Dress pattern I'd recently bought. Match made in heaven.
I made both of these last summer and learned a couple of skills that were new to me at the time: french seams and shirring. French seams were easy to do, as the pattern instructions were detailed and clear.
Shirring was not as easy. The pattern included a lot of detailed notes on technique and troubleshooting tips, but I guess every machine is different since I just wasn't getting good results (the waist wasn't cinching enough). In the end, after a lot of trial and error, here's what worked for me on my Bernette 25: I machine-wound the bobbin (rather than winding by hand), cranked the tension up to 9, and used a 4.5mm stitch length (the max my machine will do). This did the trick and cinched the waist perfectly:
I wanted the waist to be even more cinched on the second one so I let the fabric bunch up a bit a more as I sewed:
Can we just talk about the Sandy Ray fabric for a second? I mean, HOW AMAZING is this print? It's like a painting of a beautiful seascape, with the most gorgeous colours and details. How could I NOT want to drape this all over my body and wear it all the time!?
For sizing, I cut an XS and still brought in the side seams at the bust by 1/2" each side as it was a bit gapey there. I considered grading out to a S for a more A-line look, but ultimately decided it wasn't necessary and kept it as an XS throughout.
Tana lawn fabric is super lightweight, so it's perfect for hot summer days. I finished the Midnight Pink last August and got some good wear out of it, but I didn't make the Sandy Ray version until September, when it was getting too cold to wear a tana lawn dress. Luckily AJ and I had a trip to Barcelona planned for end of September so I got to sport this one there, and on a beach, no less!
Wearing my Sandy Ray Staple on the beach in Barcelona
My to-make list is so long that I often don't make time to repeat a pattern, but sometimes, a pattern is so classic and quick to sew, that I can't help it! The Staple Dress is one of those patterns.
Pattern: The Staple Dress by April Rhodes
Fabric: Liberty of London Midnight Pink and Sandy Ray, both purchased at the workroom (both are tana lawn, 100% cotton with a very fine threadcount, very light weight)