In the navy

Roberts dress hack

I’ve treated myself to a bit of selfish sewing in between a lot of slightly harried Christmas gift making. I hadn’t made any woven day dresses for a while, so I used a couple of lovely stash prints to make some sweet winter-appropriate ones, both coincidentally in navy blue.

Roberts dress hack

This wee swing dress is a copy of a RTW one I bought on ASOS and proceeded to want to wear every darn day. No waist = SO comfortable, and with a cardi and tights it’s plenty warm enough for the very mild winter we’re having so far (16°c, bright and sunny – practically BBQ weather!).

roberts dress hack

I used the ever-adaptable Marilla Walker Roberts top as a basis, just lengthening and slash-and-spreading for swinginess like so.

Roberts dress hack

The fabric’s a shibori-style border print viscose poplin that I ordered from Caroline at Blackbird Fabrics in Canada. I got stung with a customs fee on the package but luckily I think this fabric was worth it. (I got some tie-dye effect jersey in the same order, which became a regular Roberts tee!) The poplin weave gives it a bit more heft than normal viscose. and I cut half the front and back on the crossgrain to give more of a patchwork than border effect.

Roberts dress hack

Same as the RTW inspiration, I did not bother with real buttonholes: the buttons are just sewn on through both layers.

Roberts dress hack

The result is so super 90s but I still dig it. Here’s how I’ve been wearing it out and about.

Zeena dress

Secondly, I made a By Hand London Zeena dress from a super special fabric I’ve been hoarding for a while. I’ve been wanting to try it since seeing Fiona’s super sweet versions, and Elisalex was kind enough to send me the PDF as I’m doing a bit of work for them.

Zeena dress

Zeena’s scoop neck and kimono sleeves are bang in my usual style bracket but the deep box pleats are a bit of a departure. I’m not the biggest fan of box pleats on any sort of stiff fabric because I think they look overly formal, but in this light viscose they just drape and swish ever so prettily and still look daytime-appropriate. Actually though I did redraft the skirt pieces because I felt they were just a bit too wide and full: I just cut narrower rectangles and pleated by eye to match the bodice edge.

Zeena dress

I used bodice view 2 (scoop neck, short sleeves) with the midi length skirt, and did my standard BHL fit alterations: wedges out of front and back necklines, forward shoulder adjustment, and swayback.

Zeena dress

Small design tweaks in the back: I left a little split like my Anna-Kim and inserted the invisible zip just over the waistline portion rather than from the neck down – just a weird personal preference. Next time I’ll take a bit more out of the back length as it’s a touch too long even after doing a swayback. I’ve left a bit of ease in the waistline but may take it in for a snugger fit (but maybe, um, after Christmas). Overall though this is an easy-fit, easy-sew dress – a bit like the Anna dress’s casual cousin, don’t you think? – and I’ll definitely be making a couple more some time.

Zeena dress

The dreamy origami kitty fabric is from French store Bennytex but long sold out I’m afraid – I nabbed some as soon as I saw Jolies Bobines’ Brumby skirt made with it. I got 3m and still have enough left for another little project.

Zeena dress

Apparently my fabric choice and tidy guts get the seal approval from the mister, too. I think this’ll be my Christmas day dress as it’s so nice and comfortable. I’m off tomorrow to spend a few days with family. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

18 thoughts on “In the navy

  1. Fiona

    I absolutely love the fabric of the first dress! So digging the 90s!
    The Zeena is also absolutely made for you! I love what you’ve done with the zip at the back, might have to borrow that idea!

  2. Mags

    Love both of these, they really suit you. I particularly like the Zena, love the sleeve and fit of the shoulder. I might try that one. Happy Christmas.

      1. crab&bee

        Ha!!! I feel you on that. My first job out of college was as a production artist and I got to make vector product illustrations. I still miss that every now and again :)

  3. Megan @ TheGreenViolet

    I have that same fabric from the first dress, bought at my LFS. I have been on the fence about what to make with it, but this reminds me of the idea I had over the summer to try to add some kimono or cap sleeves to the papercut sway dress. Hmmmm. Thanks for the inspiration, I love the look of both dresses!

    1. Katie Post author

      Thanks! Yes, what I made reminds me of the Sway – I was tempted to purchase it, but figured I’d just self-draft/hack instead!

  4. Alaina

    Love both of these, and really love your blog in general! Been a reader for awhile, but this is my first comment. :-) Where did you find those great “handmade” tags? I’m thinking I need to come up with my own little logo and get some custom made, but I’m not sure where to look first. Personally, I sort of like having tagless clothing, but family and friends seem to think it would be really charming (plus, then my husband will know what to do when he’s inspired to do laundry!)

  5. Betsy

    I must say you have the best taste in fabric (this and previous posts included). I love both of these options. Kitties on my dresses not so much, but this print works!

    1. Katie Post author

      Thank you! I think picking good wearable fabrics is just as big a learning curve as the actual sewing, ha ha.

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