Desert Island Sewing

If you only had enough time for one more sewing project, what would it be? I’ve been on the countdown to fit in my final sewing projects before the big move, which is happening this weekend (cue frantic packing and sleepless nights).  At least I’ll have new clothes to think about on the flight, instead of morbid thoughts (does anyone get on a plane these days without thinking morbid thoughts?!).

Emery BodiceI’m quite chuffed with myself for sticking to the plan and making clothes that fill huge gaps in my tropical wardrobe. There’s been quite a few pairs of summer weight trousers from the Ultimate Trousers pattern by Sew Over It. I haven’t blogged them all as you can’t really outshine the lurid red floral pair with some sensible navy and black ones! So for my last Desert Island project, I chose to make another of my favourite dresses from last year: Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress. Longtime readers might recall my Shrinking Violet Emery (same fabric as the Ultimate Trousers) and her classier cousin: the denim-linen version. For this year’s version I couldn’t resist one of the Liberty of London Alice in Wonderland collection – the scrumptious Oxford B Tana Lawn.

Emery back

I used the same pattern modifications as last time – my first ever FBA, with a few centimetres pinched out of the side seams. I’d appreciate your advice on this one: I think I’ve got the FBA right, but it does result in slightly 1950s style pointy boobs. Should i be dividing the bust dart into two to make it a smoother shape? To do justice to the gorgeousness that is tana lawn, I went for the fully lined bodice. Without the lining the cotton is just a tad too light and flimsy for a closely fitting bodice. I wanted to ensure that it had sufficient structure to cope with the inevitable strain of a bosom requiring an FBA. The lining was surprisingly easy to insert: once the bodice and skirt are attached, the lining is pinned right sides together, and you take a scant 5/8″ seam allowance to stitch along side the zips before doing the same to the neckline – et voila! I thought I’d add a photo of the beautiful invisible zip, but I guess it just highlights that I didn’t trouble myself with pattern matching.

Emery pocket

There was only one ‘challenging moment’ with this dress: I was boldly overlocking the skirt side seams and around the pocket bags. I hadn’t fully appreciated the geography of the overlocker blade and needles…. and managed to cut a 1″ slit in the skit underneath the pocket. A bit of interfacing, a small patch and some zig-zag stitching later and it was all fixed. Not even a tear shed. Thank goodness for a busy print! You can’t even see it in the photo.

Emery Dress

So, farewell from the fireplace for now. While I finish packing I’d love to know what your Desert Island project would be? Oh, and by the way, I thought I’d give Instagram a whirl to ensure my fix of sewing chat while I’m on the move. You can find me at @SewSouthLondon. Tat-ta for now!


21 thoughts on “Desert Island Sewing

  1. Aw, sad times now you’re taking a break from blog land, but you’ve finished on a high with your Liberty frock! It’s very English, and will look more English abroad. I bet they’ll all want one and you’d be able to name your price!
    My dessert island sewing would be another Playsuit from the old Prima pattern I have. I think I’d live in them if I was in a hot country.
    Good luck with the move, what are you doing over there? I bet you’re going just to buy scrumptious fabric by the bolt and sending it to your wonderful blogging friends! 😀


  2. Looks great! I really love your fabric 🙂 safe travels and hopefully everything goes well with the move! I think my desert island sewing would be ‘the perfect’ coat…can never go wrong with a great coat 🙂


  3. Beautiful print and a lovely dress. 100% cotton will definitely be the go in the tropics. My desert island sewing would be a jacket, something that took a bit of time. Safe travels, and look forward to reading about exotic fabric and other adventures.


  4. Oh get over yourself with your FBA! Have you seen Love Sewing magazine’s pattern this month? A really lovely frock with a super wide boat neck which you could wear off the shoulder so would be perfect in sunnier climes. I’s SO cross you’re going – have booked the Vintage Shirt Dress workshops at Sew Over It next month and would have bullied you and your FB to join me. Have a a FAB time xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh now you’re making me jealous with your SOI workshop. And I’ve got a shirt dress pattern in the pile. I will miss you too. Keep posting your lovely makes and I will hopefully sewing again soon. X


  5. Gorgeous dress! Good luck with your move! If you need a sewing friend in South East Asia, I’m your gal- I’ve been living in the region for 3.5 years now (first Jakarta and now Bangkok). To withstand the heat, I find loose shirts help. My favorite hot weather fabric is rayon challis. And short/cropped trousers help during the rainy season!

    Are you going to be living in KL?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh fab! A regional sewing buddy! That was a lucky strike! I found your blog by googling Morris blazers! I’ll be in KL. How’s the fabric shopping? Thanks for advice on fabric & clothing.


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