I’m pretty pleased with this one. Which is lucky, as it took me bloody ages.
I really like the Logue London shirtdresses. And I like the story behind the company. The woman who started it was a banker at Morgan Stanley and couldn’t find anything to wear to work that was both bank-appropriate and yet not hideous. So she designed her own. Neat, huh?
So, to show my love for the company, I decided to rip off one of their designs. This is what I was going for:
Logue London Emma dress
This is what I ended up with:
Kind of close, right?
I used McCalls 6696. Quite a few people have made the gathered skirt version of this pattern, but it was Purls and Pleats straight skirt version (view D), which made me see beyond the hideous pattern cover. I really like Sew Amy Sew’s bright red version too.
Logue London’s dresses are made of wool crepe and lined in silk, but there was no way I was going that luxurious/expensive for a first try. Cotton poplin is more my speed. This bottle green is from Minerva Crafts and I’m really happy with it. I like the colour and it was lovely to sew. Aside: does anyone else have trouble with the colours on the Minerva website? They display very washed out for me. And no, I don’t think it’s my monitor settings as I don’t have this problem on other websites.
The pattern comes with three different front bodice pieces for different cup sizes (A/B, C/D and D). I originally cut the bodice in an 8C/D but it was pulling so I recut as an 8D, which fits nicely. This gave me a nice little ego boost, which was lucky as the skirt sizing swiftly put me back in my place. My hip measurement put me at a 12 but as I wasn’t making a muslin, I cut a 14, expecting to have to take it in. Depressingly, the 14 fits perfectly. When did I turn into such a (literal) lard-ass? I blame my job.
I was lucky to get such a good fit as this pattern is really tricky to fit as you go. The button plackets aren’t added until almost the very end. As they run from collar to hem, without them all fitting is just a guess. Based on trying on the bodice at a fairly early stage, I lengthened the bust darts quite a lot and thought I had them in the right place. Once the button plackets were on, I realised the original length was far better. Luckily I could just unpick my addition, but the darts, although now a good length, are at least an inch too high. It was too late to do anything about this by the time I realised. I’ll change them on the next version but they don’t bother me much on this.
Like Purls and Pleats, I took some of the volume out of the back bodice piece. I removed 1 inch from the centre back on the pattern, so a total of 2 inches from the bodice itself. While this looks nice (there is none of the poofiness others have complained of), I might add half an inch back in on my next version, as it feels ever so slightly tight when I bring my arms forward. I might raise the armscye a bit too.
My other major fitting tip–if you are grading out from the waist to the hip, you will need to change the shape of the pocket pieces. With hindsight this should have been obvious, but because the pocket pieces are one size it didn’t occur to me and I had to re-cut them.
I used the altered front skirt piece as a template to re-shape the two pocket pieces
In an attempt to copy the Logue London dress as closely as possibly, I originally made the view D sleeves as drafted, with the large cuffs. They looked hideous. I removed them swiftly, sadly so swiftly that I don’t have a photo of the ugliness.
I used a silver grey linen-y fabric on the inside cuff, which I thought would look so pretty and Logue-esque, but the cuffs were enormous and the silver only highlighted this. They were also weirdly tight. The sleeves did hit the widest part of my forearm, but I have what I would describe as scrawny chicken arms so either the pattern is very poorly drafted (in this one respect, everything else is great) or I did something wrong. It might well be the latter, as I found it hard to understand how to attach the cuffs and ended up doing quite a lot of handstitching to camouflage what would otherwise have been a random bit of raw edge where the two ends of the cuff met.
Speaking of handstitching, there is lot in this pattern. A lot. No, really. The back yoke shoulder seams, the waistband facing, the inner collar stand, the inner cuffs and the full length of both button plackets are all hand slip stitched. Did I mention the button plackets run from collar to hem? I quite like handstitching, but beware those of you who don’t. All that handstitching does give a gorgeous finish on the inside though. Check this out:
And now, my favourite part of this dress–the buttons! I bought them from the Hampstead Button Lady (have you been to her shop? It’s amazing) after the buttons I bought online from Minerva turned out to be too small, too yellow and too plastic-y. I don’t know what the Button Lady buttons are made of, maybe Bakelite or something? They have an uneven texture, almost like they are hewn from granite (they’re not) and they are all slightly different.
I have worn this dress to work several times already. I love it. Although next time I will underline the skirt in something silky as it sticks to my tights. Luckily summer and bare legs are coming.