Completed: Pretty in Peacock dress

A short while ago the generous people at Minerva asked if I wanted some fabric. I took a look at their collection and my heart leapt when I saw this beautiful peacock cotton lawn and said yes please. I knew immediately which dress I would make.

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It was fun to work with a vintage pattern and I will definitely try it again. I had to grade up the pattern by three sizes. This was my first attempt and I was guided this fantastic tutorial from Casey. Turns out it was not as difficult as I expected. I don't think I slashed the original size in quite the right places so something to work on next time. 

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I made a toile of the dress so I could check the size but also to work through the instructions in case there were any difficult parts. The construction is actually pretty simple but there are quite a few steps. I quickly realised that the key to success with this pattern is the preparation, namely transferring the markings from the pattern to the fabric. There are so many stitching lines, tuck lines, darts, pleats and button holes to mark. I must have spent an hour making dozens and dozens of tailors tacks. 

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I wanted to a blue stripe for the buttonholes, like the original pattern drawing, and figured that this would be straightforward as it looks like two pattern pieces. It isn't. I solved this by chopping the pattern at the tuck line closest to the edge of the pattern and added seam allowance. You can't see the join as that seam is at the bottom of the tuck. Can you see how well the blue matches the eye of the peacock feathers? Whoever picked this out at Minerva did a fantastic job! 

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With autumn approaching I wanted a dress that I could wear over the next few months and therefore decided to underline the dress using the medium weight white cotton I had left over in my stash. Together, the fabrics were wonderful to work with and pressed brilliantly. It was such a nice change after the silk chiffon. I used the blue cotton to bind the seams and think it gives a neat look on the inside. I didn't measure how much bias tape I made but it was a lot! 

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The trickiest part of making this was the button holes. For some reason my machine made four beautifully and then threw an absolute fit for the others. After testing, and checking for lint or stray thread and still not getting anywhere, I turned them upside down. I now have as many button holes as needed but the last two aren't great, at least the buttons cover most of them. 

Of course, this dress is not complete without a bow at the top and a belt. I made sure I had enough blue cotton to make them both before I whizzed up the bias tape. There was no way I would be missing out on them. Can you guess whose tutorial I used to make the belt? Of course, it's Tilly's!

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I absolutely love this dress although I probably spend too much time admiring the print! I'm really pleased I bought the pattern and included it as part of my challenge (number 12 now completed). It is getting its first public outing tomorrow at a work event.