Sunday, 21 April 2019

Evelyn Dress - 2019 Make Nine #2 (A)

This is the second of my 2019 Make Nine makes, and number 9 on my grid. I'll calling it #2 (A) because number 9 is a self-drafted 1940s (or 1970s does 1940s) dress using something from my ever-growing pile of viscose fabrics.  I have lots of ideas for this style of dress, so will hopefully be making more.  And I'm wearing my boots in these photos because they were taken a few weeks' ago, today is definately not boots weather!

The inspiration for this particular dress was a dress worn by my Auntie Evelyn back in the day.  She had dug out a load of old photos last summer, and there were lots of photos of her and my mum wearing the most amazing dresses - none of which they thought to keep for their daughters!!!

I'm not posting a photo of the original dress, because I'd get told off, so I'll describe it.  It was navy with white polka dots with a round neckline, and white Peter Pan collar.  And it had short sleeves with white cuffs.  My mum said she had the same dress in taupe.

I'd bought this gorgeous Lady McElroy Snow Storm black and white polka dot viscose from Sew, Sew, Sew last year, and some left-over (from this dress) Mayfair crepe from Minerva Crafts was perfect for the collar. 

My bodice is shaped with princess seams at the front, and darts at the back.  The neckline is faced with bias tape made from the polka dot fabric.

My sleeves are full capped sleeves - they come right down to the underarm, and they have a little bit of elastic in the hem.  


My skirt is an A-line style, but it flares in slightly below the hip, then out to the hem. 

I started to write out a few notes on how I made the pattern, but it turned out to be quite wordy (no surprise there!), so I've put it down at the bottom for anybody who fancies a read.  There's also a bit about how I sewed the sleeves. 

I'm going to wear this today to go to my mum's for Easter dinner, happy Easter and have a great week,



My usual disclaimer applies - I'm no expert, just winging it from stuff I've read on the interwebs, stuff I've read in books and there's also a bit of making it up as I go along!  This is basically a download of my brain for my own reference, but if it's useful to someone else, then yey!
Sleeve - The sleeve is 1" long at the underarm seam, plus seam allowance and hem.   I widened the sleeve by slashing and spreading from the hem up through the shoulder notch, and widened them by 1 1/8" (2.8cm)  I judged this by stopping once the stitching line on the top of the sleeve head was starting to look a bit distorted.  The two red dots are the inserted bit.

I ruled a straight line from across the bottom of the sleeve from underarm to underarm, then marked the centre of the line.  I marked 3" either side of this point, and added a 5/8" hem.  Below is a re-traced sleeve pattern minus all the scribbles!  The two red triangles at the hem are the start and finish points for the elastic.

To sew, notch the two points 3" either side of the centre, and press up the hem by 5/8".


Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic which is 6" long.  Mark 1" in on either end. 

Line up the elastic with the fold on the hem (to the hem side), and line up one of the 1" marks with a notch.  In the photo below, both notches are marked with a red pin.

Using the triple stitch zig zag stitch (not sure if that's the right name - it's number 13 on my machine), sew the elastic in place.  I use a stitch width of 5.0, and and stitch length of 1.0.



Stretch the elastic so the other 1" mark meets the other notch on the hem, so you're sewing 4" of elastic into 6" of hem.  If you've sewed the gathered sleeves on the Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top, this will make sense.


Trim the ends off the elastic.  Turn the hem in on itself, and stitch in place.  As awkward as this looks, Wonder Clips are your friend for the bit with the elastic in it.


This is what the elasicated bit looks like from the right side once it's done.

Sew the underarm seam.  This also can be done after the elastic is sewn in, and before the hem is turned up.

Bodice and collar

I used a princess seam on the front of my bodice, and darts on the back.  It's easy to convert a bust and waist dart bodice to a princess seam, and here's a tutorial from Cashmerette on how to do it.  The neckline depth and curve is personal preference, the important thing to do is to come in at a right angle by about 1/2" from the centre front before starting to curve the neckline.  This might seem a bit odd, but it gives a lovely curve to the centre front.

The collar is drafted by overlapping the front and back bodice at the sleeve end of the  shoulder seam.  Line up the point at the neck,  then overlap the sleeve end of the shoulder seam by 1/2".  This will make the collar sit flat.  Tape it in place with some masking tape, and then trace the neckline edge.  After that, it's a case of drawing out the collar how you want it, and French curves are your friend.  I got mine ages ago on ebay, and they were only a few pounds.  I find it definately helps to make a toile of a collar, because they can look very different in 3D fabric, than on 2D paper.


I randomly saw this illustration on Pinterest (it didn't have a source, so I can't credit it), was keen to try it, and this happened to be the next suitable make.

I used my own A-line skirt, and used my French curves to re-create the curves on the side seam.  Sadly, it got a bit lost in this drapey fabric, but I could see it working in a heavier fabric like suiting or wool.  Anyway, there's a great tutorial on how to convert a pencil skirt to an A-Line here on Angela Kane Sewing TV on YouTube. 


  1. Beautiful dress Lynne. The shaping with the princess seams, the delicate sleeve, the kicked out hem, all lovely. Thank you for the sleeve tutorial. This is fascinating and useful to someone like me who likes to tweak pattern designs. I don't have the skill to draft from scratch though. I'd like to try that interesting skirt shape in something like a triple crepe as a skirt. Hmm more ideas. I'm sure you'll wear your lovely dress on many occasions. Happy Easter Lynne.

    1. Thanks Elaine, glad my waffling is helpful! I've just realised that the illustration shows the skirt being cut on bias, which I didn't do. I could definately see how that would work on something like a lightweight wool.

  2. That sounds really nice. I just bought some lovely lightweight wool suiting from Fabworks at ten pounds a metre and it's washed really nicely. I got pale pink but they had other colours. It's for a little summer jacket but I'm tempted to have a go at this bias skirt after finishing the 3 other things in my queue.

    1. Ooo, I love a browse at Fab Works wool fabrics, especially the Avoca wool. but, my goodness, it's pricey! Good luck with your jacket.

  3. It's a lovely dress Lynne - very elegant I think! It's a shame about mothers/aunties not keeping their old clothes isn't it? My mum and auntie both had Mary Quant boots that were bought for them by my great auntie and they both regret not keeping them. Although my mum's old clothes wouldn't have been much use to me because she was much thinner than me when she was young!

    1. Thanks Ruth! So wish I could have got my paws on some of my mum's dresses, and it's totally recycling too! Those Mary Quant boots would be amazing.

  4. Such a pretty dress, I love the sleeves.

    1. Thanks Helen! I've very pleased with how the sleeves turned out.

  5. cute - love the sleeve detail ;o)

    1. Thanks Colette! Expect to see these sleeves on everything!!


Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.