Felicity goes on a picnic

I’ve been pattern testing! When the call went out for testers for this dress from my fellow kiwi, it sounded like it was perfect for me “a breezy summer dress with a gathered neckline, all-in-one yoke pockets on your choice of a gathered or 3/4 circle skirt and finished off with bias binding at the neckline and armholes.”

Having not made one of Jennifer’s patterns up before I made up a muslin of the bodice. I cut a 16 and it fit straight out of the box! My luck was in!

My initial thought was to use a floral fabric, this dress would look beautiful in a floral cotton lawn. Unfortunately my luck wasn’t in here, there was nothing in my stash. I ended up using this navy/white gingham and chose a navy blue for the bias binding.

If you have never made up any of Jennifer’s patterns, you need to. You’re in for a real treat. They are really well drafted. I think we’re past the days of pages not quite matching when you cut and tape together, so that certainly isn’t an issue. The cutting layout is clear. The instructions are really clear too. The only part I found a bit difficult was inserting the lapped zipper following Jennifer’s method. I honestly don’t think this would be an issue for many. I’ve been sewing lapped zippers a particular way for nearly 20 years, my mind just couldn’t remove my method and let me concentrate on the pattern instructions. I will say I’ve tried the instructions since on a different dress and all was good – my mind must have been having an odd day. I think Jennifer is also planning to do a photo tutorial for her lapped zipper method on her blog in the near future. All the other instructions are brilliant with great illustrations and wording in a logical order and I followed these to the letter.


The gathers for the front are gathered to a paper template, knotted at each end of the gathers and then the binding attached at a later stage. I think when I first made it up, I didn’t knot the ends in the correct place. My neckline was really saggy, not helped when I added the bias binding made from a fine cotton voile from stash.

So, I unpicked the bias binding, unpicked the gathering threads and restitched the gathers again, ensuring they were pulled a bit tighter than the template to allow for loose knots. I then attached a thin piece of fusible interfacing before reattaching the bias binding. Since testing the neckline has been raised slightly, so it should all be good now.

I love the pockets on the skirt, the drafting here is great. They are just made from a single piece of fabric folded in half. I decided to add binding to the edges of my pockets, before basting them to the waist and side seams of the skirt. I decided the gingham was a bit too much with the changes in pattern direction and this binding really helps to soften that. I really like how this turned out. It wasn’t difficult to do.

My fabric was only 90cm wide, I was determined to make the circle skirt version, so I actually put a seam down the front of the skirt. Can you see the seam? Nope, neither can I – I am the master of pattern matching…

The details…
Fabric:  Navy blue/white gingham cotton from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2014, navy cotton voile from stash for the bias binding. I think I used about 3.5m of the 90cm wide gingham.
Notions:  Thread, a small strip of interfacing and a dress zip

Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress
First worn:  Actually to cocktails with the WSBN, but worn here for a picnic in Otari Wilton’s Bush
Changes made:  I added binding to the pockets and inserted the zip differently.
Another one/Recommend?  I love this dress and I’ve actually worn it so many times already.  My fabric choice was perfect. I love how the bodice and neck sit and I’m a sucker for a circle skirt, even in the windy Wellington wind 🙂 It’s a really simple pattern to make up and really quick for instant gratification. Jennifer drafts her patterns for a D cup which is perfect for me, although my girls don’t sit quite so high and if I was being really honest I could give myself a wee bit more space lower down in the bodice. This is a standard adjustment for me, so anyone else, you’ll be fine. I don’t know if I’ll make another one, I’ve a pile of patterns waiting to be made up, but I’m not saying never, since I love the style and shape of the dress.

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