This is a new pattern company for me. Nerida Hansen, for those who don’t know, are an Australian textile/fabric company. Their fabrics are full of bright cheerful colours and are beautiful quality. Alongside their fabrics, they also produce sewing patterns and this is where the Smock dress comes in.
The fabric did not come from Nerida Hansen, it came from The Fabric Store in Wellington a long time ago. It’s been maturing and waiting for that perfect pattern. I think it’s cotton and silk. There were a lot of problems with this fabric, particularly the white colourway, where the ink spots weren’t colour fast. I’ve had no problems with this navy blue version at all.
Back to the pattern… This is a really popular pattern for an oversized, relaxed fit dress which can just be thrown on with room to add layers underneath for cooler weather. It has lovely bishop sleeves and pockets, both of which sit pretty high on my list of needs and likes at the moment!
Based on the finished garment measurements and how oversized this is, I decided not to make a muslin, I used my full bust measurement and cut a size 18. I lowered the bust darts, since my bust point was definitely not as high as the one on the pattern! My finished dress is so big!
But you may be looking at these photos and thinking hang on, that’s not completely loose and oversized. Well it ended up so big, I decided to add ties at the bottom of the bodice so I could add some shaping to the dress.
In hindsight I would have done better to cut the 16 or possibly smaller and add an FBA. As well as the dress itself completely drowning me, the neckline doesn’t lay flat much of the time and even though the top of the armscye is meant to be slightly off the shoulder, mine definitely are off.
I cannot comment really on the instructions, I pretty much didn’t use them! I think I just used them to confirm seam allowances and hems, although I rarely follow hem allowances as I’m very particular about my hems on dresses and skirts. (I like deep hems which are often handsewn.) The seams I finished using my overlocker.
My hack to add the ties was all that was needed to make this into something I love to wear. I made this dress about 3-4 months ago and it definitely is a hard worker in my wardrobe. I wear it so much!
Fabric: Navy ink spot fabric from The Fabric Store, Wellington, possibly back in 2015. I think it’s a cotton silk mix.
Notions: Interfacing for the neckline.
Pattern: Nerida Hansen Smock dress, size 18
Changes made: I lowered the darts and also added ties to the waist to give more shape.
Another one/recommendations: I love this dress. The ties definitely made it for me, if I’d not added those, I suspect I would never have worn it. I am definitely tempted to make another and make the changes I’ve mentioned, ie a size smaller with an FBA. I even have some Nerida Hansen fabric which I bought specifically to make this dress. It was a really quick make, so if you’re after a loose fitting dress with quick gratification, I’d recommend this.